EpiCentre property uptown at risk of default as debt payments fall short

CHARLOTTE — A loan on an uptown property that’s made headlines over violent crime and seen multiple tenants recently vacate has gone into special servicing.

The $85 million loan secured by the EpiCentre, at 210 E. Trade St., was sent to special servicing last month because of “imminent monetary default,” according to loan-servicer notes for the trust that owns the building’s mortgage. The loan is held in a portfolio of similar property mortgages that have been sold off in shares — commercial mortgage-backed securities, or CMBS — to investors.

The servicer notes indicate the borrower, landlord CIM Group, did not pay in full its March and April mortgage payments and has informed the trust it would not be funding the shortfalls. As of this month, CIM was 30 days delinquent on its mortgage, according to financial filings.

A workout strategy for the loan is being determined.

Read the full CBJ story here about what this could mean for the property.

Channel 9 has learned that it’s affecting people who are trying to make a living there, and one business owner said it has been a challenge.

“It’s kind of sad because you work so hard to build a business up, and you get into a situation like this, which is totally unexpected,” Epic Times owner James Mack said.

For the last five years, Mack has been building his business from the ground. He started in the EpiCentre with a jewelry stand and has grown his business into a store called Epic Times.

Fast forward to the present day, the EpiCentre -- once booming with business -- has slowly been declining.

At least nine businesses have closed, and less than 40% of the space is leased.

“Now is the time to have a backup plan, and the backup plan turned into a full-blown concept,” Mack said.

For tenants like Mack, instead of waiting, he’s hard at work on Plan B. In his case, that’s scouting out a second location to create something new.

“A new brand, as well as training and teaching the youth of Charlotte how to 3D print and be entrepreneurs,” Mack said. “We want to be a monument, and we want to be a mentor to others to show them that you must have perseverance.”

The Charlotte Business Journal contributed to this story.