• EpiCentre up for sale after $100M in recent upgrades

    By: Peter Daut


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - One of Charlotte's biggest entertainment destinations, the EpiCentre, is for sale.

    This comes after the current owner spent more than $100 million to make upgrades and pay off debt.

    Felicia Johnson said she visits the EpiCentre at least three times a week.

    "I like everything about it. Especially the convenience of where it is," Johnson said.

    So she was surprised to hear the 305,000-square-foot property in uptown is up for grabs again, and listed for sale on the website of a Dallas-based commercial real estate firm.

    "I know a lot of people who come here and use all the different businesses that's here. So I’m definitely surprised," she said.

    The EpiCentre first changed hands in 2010 when its developer, Afshin Ghazi, lost control through foreclosure.

    The Blue Air Investment Group then bought EpiCentre's $94 million construction loan, and spent another $23 million on upgrades.

    Blue Air declined to be interviewed, and it's unclear what changes a sale might bring to the property.

    According to listing materials, the complex is 94 percent occupied, with tenants under long-term leases.

    Marketing materials also say, "Development of an additional hotel on-site expected to commence in 2014, creating increased density and traffic at the center," which would be in addition to the Aloft hotel.

    But a spokesman told Eyewitness News by email that a new hotel is actually still being evaluated.

    Some visitors Channel 9 spoke with are pessimistic new owners will lead to more business.

    "The EpiCentre's great in theory, but no, it's not going to happen," David Maxwell said.

    A summary of the offering online does not list a price for the EpiCentre, but a refinancing last year suggests it's worth at least $50 million.

    RELATED: EpiCentre taking steps to attract more families

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