‘It’s going to be fine’: Community leaders remain hopeful for soccer fields at Eastland site

CHARLOTTE — Community leaders in east Charlotte are pressing on and still hopeful for soccer fields and recreation space at the old Eastland Mall site, after billionaire David Tepper’s company pulled the Charlotte Football Club component from the project.


“We’ve been working on Eastland for quite a long time,” said Mimi Davis, president of the East Coalition of Neighborhoods.

She was furious when news broke about Tepper pulling out of the project, but after discussions with city leaders, she’s hopeful the development will still be what it was promised to be.

“It’s going be fine,” Davis said. “We’re going to move on.”

“It’s been a long, hard slog through the mud -- but we’re going to come out on top,” she added.

Charlotte’s east side has a large population of immigrants, many of whom have spent years hoping for soccer fields they can play on.

Crosland Southeast, which is developing the land, will break ground Aug. 3 on 60 acres of the property.

They’ll build up to 12,000 square feet of retail space, 250 multifamily housing units, townhomes, a potential affordable housing development for seniors, a park, grocery store and an Atrium Health clinic, according to city documents.

However, the 20 acres that would have gone to Tepper to build soccer fields and the headquarters for Charlotte FC’s youth academy are still in limbo.

Davis and City Councilwoman Dimple Ajmera believe that even though Tepper ditched the pitch, soccer fields could still be a reality.

“Tepper cannot be the only human being in the universe who can build us some soccer fields,” Davis said. “There’s going to be something there that we’re going to want and it’s going be fine.”

“We are going to bring a partner who is going to fulfill that vision that we had laid out with the community,” Ajmera said.

However, a spokesperson for Crosland Southeast said in a statement, “It is our plan to keep that portion of the site recreational if at all possible. It is also possible it will remain soccer or multi-purpose fields, but we aren’t far enough along to know that for certain at this point.”

Time will tell if another promise will be broken for east side residents, or if one will finally be kept.

“I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” Davis said.

Crosland Southeast’s full statement regarding Tepper Sports & Entertainment’s decision to pull out from the deal:

“Crosland Southeast can confirm that Tepper Sports (TSE) will not be a part of our redevelopment plans going forward at the Eastland site. While we are disappointed, we are not surprised with their decision and our plans are not dependent on TSE’s commitment. Although ideally a decision would have been made much sooner, we are now able to finally begin our construction phase with the clarity we have been awaiting.

Expecting this announcement at some point, we began parallel marketing efforts for this portion of the site months ago and we are very encouraged by the level of interest for it.  We hope to be able to announce our updated plans very soon. In the meantime, our Groundbreaking is scheduled for August 3, and Crosland Southeast is very excited to be moving into this next phase of progress for this important site.”

(Watch below: Tepper Sports pulls out of redevelopment at Eastland Mall site, sources say)