A New Era: Ahead of revitalization, Charlotte residents fondly remember Eastland Mall

CHARLOTTE — As East Charlotte prepares for a new era at on the east side, longtime residents and leaders remember Eastland Mall fondly. Councilman Malcolm Graham used to work at Wilson’s Men’s Wear and Webster’s. The self-described mallrat even met his wife on a bus ride home from work.

“It was the hallmark of Charlotte,” Graham said. “Eastland Mall was the flagship mall. Better than SouthPark.”


Looking back, it’s hard to describe Eastland Mall as anything but iconic. From the sun logo that rose high above the parking lots to the ice-skating rink in the heart of the mall.

Graham says the mall was tough to beat at Christmas time

“The mall would be decorated with Christmas decorations and all the families would bring their kids to the ice rink and from the top look down upon them,” he said.

Channel 9 dug through the video archive and found footage of ice-skating competitions, shoppers in the 1980s and 1990s going from store to store, a beach volleyball tournament in the parking lot and images of the movie theater and game room. The game room was Shawn Baker’s favorite memory.

“Eastland Mall was it,” Shawn Baker said. “That is where you would go to get everything. They had all the stores in there.”

It’s where people would hang out and meet new and old friends. East Charlotte Resident Rodney Baker used to work at T-Shirt’s Plus and says people watching was unmatched. “It was it was larger than life,” Rodney Baker said. “The place was just mesmerizing.”

East Charlotte is now preparing for a new chapter. After being vacant for a decade, Crosland Southeast will break ground Wednesday on a mixed-use development.

It is a new era that residents and leaders hope will bring back jobs to the east side.

“Hopefully, they’ll revitalize the area,” Rodney Baker said.

Plans call for 12,000 square feet of retail space, 250 apartments, townhomes, a possible affordable-housing development for seniors, a park, grocery store and an Atrium Health clinic.

To read more about the Eastland Mall’s history, click here.

(Watch below: Crosland Southeast to break ground on Eastland Mall redevelopment this summer)