Charter school to replace former grocery store at old Eastland Mall site

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A former grocery store building in east Charlotte will soon be replaced by a charter school.

Charlotte City Council voted 8-3 Monday to approve a Movement School where the old Harris Teeter is on the Eastland Mall property.

Council members Dimple Ajmera, LaWana Mayfield and Matt Newton voted "no."

“We are about to build a fantastic new school for the east side,” said Tim Hurley, the executive director of Movement School. “I think great schools make great communities, That is what we all want.”

The Movement School will be on the portion of Eastland not owned by the city of Charlotte. The school is Movement’s second location.

The first Movement School is off Freedom Drive in west Charlotte in at the old Super K-Mart.

>> Click here for more information about the Movement School.

“We love to take big places that have become empty and underused. We love to see them become vibrant and full of life,” Hurley said. “We have amazing children, so we want to renovate the space to make it as amazing as the children that come to the school.”

[Developer lays out potential plans for Eastland Mall site]

Councilman Justin Harlow praised the work Movement is doing for west Charlotte.

The public, tuition-free charter school is scheduled to open in fall 2020. It will have the capacity for 900 students. Enrollment will start in the coming months. The school plans to launch with 200 kindergartners and first-graders.

The school will also be used by Forest Hill Church. The church plans to open a missional campus in August 2020.

>> Click here for more information on Forest Hill’s plans for the Eastland site. 

At the Charlotte City Council meeting Monday night, the proposal for the school was met with backlash from some city leaders.

Newton said this isn't a good land use, and Ajmera worried this could scare off future economic development opportunities.

“We do not have a lot of retail stores, whether it is coffee shops or shopping. We have to go outside the district,” Ajmera said. “I think the question we got to ask is, 'Are we taking away from the retail that could potentially be there?”

Some east Charlotte residents made a last-minute push to get the council to vote against the project.

“We have been working for years to get that area developed and now they put this in front of us,” resident Diane Langevin said.

The Charlotte City Council is working with Crosland Southeast to develop 70 acres of the Eastland Mall site. Council members said Monday that Crosland is not opposed to having a Movement School on the property. The Charlotte East Language Academy is also on the site.