• Studio Charlotte developer not giving up

    By: Jim Bradley


    Charlotte City Council members may think the deal to bring movie studios to East Charlotte is all but dead, but the developer isn't giving up.

    Bert Hesse said he's trying to set up a new round of private meetings with council members to jump start negotiations he said were at an impasse on Thursday.

    Hesse wants to build a $300 million complex of movie studios, homes and businesses on the site of the old Eastland Mall.  Getting the city to resume interest, however, may be difficult.

    Multiple City Council members said this week they are ready to move beyond the Studio Charlotte proposal.  

    City leaders said despite negotiating exclusively with Studio Charlotte for five months they have gotten little in the way of specifics on the deal's financing, construction costs and scope.  

    On Thursday, city staffers recommended the Council rejects a request by Hesse for a five-month extension.

    For East Charlotte the uncertainty is one more delay in a year’s long saga focused on finding a new use for the Eastland Mall site.  

    Resident Billy Maddalon said the apparently failure of the Studio Charlotte deal is frustrating for the east side, but he said it also offers a clean slate for new ideas on how to develop the area.  

    "The impact of what we want to do at the Eastland property  will impact generations to come on the east side, so getting it right is much, much more important than getting it quickly," Maddalon said.

    City leaders, including Mayor Pat Cannon and Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes say the city owes the East Side a project that is sustainable and feasible.  Both said they're determined to find the right project to act as a catalyst for growth and jobs.

    Still, other East Side residents said they're determined to see the Studio Charlotte project succeed.  

    A community rally has been scheduled for Sunday afternoon at Steamers Sports Pub.

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