Jump to content

DigitalSky

Eastland Mall Redevelopment

Recommended Posts

That whole neighborhood needs some serious attention and with Eastland as the unofficial anchor of east Charlotte, it's a good place to start.

I've said before that I think the mall owners are hedging their bets on both sides and letting the mall atrophy. What's happening is that a popular, decently constructed mall in a good location is going to waste. Glimcher Realty Trust's theory seems to be if it succeeds, fine, but if it fails, we're going to have as little invested in it as possible so that we won't lose any money.

Like I've also said before, somebody needs to buy that mall that cares about its survival and doesn't mind doing business in a predominantly black and latino neighborhood.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I did notice this weekend, that channel 36 in giving out a teaser about Northlake mall brought up favorite places to shop in Charlotte. "....Southpark, Carolina Place, and then there is the Concord Mills Crowd..." No mention of Eastland at all, so I guess that is part of the answer. People have written it off including the local media as a decent place to shop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eastland has been written off by the media and mainstream retail, but it's a busy mall with potentially more going for it than the people at Channel 36 are imagining.

My take on the Charlotte malls:

SouthPark: :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup: (no surprise there)

Eastland: ugly as hell, slighty ghetto but :thumbsup: overall

Carolina Place: a pretty shell but a litlle boring

Concord Mills: blah! good deals though.

Northlake (so far): see comments for Carolina Place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

..... people at Channel 36 are imagining.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

A contradiction of terms. :P

It is a good synopsis Steven. Eastland does worry me these days. I would not consider going there after normal business hours.

Personally, of the lot, I like Concord Mills the best. Easy to get to and it is a fun mall for various reasons. But, I only shop the Black & Decker outlet, Outdoor World, and Sun & Ski however. The AMC theater there is probably the best general purpose movie house in the Metro. (of course this is just my opinion)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That whole neighborhood needs some serious attention and with Eastland as the unofficial anchor of east Charlotte, it's a good place to start.

I've said before that I think the mall owners are hedging their bets on both sides and letting the mall atrophy.  What's happening is that a popular, decently constructed mall in a good location is going to waste.  Glimcher Realty Trust's theory seems to be if it succeeds, fine, but if it fails, we're going to have as little invested in it as possible so that we won't lose any money.

Like I've also said before, somebody needs to buy that mall that cares about its survival and doesn't mind doing business in a predominantly black and latino neighborhood.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I totally agree with you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eastland won't necessarily die even if nothing much is done to it in the near future. There are two non-class A shopping centers on North Tryon Street: Tryon Mall and Northpark Mall. Both, but especially the latter, seem to do a decent business, even though both lost their anchors years ago and don't seem to have been updated much since the 1970s or 1980s.

Q: Why hasn't Glimcher done much for Eastland?

A: There are other properties in its portfolio that offer a more promising rate of return on any investments. Would you invest your hard-earned money in that mall if you were an investor?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I live right up the street from eastland mall. The biggest problem is its apperance isnt in good shape. It does look ghetto and run down. I still go, but most of the time people arent there to shop. Honestly niether am i i just go because thats where me and my brothers meet up at with our cousins and hang out. Other malls apperances are just much more mally than eastland.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe the owners want it to die, I don't know very much about all of the details regarding the ownership, money, and legal issues, but things like this happened elsewhere in the US I have heard.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

don't forget that businesses have creditors to provide the money... and without the business fundamentals like growth, it is very hard to get that capital. Just because they aren't pouring money into it doesn't mean they want it to fail! They just much make do with the mall as it is. Last year, it seemed like the owners had been willing to invest a lot in rebuilding the JCPenny's area as a outdoor area, but that was when they felt they couldn't lease the existing building. When Burlington Coat Warehouse leased the space, it probably made the numbers hard to justify to tear down the old building, as they'd have turned away all that cash in the mean time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe the owners want it to die, I don't know very much about all of the details regarding the ownership, money, and legal issues, but things like this happened elsewhere in the US I have heard.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Unless the owner 1) really needs a tax writeoff, 2) the value of the property has plummetted way below the mortgage, or 3) is using the situation for political motives to squeeze money out of the local municipality for improvements, off the top of my head I can't think of other cases where the owner would benefit from letting a property fall apart. Glimcher Realty Trust is the owner. #1 doesn't apply because it's a REIT and doesn't pay taxes. #2 doesnt apply because it owns the property debt free and #3 I'm not sure, but doubt it.

Glimcher, albeit not a top tier real estate outfit, is still a publicly traded company with a competent management team who must answer to its shareholders for its actions. I would be surprised if they didn't have a long term plan up their sleeves for respositioning this property if they haven't sold it by now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would you invest your hard-earned money in that mall if you were an investor?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes. Yes I would.

Why? Because there's a stable market of working class people in the immediate area around Eastland that are driving to SouthPark and the University area to find better shopping. That market is still big enough to support a mall at that location and properly positioned, that mall could draw people to the area that wouldn't normally come there.

What Eastland has is a bad perception because of both real and imagined crime on the property. The imagined crimes are a lot worse than the real crimes, but the media's and most people's bad perceptions of black and latino neighborhoods make the minor crimes reported on the news amplify to something between Dodge City and Fort Apache, the Bronx.

Which Charlotte mall had multiple shootings and a reported attempted rape recently? It wasn't Eastland, it was SouthPark! Yet after a few weeks, the collective local concience buried those crimes in the backyard. Why? Because SouthPark is in an affluent area. Had those things happend at Eastland in that short a period, there would probably have been a call for constant police surveilence and an ongoing debate.

The neighborhood around Eastland (and on its bus line) also has a large numeber on unemployed youth, many of whom's idle hands create what problems that exist out there. Has anyone - the developers, the city, neighborhood groups - given any thought to creating a job training center on site and encouraging businesses that need those skills to locate in that neighborhood? Keeping people employed and busy can make a huge difference in the amount of trouble they cause and if they still live nearby, they can spend their money at the mall. A little investment can go a long way.

Concerning REITs: I know a little about retail real estate as well. Many times REITs buy retail properties, perform a little token cosmetic work, get what they can out of the rent and dispose of the properties as soon as possible. It's a common and resaonably sound business practice. The problem is that people who shop at these malls get short shrift because no one at the top of the real estate food chain gives a damn about what's going on there unless someone gets killed or the place burns down and they can't get their rent. They used to call businessmen like this slum lords; I'm not sure what the proper term is for the retail mall industry.

It's too early to write off Eastland just yet. Like I said before, I just hope that someone who cares about doing business out there will get ahold of the place and turn it around, because it can happen and in the right hands it WILL happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What Eastland has is a bad perception because of both real and imagined crime on the property. The imagined crimes are a lot worse than the real crimes, but the media's and most people's bad perceptions of black and latino neighborhoods make the minor crimes reported on the news amplify to something between Dodge City and Fort Apache, the Bronx.

Which Charlotte mall had multiple shootings and a reported attempted rape recently? It wasn't Eastland, it was SouthPark! Yet after a few weeks, the collective local concience buried those crimes in the backyard. Why? Because SouthPark is in an affluent area. Had those things happend at Eastland in that short a period, there would probably have been a call for constant police surveilence and an ongoing debate.

True, True.

Perception is an interesting thing indeed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I live right up the street from eastland mall. The biggest problem is its apperance isnt in good shape. It does look ghetto and run down. I still go, but most of the time people arent there to shop. Honestly niether am i i just go because thats where me and my brothers meet up at with our cousins and hang out. Other malls apperances are just much more mally than eastland.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You know, and this comes from the highest sources, UrbanPlanet has a policy of banning teenagers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These are all good points.

I would expect that Glimcher isn't investing much in Eastland Mall these days because the company has analyzed its portfolio and has concluded that investments in other properties would offer higher rates of return than an investment in Eastland would. With new malls opening in north Charlotte and Mint Hill, and with Eastland's location in an area that perhaps isn't experiencing the income and population growth that other parts of town are, Glimcher probably is hedging its bets on how Charlotte's retail scene develops.

I think Eastland can still stay in business for a long time to come. The mall is in pretty decent physical condition (ie, it's not falling apart, even though it has a somewhat dated appearance) and it still seems to do a decent business perhaps because its tenant mix has shifted towards what its shoppers want: urban-style stores. I'd guess that Eastland is probably pretty profitable: investment in the mall may be minimal, but it still does a good business and has a pretty decent occupancy rate.

I went to Eastridge Mall in Gastonia a few days ago; it seems to have a good number of vacancies and some of its in-line tenants have a pretty dated appearance as well. It and Eastland have some things in common, although I'd think that Eastridge would probably have more investment potential than Eastland.

Edited by csedwards72

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Concerning REITs:  I know a little about retail real estate as well.  Many times REITs buy retail properties, perform a little token cosmetic work, get what they can out of the rent and dispose of the properties as soon as possible.  It's a common and resaonably sound business practice.  The problem is that people who shop at these malls get short shrift because no one at the top of the real estate food chain gives a damn about what's going on there unless someone gets killed or the place burns down and they can't get their rent.  They used to call businessmen like this slum lords; I'm not sure what the proper term is for the retail mall industry.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Steven..as usual, you make very good points, but regarding REITs, they are far from slum lords. They are in the business of generating sustainable long term returns, not to flip properties. Very rarely will a REIT hold a property for less than 5 years and even more rarely will they walk away from a property. REITs invest in properties for the ongoing income stream - not to get fast gains from property sales.

It's what makes them different from say, a real estate hedge fund or a partnership of some local doctors, lawyers and dentists who get some money together to buy some properties, throw some paint on them and flip to make a quick buck. That's why I have faith that Glimcher will ultimately do something meaningful with Eastland.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if they could do some minor things inside to give it a more updated look. They could, for example, put modern looking carpeting in over the old mcdonald's-style tile. Hanes Mall did that, and it looks much better. I'm sure with Eastland's lack of crowds, it could make carpetting even more reasonable.

They could also convert some select parking spots in their asphalt moat to a little grass patch and a tree. By doing that throughout their lot, it would look much nicer.

i'm sure there are few other minor changes they could make, such as a new logo, that would be relatively inexpensive, but could help update the image of the mall.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that they could make some minor changes to the appearance and it could increase the overall perception.

The few times I have been there I have been astounded by all the parking spaces. It seems like it takes 10 minutes to get from the road to the actual mall because you have to drive through the parking lot. They could definitely cut some of that space out. I can't imagine that there was ever a need for that much parking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I I can't imagine that there was ever a need for that much parking.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

When the mall was considered to be an upscale place, that parking lot would completely fill up during the Christmas shopping season, and would be mostly full on almost any weekend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(i wonder if CM Utilities has any programs to help subsidize the removal of impervious area. It seems like it would be win-win when these businesses don't need the parking anymore.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Basically what happened was Southpark and Eastland were built at relatively the same time. Both South Charlotte and East Charlotte were very similar demographically. In fact, Eastland bragged at being the "bigger mall" and had an ice skating rink. For many years developers thought that east charlotte would be a point of affulent growth (as seen by the proximity of the Charlotte Country Club). However, south charlotte exploded and east charlotte did not. However, there is still the posibility of developing that shopping mall into a great center aimed at a working class shopper (ie not the saks stuff at southpark). I think that residential development all over charlotte is a gold mine and that sooner or later someone will realize that and take advantage of what Eastland mall presents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Acually there was a time when Eastland Mall used to need all those parking spots. Doesnt seem like it today. Just about a year ago it was east charlottes heart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When South Charlotte started getting the major office development and the high-paying jobs that followed, that had to have an effect. There's not a similar concentration in East Charlotte.

SouthPark is the better thought-out of the two malls. It has good visibility from its major intersections and also had plenty of expansion space available on the property. Eastland has almost no prsence from Sharon Amity and it is sited on the property so that expansion is nearly impossible without moving around some anchors.

Also, has anyone noticed that Burlington Coat Factory doesn't have an actual exterior entrance at Eastland? The configuration creates a 'dead zone' on two sides of the exterior, which doesn't exactly help the mall's image.

Edited by StevenRocks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, has anyone noticed that Burlington Coat Factory doesn't have an actual exterior entrance at Eastland?  The configuration creates a 'dead zone' on two sides of the exterior, which doesn't exactly help the mall's image.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

yeah that's stupid.. the enterance is only on the back side right because freds has the bottom half portion of the floor or something

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yeah that's stupid.. the enterance is only on the back side right because freds has the bottom half portion of the floor or something

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

post-1659-1120705310_thumb.jpg

Fred's has the outside front corner on the lower level facing Central Avenue with no mall access. The old JCPenney entrance facing Central is a mall entrance signed as Burlington with escalators and an elevator leading from a hallway created through Penney's lower level. There is upper and lower level signage for Burlington inside the mall as well.

Edited by StevenRocks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

post-1659-1120705310_thumb.jpg

Fred's has the outside front corner on the lower level facing Central Avenue with no mall access.  The old JCPenney entrance facing Central is a mall entrance signed as Burlington with escalators and an elevator leading from a hallway created through Penney's lower level.  There is upper and lower level signage for Burlington inside the mall as well.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

ok.. yeah I have yet to go there, I'm not gonna have time in the near future. I'm going on vacation for a month so i'll miss the boards, don't know if i'll have internet access so if you don't see me you'll know where I am. :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.