Friday at the historical society

Bob Rowland measures and cuts wood for the new public restroom at the Carl J. McEwen Historic Village. Rowland and Dave Reed (not pictured) spent Friday afternoon at the village putting some finishing touches on the project. Rowland said the restroom, which the historical society needs to host field trips, should be finished in early September. PHOTO BY ADAM HOUSTON

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Meck mayors support bond

WFAE reports Mint Hill, Matthews, and Pineville mayors are urging support for the November bond. Green space is the issue, according to Matthews mayor Lee Myers. The money from the bond will help towns preserve land for parks, ball fields and natural areas.

Mint Hill has mucho green space, but keeping it is another story. Mecklenburg County has two pieces of land for planned parks in or close to Mint Hill. One is the Ezell Farm property located at the corner of Matthews-Mint Hill Road and Mintwood Drive. The other is a planned natural area near I-485.

To the left, Mecklenburg County’s Greenway Master Plan. Above, a close up of how this plan will affect Mint Hill.

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Memories of Eastland Mall?

I’m working on a story about the future of Eastland Mall. But you can’t look at the future without looking at the past. Feel free to e-mail adam@minthilltimes.com if you have any memories of working at the mall, shopping during the holiday season, or repeatedly falling on Eastland’s famous ice rink.

The story will be published August 7 in The Mint Hill Times, and your comments could be included.

-Adam Houston, Reporter

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Town officials tell Wal-Mart no thanks

It’s not looking good for Wal-Mart moving to Mint Hill. The retail giant had eyes on some land at the intersection of Wilgrove-Mint Hill Road and Albemarle Road. At the July 17 developers meeting, Commissioners told Wal-Mart developers Lauth Property Group they’ll listen, but don’t count on coming to Mint Hill. The land is not properly zoned, and it doesn’t fit with the long term plan for that area of the town.

Mint Hill Senior Planner Karen Dunn reaffirmed Mint Hill’s hesitation in an email to Keith H. MacVean of the humongous law firm King and Spalding:

Keith,

Staff received the following comments regarding Lauth’s proposed 60 acre retail development on Albemarle Road:

  • The existing zoning of the proposed site is predominately residential with some General Business along Albemarle Road and is designated as “Office Park” on the Future Land Use Map. With the proposed hospital being planned in the near vicinity, some Board members suggested that the property may be suited for future medical offices and support facilities.
  • Concern with adding any additional traffic on Wilgrove-Mint Hill Road
  • The current Land Use Plan is more than 10 years old and is in need of an overall revision. At the February 2008 Board of Commissioner’s Retreat, the Board unanimously agreed to update the Plan and also fund Small Area Plan studies in the coming year.

In general, the project was not given positive support from the Board of Commissioners.

If you decide to proceed with the project, the property will need to be rezoned prior to sketch plan review. Applications for map amendments may be downloaded from the website at www.minthill.com. The submittal deadline is the third Thursday of each month to be received by the Board of Commissioners the following month.

Wal-Mart will not go quietly. That’s a given. But the retail giant has an up hill battle getting a store built in Mint Hill.

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The real reason Bridges halted construction?

Retail Traffic Magazine has an interesting story about the slow down in shopping center development. As you might have guessed, it has more to do with the slow down in the economy and less about offsite-onsite issues, which is what General Growth Properties is saying about their Bridges at Mint Hill project. From Retail Traffic:

Consumers are checking discretionary spending and, seemingly everyday, new retailers come out with announcements that they are filing for bankruptcy, shuttering stores and constraining expansion plans. As a result, construction is coming to a screeching halt at projects across the country as developers reevaluate proposed centers’ economic viability.

Most recently, site work of the planned 215-acre open-air center, Bridges at Mint Hill in Charlotte, N.C., came to a halt. Chicago-based General Growth Properties and local partner Childress Klein Properties originally announced plans for the center in June 2005. It was slated to open in 2007. A series of delays pushed projected completion back to 2009. As for now, no new timeline has been announced.

General Growth announces second quarter earnings after the market closes today, so that should be a good indicator of the financial state of the company.

**Update: General Growth reported an increase in earnings for the second quarter. The company seems strong, so maybe this halt in construction of the Bridges is just that: a halt. Mayor Ted Biggers and Town Manager Brian Welch seem confident mall construction will pick back up in the new year. So far, there’s no reason to doubt that.

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