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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New town hall looks elegant, but…

…dare we say a touch boring? Readers of The Mint Hill Times are also telling us it looks too much like Matthews’ town hall. There’s not too many fans of the current town hall design–the glassy modern (and somewhat environmentally friendly) building–but it distinguished itself among other town halls in Mecklenburg County.

Oh well, can’t have the cake and eat it too.

Here’s the first floor-plan (preliminary plan, the architects and town officials stress). Over all, it’s going to be a huge upgrade to downtown Mint Hill.

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MH’s Edwards named to SPAC

Local Government Federal Credit Union (LGFCU) announced today the addition of Robin Edwards to its South Piedmont Advisory Council, which comprises Cabarrus, Gaston, Mecklenburg and Union counties.
Edwards, who is a the human resources director for the Town of Mint Hill, will be a part of LGFCU’s volunteer-driven initiative not only to educate people on the benefits of Credit Union membership, but also to relay feedback to management regarding available/potentially available products and services, delivery of service and member needs.

Advisory Council members, who represent the philosophical character of the Credit Union and contribute their time without compensation, function as LGFCU’s eyes and ears throughout the state, serving as liaisons between Credit Union members and non-members and LGFCU management.

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Team Elam finishes 4th in fundraiser

The Elam-N8 Cancer team raised more than $26,435.34 at this past weekend’s 24 Hours of Booty bike race  to help fight cancer. It was the 4th highest amount raised of any team in the competition. Team member Charles Cullen raised the most money for an individual–$23,852.85. Way to go guys!

In the spring, the Mint Hill Athletic Association named a field for Brandon Elam, a former MHAA baseball player. Brandon passed away last year after a battle with cancer.

**UPDATE: The 24 hours of booty Web site updated its stats–Team Brandon Elam drops to 5th place. No worries, it’s still an awesome performance!

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