Council QuickiesLocal GovernmentNews & Opinion

Council Quickies: Eastland Proposal Approved, Social District on the Way

Oct. 9, 2023

The new Charlotte City Council stands behind the dais.
Charlotte City Council is sworn in. From left: New rep Marjorie Molina, incumbent Renee Johnson, incumbent Dimple Ajmera, returning rep James ‘Smuggie’ Mitchell, incumbent Braxton Winston, returning rep LaWana Mayfield, Mayor Vi Lyles, new rep Dante Anderson, incumbent Malcolm Graham, incumbent Tariq Bokhari, incumbent Victoria Watlington, and incumbent Ed Driggs. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

Charlotte City Council met on Monday for an action review and business meeting that included an update and vote on Eastland redevelopment, an update from staff on social districts in Charlotte, and a public comment on the proposed Plaza Midwood Social District.

On the Agenda:

  • Eastland Yards Complex
  • Social Districts 

Eastland Yards Complex

Assistant city manager Tracy Dodson said it’s been “a fantastic 42 days” with the two development groups pitching separate proposals for the final 29 acres of land at Eastland Yards collaborating and merging their two proposals into one. “We’re not 100% there yet, but we see a path forward.”

The Complex (its working title for the time being) will include indoor & outdoor sports, arts and entertainment uses, restaurants and retail. The outdoor amphitheater that was planned for the site has been removed. No hotel is included either at this time, but could be in the cards at a future time, Dodson said. 

The complex will include a 120,000-square-foot indoor sports facility with multi-purpose courts that can be converted to basketball courts, pickleball courts, turf or other uses. There will also be an ice rink, an esports center, and community center inside. 

There will also be six multi-sport outdoor fields on the site. 

James “Smuggie” Mitchell suggested that one way to get community buy-in would be to have a naming contest for The Complex.

Council voted unanimously to endorse the revised proposal and authorize staff to move forward with the new team, then to approve up to $30 million for reimbursement of expenses associated with public infrastructure improvements and the sports facilities.

Social Districts

The city has received pre-applications from 10 businesses/groups who want to launch social districts that would allow for people to walk around with open, to-go containers of alcoholic beverages. Only Plaza Midwood has completed the application process.

Besides Plaza Midwood, the pre-applications have come from Gilde Brewery, Crescent Communities, Angry Ales and Brazwell’s Pub, The Goodyear House, Rosemont Market & Wine Bar, Charlotte Center City Partners, RSVP South End and Fairwood 226, The Bowl at Ballantyne, and Carmella’s Pizza Grill.  

A look at the proposed boundaries of the Plaza Midwood Social District showed the district will run along Central Avenue from Louise Avenue and 10th Street to Morningside Drive going east/west and Chesterfield Avenue to near Hamorton Place along Pecan Avenue going north/south.

LaWana Slack-Mayfield asked what protections are being put in place to curb quality-of-life concerns such as litter and public drunkenness and/or urination. Police have been part of the conversation and state laws/local ordinances are still in effect, but no increased policing, a CDOT representative responded.

Renee Johnson asked if there’s any data that shows social districts inspire an increase in alcohol consumption. Casey Mashburn with CDOT said he doesn’t know of any. Johnson said she would like to see programming that proactively aims to curb any potential rise in drunk driving.

There were four speakers signed up for public comment on the Plaza Midwood Social District, all of whom spoke in support of the district. 

Jason Michel of the Plaza Midwood Merchants Association (PMMA) said his organization’s main goals for the social district are “to activate the pedestrian network, support local businesses, facilitate community and improve public safety.”

Russell Ferguson with PMMA said, “We’re unique in that we are a merchants association comprised of people who both own businesses in and live in the neighborhood. It makes us a good candidate to test run this.”

Bernie Petit with the Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association said that organization’s board also supports the PMMA’s petition to launch the Plaza Midwood Social District.

The owner of Sip City Market & Bottle Shop suggested that not allowing for social districts could actually lead to more binge drinking because people get bored in a place then chug their drink to leave and go elsewhere.

Council may be asked to vote on whether to approve the district at their Oct. 23 meeting. 

Council will meet again for a zoning meeting on Monday, Oct. 16.


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