News & Opinion

Neighbors Support Indoor Sports Complex at Eastland Yards

Council expected to choose between indoor sports complex and QC East mixed-use development

The future site of Eastland Yards but it's just a bunch of smoothed out dirt
A look at the 80-acre Eastland Yards site from its westernmost point as of June 22. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

A coalition of east Charlotte-based community organizations have come out in support of a plan for the last remaining parcel of the Eastland Yards project, backing a proposed indoor sports complex for the 29-acre parcel. 

The team behind the Eastland Yards Indoor Sports Complex (ISC) proposes a two-phased multi-sport complex, with phase one including a 115,000-square-foot indoor facility with 10 full-size hardwood basketball courts that could be modified to create 20 volleyball courts or 40 pickleball courts. The complex could also include seating for 1,500 and space for cheer and gymnastics activities, sports performance facilities, and a fitness center.

For phase two, the team proposes up to two ice rinks, family entertainment, and commercial space.

The group proposing the ISP project includes Synergy Sports, Viking Companies, RADD Sports, and EDGE Sports Group. 

“As presented, this option will spark sustainable economic growth for the East side and create a family-oriented destination that will be governed by (and accessible to) the East Charlotteans who’ve waited two decades for the corridor’s revitalization,” read a release from CharlotteEAST, a nonprofit organization that advocates for east Charlotte

“The team behind this proposal has the project experience and passion for community-centered development needed to fulfill their promises of kickstarting East Charlotte’s hospitality industry, providing robust workforce development opportunities, and securing major, recurring financial investments for youth and family programming,” the release continued. 

The CharlotteEAST statement was backed by other east Charlotte-based community organizations and businesses including the Far East Neighborhood Coalition, the Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association, the Latin American Coalition, Manolo’s Bakery and the East Charlotte Coalition of Neighborhoods. 

The letter was also signed by more than 200 residents of east Charlotte, representing more than 30 neighborhoods ranging from Amity Gardens to Wilora Lake. 

At its June 12 meeting, Charlotte City Council voted to set aside $20 million as part of a public-private partnership to cultivate amateur sports and active recreation uses at Eastland Yards through redevelopment of the eastern 29 acres of the site left empty when David Tepper backed out of the project

A look at the future Eastland Yards site shows a huge pile of dirt and gravel with some infrastructure piping and a truck or two.
The eastern part of the Eastland Yards site. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

While past proposals have been passed over by council and city staff, the two remaining options for the site include Eastland Yard ISC and QC East, an $83-million partnership between Carolina Esports Hub, Charlotte Soccer Academy, and Southern Entertainment that would include a gaming, athletic and concert venue in the space.

According to the city’s website, phase one of QC East would include six multi-sport fields, an outdoor amphitheater, and a public event space named The Hub that would focus on professional and amateur esports events, STEM educational opportunities, and other events such as concerts. 

Phase two, to be built if certain milestones are met in phase one, would include a hotel, commercial retail and office space.

The proposal group for QC East estimates a $111 million annual economic impact from events and programming at the site. The facility is also expected to support 683 full-time jobs and attract 352,050 visitors annually, with 112,656 of those visitors traveling from more than 50 miles away. 

The proposal for the Eastland Yard ISC project estimates $129 million in annual economic impact from the development based on 150 tournament event days and 250,000 visitors in the first year. 

The Eastland Yards ISC proposal was received by city staff on June 2, past the original deadline, though city staff have recommended the proposal be “potentially” considered pending further review and evaluation. Staff is collecting feedback on both projects from residents through the end of June

A final recommendation from staff is expected to come in front of Charlotte City Council in August. 

“Our hope is that this immediate outpouring of support for the Eastland Yards Indoor Sports Complex from every corner of East Charlotte will encourage Council to vote swiftly in accordance with our community’s request,” read Thursday’s statement from CharlotteEAST. “No further delays are necessary.”

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