The city of Charlottes plan to buy the remains of Eastland Mall for $13.2 million has hit a possible snag, with the city and one seller, Houston-based Boxer Properties, squabbling over $20,000, according to people familiar with negotiations.
In July, the City Council voted unanimously to buy 81 acres of the mall, with plans to redevelop into a movie studio or sound stages.
The mall site has seven owners, including Boxer, which bought the largest piece of the mall the interior stores for $2 million in 2010. Boxer is set to receive $5.26 million as part of the sale, which is supposed to close Friday. Boxer had earlier sold a 1.4-acre section of the mall to the Charlotte Area Transit System for $771,000.
But Boxer had reportedly signed some leases with stores, which would have been part of a re-opened Eastland at some point in the future. Most of the leases reportedly have been resolved, though there are some leases still in play, worth about $20,000.
Its unclear who will foot the bill to buy those stores out Boxer or the city of Charlotte.
The City Council met in closed session Monday night to discuss the issue.
Council member John Autry, who represents east Charlotte, and who lobbied to buy the mall, said he doesnt think the $20,000 will stop the sale.
It will be resolved, Autry said. I have faith in the mayor and city staff to close this deal.
Boxer Properties President Andrew Segal said Tuesday he isnt familiar with the detailed negotiations over the sale.
Segal said the existing leases were disclosed to the buyers.
We were basically opening the mall when the offer came in, Segal said.
He said he is confident the sale will close.
Deals like this dont fall apart over $20,000, he said.
After buying the mall, Segal said he planned to convert it to a Hispanic-themed shopping center, similar to projects his company had done in Texas.
Boxer is known for buying distressed office and commercial space, which it then sells at a profit. Segal has been called the King of Class B real estate.
Deputy City Manager Ron Kimble, who handles economic development for the city, declined to comment Tuesday. A press secretary for Mayor Anthony Foxx also declined to comment because the issue was discussed in closed session.
The Charlotte firm FMW Real Estate negotiated purchase contracts for the sale, which it plans to assign to the city. Its possible the city or Boxer could ask that company to buy out the remaining leases.