This story originally appeared in the Observer on April 26, 1996
FOR SALE: Lot in uptown Charlotte. Prime location. Great view of Carolinas Stadium. Want to check it out? Find a high-rise building that overlooks the stadium. Look down between the stadium and Duke Power and you'll see a skinny piece of land enclosed by a chain-link fence.
The price for this tenth-of-an-acre island on the city-owned stadium grounds: $2 million plus. The current tax value is $119,780.
"It's still available to any party who wants it, " said Aaron Efird, 42, vice president of the Anson County textile company that owns the lot. "No deal has been struck. We're really looking for a trade or swap for a comparable value."
Efird said he thinks the wedge-shaped site would be ideal for a multistory pavilion with automated teller machines, a bank of pay phones and vendors. "You have 60,000 people walking by that thing, " he said. "We would love to hear from AT&T or MCI."
More people than that would pass by if the Carolina Panthers sell all 72,600 seats.
The city plans no offers. "It's not fair for the city taxpayers to pay an exorbitant price for something, " said Boyd Cauble, executive assistant to the city manager.
Three years ago, the Efirds were asking about $1.25 million for the lot, near the corner of Mint and Stonewall streets.
The Carolina Panthers say the fenced-off lot won't interfere with the stadium work. "We would love for it to be integrated into the stadium design, " spokesman Charlie Dayton said. "We plan to landscape around it and move forward."
The lot came into the Efird family in 1937. Aaron Efird's father, Hugh Efird, now 72, hung on to the parcel. It's now owned by the Efirds' Polkton Manufacturing Co.
The Efirds don't consider themselves holdouts. "It's investment property, " Aaron Efird said.
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