Plans for shopping complex still alive
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Saturday, Aug. 02, 2014

Plans for shopping complex still alive

While Charlotte Premium Outlets opened last week near Steele Creek, Mint Hill residents say they still are waiting for the long-promised Bridges at Mint Hill shopping complex.

Developers say the Bridges project is still on track for about 210 acres along Lawyers Road at the Interstate 485 interchange.

“The Bridges is still a priority for us. We are continuing to work on plans for infrastructure that will be required, and we are working with prospective tenants,” said Chris Thomas, a partner with Childress Klein.

Childress Klein and the Howard Hughes Corp. are working in tandem to develop the site.

Howard Hughes Corp. acquired the project when General Growth Properties filed for bankruptcy several years ago.

The Howard Hughes Corp. website – www.howardhughes.com – lists the Bridges as one of its properties under development. It is described it as “210 acres zoned for approximately 1.3 million square feet of future development” that is “nestled along charming Goose Creek, the Bridges at Mint Hill will offer one-stop shopping, dining and entertainment to the under-served Southeast corner of Charlotte.”

The project has been on the books for almost a decade and shows little visible progress.

Some land has been cleared and fenced in, but no other signs of development are evident.

Mint Hill Town Manager Brian Welch said state legislation passed recently should help the process along.

Senate Bill 848, ratified June 26, allows private developers to install municipal infrastructure and be reimbursed by the municipality at a later date.

The infrastructure has to be in the municipality’s Capital Improvement Plan, and reimbursement agreements must be in place before the work is done.

“This will allow us to pass along some of the legal requirements to the private developer so that the project can move along more quickly,” Welch said.

Welch said a private developer in the area also is close to signing an agreement with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department to install a private lift station – for the purpose of pumping sewage from the area – in the same area as the Bridges. He said the station will be large enough to accommodate the mall.

Bridges developers “were going to have to install a pump station anyway, and this one will be a regional pump station able to serve the mall and some surrounding properties. The plan is that the station will eventually be bought by CMUD and become a part of the public system,” Welch said.

Thomas said he hopes to be able to give a more detailed update on Bridges soon.

“All projects, particularly this one, require patience,” Thomas said.

“We hope to have an update on our plans in early fall,” he said.

Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Melinda? Email her at m.johnston@carolina.rr.com.

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