City reaches deal with CMS for language school on Eastland site

Courtesy of Grant Baldwin Photog

Nearly four years after buying the Eastland Mall site, the city of Charlotte has reached a deal to sell a small portion of the land, which would become a K-8 language school.

City Council will vote Monday on selling 11.4 acres to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for $650,000. The school would be in the northeast corner of the mall property.

The city bought the 80-acre Eastland site in 2012 for $13 million. It demolished it a year later.

The school was approved as part of a 2013 bond referendum. It would house about 1,000 students and relieve crowding at Albemarle Road Elementary. The school would have a Spanish language immersion program, according to the city.

An appraiser hired by the city said the 11.4 acres is worth $1.42 million. However, an appraiser hired by CMS said the land was worth only $638,400.

The city has said it’s not a priority to recoup its investment when it bought the site. Its main goal is to redevelop the mall site, which was once the commercial hub of east Charlotte.

The city’s first plan was a massive mixed-use development, but there wasn’t interest from developers. The second plan was to build movie studios on the property but that also failed.

The city has said the school will not be a transformative project for Eastland, but it hopes it entices more development.

Under the deal, CMS must also spend more money in addition to the $650,000 sale price.

CMS would pay the city $400,000 to design and build an extension of Hollyfield Drive, which would create better access to the school. It would also spend up to $488,300 for demolition work needed to clear the site.

Steve Harrison: 704-358-5160, @Sharrison_Obs