Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Whither the big box on Eastway?

The announcement Wednesday that Wal-Mart will build a 155,000-square-foot supercenter on Independence to replace the Eastway Drive store could have far-reaching implications for nearby neighbors of both sites.

The new store between Eastway and Albemarle roads is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2011, according to The Charlotte Observer.

That sounds like ages away, but it’s not really. The Observer’s article notes that Wal-Mart first announced intentions to build on Independence four years ago, and it has taken four years to clear obstacles for that project.

So it’s not too early to ask questions about what will become of the old Eastway Wal-Mart site.

A creek runs behind the property, backing up to homes on Pinecrest and, down further, Carolyn Drive.

The registered property owner of 3042 Eastway Drive is Eastway I Holdings, according to county property records. (It’s possible those records indicate it’s Eastway 1 Holdings, with a numeral “one.”) The property was sold in January 2007 to the owner for $11 million.

A Google search on “Eastway I Holdings” turns up an Excel document that lists an address for the company of P.O. Box 36799, in ZIP code 28236.

Does the property owner have plans for when Wal-Mart leaves Eastway? Does the property owner have any legal responsibilities to keep the property from becoming a degrading big box? I believe I’ve heard of new rules in which commercial property owners face the same responsibilities that homeowners do to keep vacant buildings from becoming eyesores and hazards.

But could the move offer opportunities for redevelopment? Could a larger buffer be made near the creek? Could the parking-lot sea become more green? Could the building or parcel be redesigned to better accommodate local businesses? What kind of new tenants would serve nearby neighborhoods?

The post office in the Eastway Crossing Center is also up for review for closing, and a Department of Motor Vehicles office recently closed at the center. The Eastway Division of the Charlotte Police Department still has offices at the shopping center.

It’s not too early to ask questions and plan next steps, to avoid merely moving the Independence big-box blight to another neighborhood.


Courtney said...

The Blockbuster is also closing in just a couple of weeks.

Anonymous said...

Wal-Mart has agreed to maintain the old box until the lease is up. But that really isn't very long at this point.
The property manangement company will probably maintain the exterior of the building in order to keep tenants in the other spaces. My gut tells me that shopping center is busy enough to attract a new tenant. the box isn't that big. Thre is lso a upwardly mobile clientele creeping into the areaand I would guess in the next 5 years we will see the demographics of that shopping center change and the stores take on a whole new look & feel

Andria said...

Thanks, Courtney.

Couple of questions:
1. Does anyone know specifically when the Wal-Mart lease is up?
2. Is anyone fighting to keep the endangered post office in the center? Does anyone use it? (I do.)
3. Will new stores take on a new look and feel without some reinvestment from the developer?

Mary Newsom said...

Eastway Wal-Mart's lease is up 2011 -- turns out to be right about the time they open their new store, a city planner tells me.

Anonymous said...

Email Congressional reps to support the PO. Email City Council and tell them to contact the Reps to keep it. This would be a great opportunity for Harris Teeter to have a larger store in east Clt. The classic one on the Plaza is too small.

Anonymous said...

How about a Magic Mart? They successfully filled the old Wal-mart in Salisbury. They are a discount chain.

Andria said...

I'm unfamiliar with Magic Mart, but discount stores are fine, if people feel they're safe and clean.
A Ross store is going in across Eastway Drive as well.

Matt said...


According to this site, which is a real-estate listing for the whole shopping center, the lease for the Wal-Mart is up May of 2011.

But their new store isn't complete, so I don't imagine they will close it just yet.