Will the Central Flea Market be on the Charlotte Eastland Mall site?

Vendors displaced from Central Flea Market on old Eastland Mall property are making their pitch to be part of the site redevelopment in light of news that Carolina Panthers and Charlotte FC owner David Tepper will not include a youth academy and camps. ball in the project.

But ahead of developer Crosland Southeast’s planned opening in Eastland for Wednesday, Charlotte city council member Tariq Bokhari announced that she is working on a plan again that would move the flea market to another location.

Fruit vendor Jorge Castaneda told The Charlotte Observer on Tuesday that he is willing to move to another location, but would “absolutely” prefer to go back to the Eastland Mall site he and other vendors were kicked out of months ago.

“Some people are still going [to the Eastland Mall site] and looking for us, “Castaneda said.” It really depends on the location. “

Flea market pushed by Eastland

Bokhari says suppliers could have a “new home” over the next two weekends.

In February, staff from the city of Charlotte told vendors – known for selling exotic products and other items – to leave the property “immediately” and not to return.

The orders came months after the city concluded its lease with the market operator last fall, consequently preventing sellers from selling on the site, Observer previously reported. At the time, the developer of the city-owned 80-acre site planned to begin construction for a $ 175 million mixed-use development. Construction is now scheduled to start on Wednesday.

In a statement made available Tuesday by Action NC, which backed the flea market’s assistance and support, reps question that the redevelopment will be inclusive, as it has already shifted locally owned and operated market activities. Amid the plan for “Envision Eastland” – the brand of redevelopment – the statement says local market vendors are asking to “go home” to the one place they have regularly opened stores in the past decade.

“There is always the promise of cultural diversity and economic development for working communities of color. Reality is always the same; our communities are excluded or excluded from the price, as decisions are made and carried out by privileged decision makers and communities, “the statement said.

After the market closed, a number of vendors contacted the city for assistance.

Last month, Bokhari found a temporary location and invited vendors to join for free. The market was located in a series of parking lots between 6th and 9th streets and between Brevard and Caldwell streets, the Observer previously reported.

Although Bokhari said the space could accommodate up to 150 suppliers, many did not show up due to their lack of “input and agreement,” the WCNC reported.

Now, Bokhari says he’s found another option, but it’s unclear how much participation he got from the original vendors at Central Flea Market. He says he is reviewing the position with some displaced suppliers to “make sure any problems are resolved.”

The future location is privately owned land in east Charlotte near Matthews, Bokhari said in a news release Tuesday. The new market at 1720 Galleria Blvd. would be open on Saturdays and Sundays at 9:00 am, but the gates will open to vendors at 7:00 am, the statement said.

“We listened to the calls for help when the salespeople had to return to the board for the second time,” Bokhari said in the statement. “They needed enough space to run their businesses, the ability to start work as soon as possible and a place with long-term opportunities to operate.”

Bokhari claims that the 11-acre space, which is mostly paved, exceeds the 5 acres initially requested by the vendors. It is located near Independence Boulevard and Monroe Road and has free parking for customers. He proposes to the market to use a professional management company to manage day-to-day needs and use the revenue from the sellers’ commissions to buy land in the future.

What about Tepper’s space?

Castaneda said he worked at the Eastland Mall site for eight years before moving, so it would have been more difficult for him and the customers to get used to a new site.

“You will go back to a place where you make money and you know you will be successful,” he said. “We want to go back to where we knew we could be successful and where we knew our customers could find us easily.”

One idea he and other vendors want to propose is that they take control of the acres that would be used for the academy and football fields. Tepper decided to withdraw from the Eastland Mall project last month after he “posed challenges that led us to seek accelerated alternatives,” according to a TSE statement.

“We are working on something long term,” Castaneda said.

Castaneda and other vendors are planning a proposal to be presented to the city in the near future, he said.

This story was originally published August 2, 2022 6:48 pm.

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Jonathan Limehouse is a breaking news reporter and covers all the major happenings in the Charlotte area. He has covered a litany of other rhythms in public safety, education, public health and sports. He is a proud graduate of UNC Charlotte and a native of Raleigh.

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