Charlotte ready to welcome EpiCentre

Article from News 14 Carolina – view the original article here

Charlotte ready to welcome EpiCentre

By: Bryn Hough

CHARLOTTE — The EpiCentre, being constructed on Trade Street in Charlotte, is getting closer to completion.

The site will be home to numerous entertainment, dining and retail locations; sitting on the former home of the old vacant Convention Center. Now, the 250,000 square foot EpiCentre is set to host more than 50 retail stores.

“The whole concept for EpiCentre was based on a pedestrian, free-flowing, very active entertainment live/work area,” said developer Afshin Ghazi. “The whole concept of EpiCentre is to bring people from the office buildings outside and to the street level so all of our store fronts and all of our shops actually open up on to outdoor plaza’s and outdoor terraces.”

On top of the EpiCentre will be a high-rise condo development. Inside, workers are preparing the interior, which will feature Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s bar and uptown Charlotte’s only bowling alley.

Ghazi originally hoped to be open at the end of Feb. 2008 for the CIAA Tournament, but that is no longer a reality.

“Our goal is for the project to be open, from the plaza standpoint … to be open for the ACC Tournament [in March]. We will not make the CIAA though,” he said. “We’re very excited. We should hopefully, once this thing is fully open and operational, [see] about 10-million visitors a year. And quite an economic engine for our downtown.”

The EpiCentre is named for its proximity to the center of Charlotte. It is estimated to cost about $275 million to complete.

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