The owner of Epicenter defaulted on the loan, foreclosure ahead

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The epicenter in the suburbs of Charlotte, popular with restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, was barely visited on the last June evening.

The epicenter in the suburbs of Charlotte, popular with restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, is uncrowded on the last June evening.

moyler@charlotteobserver.com

Once a jewel in the crown of Charlotte’s nightlife, Epicenter seems to be heading for a case and possible foreclosure.

According to a lawsuit filed June 25 by creditor Deustsche Bank Trust Co. in Mecklenburg County Court, the multifunctional mall’s real estate owner defaulted on its $ 85 million loan as of June 6.

According to the lawsuit, the bank is simultaneously trying to appoint a manager to collect rent and manage the property, and also carries out a special procedure with the clerk of the district court to foreclose on the property.

Investment company CIM Group from Los Angeles bought a property in 2014 for $ 103.5 million. Epicenter SPE is the defendant in the claim, not the CIM Group.

A multi-level mall of nearly 304,000 square feet occupies the city block at 210 E. Trade St.

According to the commercial real estate database Reonomy, by June Epicenter fell to 35%. The site collects records from public and private sources according to his Web site

Most restaurants and other entertainment venues that were closed at the start of the coronavirus pandemic never reopened at Epicenter, including Whiskey River, Vida Cantina, and Tin Roof.

Bankruptcy attorney Heather Culp of Essex Richards in Charlotte, which is not involved in Epicenter’s litigation, said foreclosures could possibly be completed within 60-75 days. After that, Deustsche Bank could look for a real estate buyer without a court order in North Carolina.

“That doesn’t mean this is Epicenter’s death knell,” Culp said, “but we don’t have much time.”

CIM Group did not respond to multiple requests for comment… James Pulliam of Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton in Charlotte, who represented Deutsche Bank in the case, did not respond to a request for comment.

Big drop in income

The Epicenter area is 264,000 square feet. of retail space and nearly 41,000 square feet of office space on over 3 acres, rheonomy Data show.

According to reonomy, Epicenter’s occupancy rate at the end of 2019 was 78%, up from 36% at the end of last year. Net operating income fell from more than $ 11 million at the end of 2019 to less than $ 6 million last year, data from Reonomy show.

Another Charlotte mall is also approaching a possible foreclosure.

The owner of Northlake Mall defaulted on a real estate loan in November 2019 and was unable to repay the debt, following a Mecklenburg County court ruling on consent filed by Wilmington Trust asking to appoint a recipient. TM Northlake Mall is a subsidiary of Starwood Capital Group, which acquired North Charlotte Mall in 2014.

COVID-19 closure

During the pandemic, most of the restaurants at Epicenter never reopened.

This includes Blackfinn, Firehouse Subs, Grabbagreen Food + Juice, Jason’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Papa Rossi’s New York Style Pizza, Smoothie King, Urban Brick’s Pizza, Vida Cantina, and Wild Wing Cafe.

Entertainment and nightlife venues such as Rooftop 210, Suite, The Tin Roof, and Vault are also permanently closed.

Studio Movie Grill is closed his second level is in the epicenter, on March 2, after seven years, and, according to him, this movement had nothing to do with the pandemic.

The epicenter almost lost its right of ransom

CIM Group is the third owner of Epicenter.

The epicenter was built in 2008.

Epicenter went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2010 under the original developers to avoid foreclosures after a loan for the center went into default, according to the Observer at the time. IN The epicenter came out of bankruptcy two years later with new owners, Blue Air 2010, which has invested millions in renovations.

Stay open at Epicenter

On the Epicenter online There are 52 business premises on the five-story map, but the map shows less than 20. Active sites include Insomnia Cookie, Epic Times Jewelry, Fuji Hibachi and Teriyaki Grill, Flemings Steakhouse, Mortimer’s Cafe, Red Eye Diner, Bowlero, Tailored Smoke , Rocket Fizz and World of Beer.

Service businesses such as CVS, Novant Health and State Farm, Skyview Dentistry and Seaport Global financial office also remain open.

World of Beer CEO Paul Avery told the Observer in an interview last month that he has no plans to leave Epicenter, despite the location “making it a big deal for money.”

Avery said Epicenter partnered with a chain of Florida restaurants and breweries during the COVID-19 restrictions to keep its doors open. An institution in Charlotte opened in 2018. He believes that entertainment and sports are returning to the suburbs, as is business.

“We are seeing steady growth in sales,” he said last month. “We think that the most difficult days are behind us. At the moment, the risk lies in what the owner is going to do with Epicenter.

“I think Epicenter is long-term and everything will be fine in the long run,” Avery said. “Our plan is to stay at Epicenter.”

Charlotte Observer Stories

Catherine Mucchigrosso is a retail reporter for The Charlotte Observer. An award-winning journalist, she has worked for several newspapers and for McClatchy for over a decade.



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