Following two postponements, the live auction for uptown Charlotte’s one-time hot spot Epicenter is set for Tuesday in the Mecklenburg County Courthouse.
The foreclosure sale of the financially troubled entertainment complex is scheduled for 10 am The sale was pushed back twice before over the last three months. City officials have said they hope that $215 million in renovations at Spectrum Center and the sale of the neighboring Epicenter will help jump-start an uptown entertainment district.
In March, foreclosure proceedings started after Epicenter defaulted on its $85 million loan with lender Deutsche Bank Trust Co. The sale of the 302,324-square-foot mixed-use center at 201 E. Trade St. was first set for May 12.
But William Kirk Jr., a trustee in the foreclosure, told the crowd gathered at the courthouse that day that the Epicenter auction was postponed until July 26. Then just days before July 26, the sale was postponed again. It’s unclear why the sale was postponed twice.
Epicenter will be sold “as is, where is” to the highest cash bidder, according to the foreclosure notice. Following Tuesday’s sale, there is a 10-day period to accept “upset bids.”
How upset bids work
When the auction opens, there will be a minimum bid, Kirk has said. It is not known what that minimum level is.
Upset bids, where another party can offer a higher bid on the property after the auction ends, are received by the Special Proceedings Division of the county Clerk of Court. The 10-day period to accept such bids starts the day after the foreclosure sale date.
Each time an upset bid is filed, a new 10-day upset bid period begins again, according to North Carolina law.
After all upset bid periods are completed, the highest successful bidder is notified and will need to pay the balance of the purchase price to complete the sale, according to Mecklenburg County’s website.
Charlotte’s hot spot fizzled out
When Epicenter opened 14 years ago it was hailed as a catalyst that would drive more development uptown, despite the economic recession at the time.
During its height of popularity, the one-block complex had nightclubs, a movie theater, bowling and restaurants. It also drew crowds for CIAA parties, the NBA All-Star Game and the Democratic National Convention, among other events.
CIM Group, a California real estate group, bought Epicenter eight years ago for $130.5 million. At that time, it was 94% leased, with 70% of its rental income from 16 restaurants.
Epicentre’s demise was exacerbated by the COVID pandemic, rising crime in the area, and nightlife and development growth shifting to the South End.
Now, the center with 50 tenant spaces is 70% vacant, according to the latest receiver’s report filed last month.
Four restaurants and a cookie shop are listed on the Epicenter directory. Other businesses include Bowlero bowling center, Epic Times jewelry store, CVS, a dentist’s office and Tailored Smoke cigar shop.