Did you see the story in Saturday's Observer, where the developers of the proposed movie studio complex estimated that 350,000 tourists per year would pay $30 a head to tour their site?
My first reaction was, "Somebody needs to put down the crack pipe." Whatever the merits of the studio's business proposal may be, there's no way a thousand people will visit the refurbished Eastland Mall every day to see a project being shot (though most sets are closed these days), empty sound stages or a classroom in a film school. The notion that this joint could outdraw a well-located McDonald's, let alone the NASCAR Hall of Fame -- especially in a neighborhood with zero foot traffic -- seems like the apex of foolishness.
Then I thought, "This could be seen as a business opportunity for you, L.T. You live in the same Charlotte City Council district as the defunct mall (district 5), so perhaps development dollars would be available to underwrite YOUR proposal." So I'm preparing to offer tours of my home and grounds for the same $30, and I promise a much better bargain. Consider the advantages to having the council support me instead:
1) Activity. There will always be something new to see in my yard. The studio may not always host film projects, but my four backyard bird feeders guarantee constant action in all seasons. Squirrels, chipmunks, possum and deer have been spotted, and our butterfly garden attracts multiple varieties of flying creatures.
2) Food. The studio does not intend to feed visitors for free. My $30 ticket would include your choice of three varieties of cereal, milk (regular or soy) and a plateful of cookies. (Chocolate chip and vanilla cream are always available; maple cream can be had if you call ahead.)
3) Hospitality. At my house, you'll feel like a member of the family: Our cats will welcome you, you can coo over the pretty new baby next door, and we'll give you the best recliner (the dark green one downstairs) if you need to rest. I'll bet you won't find any recliners at the movie studio!
4) Entertainment. The capacious main building (2100 sq. ft. of heated space), comfortable screened back porch and handsome lot (a full two-fifths of an acre) should provide plenty of pleasure for visitors. But we also offer hundreds of DVDs for your viewing enjoyment, a thousand books on diverse subjects and a trained animal act. (One of our cats turns somersaults, if you're willing to snap a feather back and forth in front of her.)
I don't claim that I'll outdraw the NASCAR Hall of Fame, but I've got a fair shot at outpacing the proposed movie studio at Eastland Mall. I'll start booking tours as soon as City Council gives me the first economic development grant.