While Brett Hesse may very well have overpromised on what he could deliver, his proposal to turn the former Eastland Mall site into a film studio will be remembered as a game changer. Simply put, Hesse was able to, if nothing else, do a great job of selling the idea that a studio could transform the east side of town to area residents. Lots of people in the neighborhoods surrounding Eastland really do believe in that vision. And that acceptance, which translates into a demand for action, will greatly complicate things going forward. The already intense pressure to do something big, has in effect, been turned up another notch.
The likely outcome: Some sort of city-subsidized development that again won’t pass the giggle test. (An indoor ski slope anyone?) And continued avoidance of the area’s core problem: the east side’s housing stock is badly dated, which is a problem that’s extremely difficult to address.