Zoning change approved by city officials helps Main Street Oak Ridge project

Main Street Oak Ridge Belk on March 2, 2015

The Belk store at the Oak Ridge City Center, which could be redeveloped as Main Street Oak Ridge, is pictured above on March 2.

 

Leasing, financing, and pre-construction work on the Main Street Oak Ridge project is progressing as planned, a developer said in late February, and a change to the city’s zoning ordinance approved on Monday will help the redevelopment.

James Downs, Crosland Southeast partner, said his company hopes to start construction late in the second quarter of 2015. It’s part of a plan to have a grand opening in the fall of 2016.

Survey crews from Cannon and Cannon have completed a boundary survey of the 60-acre site, the former Oak Ridge Mall, and field work is under way, said Ray Evans, the city’s retail consultant. [Read more…]

Snow: Oak Ridge Schools closed, city opens late, Discovery Ed Livestream postponed

Snow Sweeper at Oak Ridge High School

A tractor with sweeping equipment helps remove snow from the Oak Ridge High School parking lot. (Photo by Julio Culiat) 

 

Note: This story was last updated at 12:52 p.m. Some of these announcements continue to change. We will update this story as we can.

Oak Ridge Schools are closed today (Tuesday, February 24), and the City of Oak Ridge offices will open at 10 a.m.

Oak Ridge Schools said the Discovery Ed Livestream that had been scheduled for today has been postponed until May.

Anderson County Courthouse is closed due to weather. So is Roane State Community College. [Read more…]

Snow: Basketball tournament canceled; city centers, some businesses closed

Taylor Road Snow Lady Feb. 21, 2015

Ashlynn and Myrah Forgety build a snow woman on Taylor Road in Oak Ridge on Saturday. (Photo courtesy Leah M. Bevins)

 

Note: This story was last updated at 12:58 p.m.

The snow overnight, which covered some roads that were already treacherous, has forced more closings, cancellations, and delays.

The Oak Ridge Civic Center, Scarboro Center, Senior Center, and Public Library will all be closed today, Saturday, February 21.

The District 3-AAA basketball tournament, which had been rescheduled for today at Central High School in Knoxville, has been canceled. The regional tournament is scheduled to start Monday, and the seedings that stand now will be used in the regional tournament.

Some businesses in Oak Ridge announced they are closed or opening later, possibly after the temperature warms and the precipitation changes to rain. For example, ORNL Federal Credit Union announced that all of its locations will be closed today. Hot Bagel Co. announced it will be closed today but will reopen at 6 a.m. Monday. The Other One in Grove Center said they will not open this morning, but could reopen this afternoon. You might consider calling ahead if you have a question about a specific business. [Read more…]

Free Community Shred Day at ORNL FCU on Saturday

ORNL Federal Credit Union will team up again with Cintas Document Management Company for a Community Shred Day on Saturday, February 7, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Millertown Pike and Oak Ridge Main branches of ORNL FCU, a press release said.

ORNL Federal Credit Union members, as well as the public, are invited to bring any unwanted documents, especially ones containing personal information, to one of the Community Shred Day locations and have them safely and securely destroyed at no charge. A maximum of four boxes/bags per person will be accepted.

ORNL FCU’s Millertown Pike Branch is located at 5409 Millertown Pike in Knoxville. The Oak Ridge Main Branch is located at 221 South Rutgers Avenue. [Read more…]

ORNL Federal Credit Union raises $65K for United Way

ORNL FCU Donation to United Way

Pictured above from left to right are Chris Outland (ORNL FCU title services manager), Lydia Birk (2014 UWAC campaign chair), Ben Jones (ORNL FCU Maryville Branch manager), and Bethany Rush (branch floater). (Photo courtesy United Way)

 

ORNL Federal Credit Union raised $64,861 for the United Way of Anderson County’s annual giving campaign, bringing the total for the last two years to more than $131,000, a press release said.

“At ORNL Federal Credit Union, we are committed to making a difference by giving back and helping to improve the quality of life for others in our communities,” said Colin Anderson, ORNL FCU executive vice president and chief financial officer. “An investment in the United Way is an investment in our community.”

Donations to UWAC are an investment in the community, a United Way press release said. [Read more…]

Area credit unions join to launch CU Community Title Company LLC

Submitted

CU Community and Credit Union Services of East Tennessee, or CUSET, have teamed up to launch CU Community Title Company LLC, effective January 2, 2015.

The joint venture represents a groundbreaking collaboration between East Tennessee’s most successful subsidiaries of ORNL Federal Credit Union and Y-12 Federal Credit Union, both headquartered in Oak Ridge, a press release said.

“Title companies are a natural extension of the mortgage business,” said Ron Honeycutt, CUSET chairman. “Y-12 FCU and ORNL FCU are two of the area’s largest and most successful mortgage providers. Forming a title company gives us added flexibility in meeting the mortgage needs of our respective membership, while ensuring they receive the best value, convenience, and peace of mind.” [Read more…]

Mall redevelopment close to goal line

James Downs of Crosland Southeast Retail Update

James Downs, Crosland Southeast partner, gives an update on the redevelopment of the former Oak Ridge Mall during a Tuesday morning Rise and Shine, sponsored by the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, at The Courtyards Seniors Living on Briarcliff Avenue. (Photo courtesy Kathy Gillenwaters)

 

Ray Evans

Ray Evans

Note: This story was last updated at 1 p.m. Nov. 3.

If it were a football game, the long-awaited redevelopment of the former Oak Ridge Mall would be in the “red zone”—not across the goal line yet but close enough to score, a project executive said Tuesday.

Seventy-five percent or more of the new retail space has been leased or is under negotiation, said James Downs, partner of Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina commercial real estate firm that has proposed the project.

The company could have a groundbreaking in the spring of 2015. Construction work, which will include demolition of areas between anchor stores, could be completed by the summer of 2016, making it available to retailers by the fall of 2016. [Read more…]

Recycle electronics, other items; shred documents on Saturday

You can recycle certain electronics and other items and shred documents during a recycling event on Oak Ridge Turnpike on Saturday.

The recycling program is sponsored by Keep Anderson County Beautiful. It is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, November 8, at the Potter’s Clearance Center next to Willow Ridge Garden Center.

It’s part of the national America Recycles Day, sponsored by Keep America Beautiful.

During the local event, Scott Recycling of Knoxville will collect old computers and peripherals, cell phones, rechargeable and button batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs (no tubes), used books (not text books), and eyeglasses. For televisions, there is a charge of $20/TV and $1 per CRT computer monitor because of current expenses associated with recycling CRT screens. No TV cabinetry will be accepted. Scott Recycling from Knoxville will be recycling the electronics. [Read more…]

Girls Inc. has fundraising electronics raffle

Girls Inc. Fundraiser Electronics Raffle

 

Girls Incorporated of Oak Ridge is raffling off 20 incredible prizes to help fundraise for their organization this fall, a press release said.

From August 1 until November 3, Girls Inc. will be selling entry tickets to win one of 20 electronic prizes.

The prizes include a 47-inch flat screen television, an Apple iMac 21.5-inch computer, Yamaha outdoor speakers, an HP Laptop, Xbox 360 with Kinect, PlayStation 4, Nikon D3100 Camera, and many more, the press release said.

Entry tickets are just $5 per entry and can be purchased through November 3. Twenty lucky winners will be drawn on November 3 at Girls Inc. by the 2013-2014 Girls’ of the Month, the release said. [Read more…]

Mall project clears critical hurdle Monday

Oak Ridge Village Area Rendering

 

Tim Sittema

Tim Sittema

Council, IDB approve TIF extension, grant, roadway work

The proposed redevelopment of the Oak Ridge mall cleared a critical hurdle on Monday when city officials agreed to extend a property tax agreement for the 59-acre project, authorize $2 million in roadway and other infrastructure work, and offer a $500,000 grant if some federal funding is not approved.

Officials described the proposed redevelopment, named Main Street Oak Ridge, as an $80 million project that could fill a “hole in the heart” of Oak Ridge, bring new retail life to the city’s downtown, and build a lasting legacy.

Monday’s moves were meant to reduce the risk for four local lenders that could combine to offer $13 million in loans to part of the redevelopment under a tax increment financing, or TIF, agreement. That incentive would use new property tax revenues generated at the mall site and 120 surrounding acres included in the TIF area to repay those loans. Officials said the loans could be repaid in 18 years, according to financial models.

David Bradshaw

David Bradshaw

But in two separate special meetings on Monday, the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board and Oak Ridge City Council agreed to extend the TIF term from 20 years to 30. That extra 10 years is meant to act as a “shock absorber” and help make sure that the banks are repaid if there is a “glitch” in the project that would push the repayment past the previously approved 20-year term, officials said.

“This is not a ‘home run’ project for us as financial institutions,” said David R. Bradshaw, Oak Ridge president of CapitalMark Bank and Trust, one of the financial institutions that could participate. But, he added, “It is the right thing to do for the community.” [Read more…]

ORNL FCU starts major facilities projects; demolition under way

Chris Johnson and Marcy Catro at ORNL Federal Credit Union

ORNL FCU President and CEO Chris Johnson and Board Chair Marcy Catron are pictured above. (Submitted photo)

 

ORNL Federal Credit Union on Monday announced that it has started its major facilities projects in Oak Ridge with the demolition of its location at 215 South Rutgers Avenue. That location was the Credit Union’s sole branch between 1969 and 1987, before housing the Operations and Imaging departments for the last 27 years.

Business operations at ORNL FCU’s main branch located at 221 South Rutgers Avenue will not be affected by the ongoing work. [Read more…]

Oak Ridge mall to have new name, banks considering financing

Oak Ridge Village Area Rendering

 

Tim Sittema

Tim Sittema

The redeveloped Oak Ridge mall will have a new name, and local banks and credit unions are considering helping with project financing, executives said Tuesday.

The redeveloped mixed-use property will be known as Main Street—Oak Ridge, said Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina development firm that has been working with the city of Oak Ridge to redevelop the site, including through significant demolition and new construction. The name was chosen after long consideration of a new brand identity for the development, including involvement by Oak Ridge High School students.

“Most everyone we talked to in Oak Ridge was positive about creating a downtown destination for the community—something that says this place is the heart of the city,” said Crosland Southeast partner Tim Sittema. “The site already has Main Street running through it; so Main Street—Oak Ridge is the obvious choice.”

David Bradshaw

David Bradshaw

Construction is expected to begin in early 2015, with an opening anticipated in the third quarter of 2016, based upon completion of the financial arrangements.

In a press release, Crosland Southeast said a consortium of local financial institutions, led by CapitalMark Bank and Trust of Oak Ridge, is considering substantial involvement in the financing of the redevelopment “due to the transformative nature of this project in the city core.”

“In addition to our bank, ORNL Federal Credit Union and others have held discussions together about providing lending support to the mall project,” said David Bradshaw, executive vice president of CapitalMark. “Although details have not been finalized and commitments have not yet been made, there is very strong interest among our local banks and credit unions to be engaged in this important long-term investment in the Oak Ridge community.” [Read more…]