Groundbreaking, demolition for Main Street Oak Ridge on schedule for June 30, mayor says

Warren Gooch

Warren Gooch

Groundbreaking and demolition for Main Street Oak Ridge, the redevelopment of the former Oak Ridge Mall, is on schedule to begin by June 30, Mayor Warren Gooch said Tuesday.

The $80 million redevelopment of the 60-acre site in the heart of the city is perhaps the most eagerly anticipated project of the past decade.

Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina company that has proposed Main Street Oak Ridge, announced last week that MDC Development Group of Atlanta will be the hotel developer at the site.

“MDC is also a major developer in the senior housing industry and 15 months ago opened Canterfield Oak Ridge Assisted Living,” Gooch said. “It has been very successful and well-received in our community.” [Read more…]

Main Street Oak Ridge signs first anchor lease, other leases could follow

Main Street Oak Ridge

Main Street Oak Ridge would redevelop the former Oak Ridge Mall as a mixed-use project that could include retailers, restaurants, residential units, and possibly a hotel. The existing space between the two remaining anchors, Belk and JCPenney, would be demolished, although those two stores would remain.

 

Note: This story was last updated at 10:15 a.m. March 27.

The developers who want to convert the former Oak Ridge Mall into Main Street Oak Ridge signed their first anchor store lease last week, an executive said Thursday.

And three to five more leases could be signed in the next month or so, said Tim Sittema of Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina company that has proposed the roughly 60-acre redevelopment.

Main Street Oak Ridge would redevelop the mall as a mixed-use project that would include retailers, restaurants, residential units, and possibly a hotel. The existing space between the two remaining anchors, Belk and JCPenney, would be demolished, although those two stores would remain. [Read more…]

Main Street Oak Ridge rezoning, master plan to be considered Thursday

Main Street Oak Ridge Presentation

Pictured above during a Monday presentation on Main Street Oak Ridge are Crosland Southeast partner James Downs, right; Barry James, Crosland Southeast senior vice president, center; and Houston E. Daugherty, Cannon and Cannon vice president.

 

The Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission will consider a rezoning request for Main Street Oak Ridge during a Thursday meeting.

The Planning Commission will also consider a planned unit development, or PUD, master plan for the project.

Main Street Oak Ridge is the redevelopment of the former Oak Ridge Mall, now officially known as the Oak Ridge City Center.

The Thursday meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom. [Read more…]

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…]

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…]

Follow-up: AC Commission concurs with city’s mall TIF extension

Oak Ridge Village Area Rendering

Note: This story was updated at 10:02 a.m.

County’s part of agreement does not change

The Oak Ridge City Council has agreed to add another 10 years to the agreement that will be used to help redevelop the former Oak Ridge Mall, and during its regular meeting in October, the Anderson County Commission concurred with the change.

There were no objections, and the Commission’s concurrence with the city’s 10-year extension of the tax increment financing, or TIF, passed 15-0. The city’s portion of the TIF has been extended from 20 years to 30, and the county’s remains unchanged at 20.

The city’s TIF extension had also been approved by the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board, and the County Commission concurred with that change as well.

Ray Evans, retail consultant for the City of Oak Ridge, told commissioners that Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina firm that has proposed the redevelopment, could close on the property at the end of the year. Demolition could start in the first quarter of 2015, and retailers could have space in the redeveloped 59-acre site by mid-2016, Evans said.

“We think we’re very close to getting across the finish line,” Evans said. [Read more…]

Anderson committee to consider tax agreement for OR mall redevelopment

Oak Ridge Village Area Rendering

 

It’s already been approved by the Oak Ridge City Council, and a 10-year extension of the $13 million tax agreement that could be used to help redevelop the former Oak Ridge Mall will next be considered by Anderson County officials.

The agreement will be considered by the Anderson County Operations Committee on Monday evening. It could then be considered by the full Anderson County Commission later this month.

Like Oak Ridge officials, Anderson County officials will consider extending the tax agreement for the 59-acre project by 10 years—from 20 years to 30.

Officials have 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. [Read more…]

IDB, Council to consider longer tax agreement, road improvements for mall project

Main Street Oak Ridge Site Plan without Tenants

A Main Street Oak Ridge site plan from Tuesday, without tenants shown. (Submitted image)

 

Oak Ridge Village Area Rendering

In two special meetings today, local officials will consider adding another 10 years to a tax incentive agreement for the long-awaited redevelopment of the Oak Ridge mall, and they will also consider authorizing improvements to public infrastructure, including the rebuilding of three private roads: Main Street East, Main Street West, and Wilson Street.

The tax incentive is known as tax increment financing, or TIF. It would use new property tax revenues generated at the mall site, which will be renamed Main Street Oak Ridge, to help pay for development costs.

A 20-year, $13 million TIF and economic impact plan were approved by the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board, City Council, and Anderson County Commission in November, and by Tennessee officials in January.

But the IDB and City Council will now consider extending the TIF term to 30 years. The extension would also have to be approved by the Anderson County Commission and Tennessee officials. [Read more…]

State comptroller approves $13 million agreement for Oak Ridge Mall

Oak Ridge Mall

The Tennessee Comptroller has approved the use of a $13 million tax financing agreement that could be used for the $85 million redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall. The L-shaped mall is pictured at center above.

The Tennessee Comptroller has approved a $13 million tax financing agreement that could be used for the $85 million redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall.

The approval was announced in a Wednesday letter from Tennessee Comptroller Justin P. Wilson to Nashville law firm Bradley, Arant, Boult, and Cummings, which is working with Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina company that wants to redevelop the mostly empty mall.

The 20-year tax increment financing, or TIF, agreement, would use new property tax revenues generated at the 59-acre site to help pay for development costs, possibly including tearing down the existing space between the two remaining anchor stores, JCPenney and Belk, as well as for replacing aging infrastructure and building new roads. [Read more…]

ETEC presents 2013 Muddy Boot Awards

On Friday, the East Tennessee Economic Council named three new recipients of the Muddy Boot Award: Bill Biloski, Ray Smith, and Barry Stephenson.

The Muddy Boot Award is a tribute to people who, through their work and community activities, make East Tennessee a stronger region.

Also Friday, ETEC presented two Postma Young Professional Medals to husband and wife Colin and Sherith Colverson.

The council’s annual celebratory event was keynoted by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. [Read more…]

Letter: Mall nullification proposal would make TIF loan impossible to finance

Oak Ridge Mall TIF Public Hearing

James Murphy, center, is a Nashville attorney representing Oak Ridge Mall redeveloper Crosland Southeast. Also pictured during a recent public hearing are Ray Evans, right, Oak Ridge economic development consultant; and Tim Sittema, a Crosland Southeast partner.

Note: This Nov. 14 e-mail from an attorney representing mall redeveloper Crosland Southeast was written in response to a nullification proposal submitted by Oak Ridge City Council member Trina Baughn to Anderson County officials.

I represent Crosland in connection with the proposed Economic Impact Plan for the Redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall Economic Development Area (the “Economic Impact Plan”). The Economic Impact Plan has been approved by the Industrial Development Board of the City of Oak Ridge (the “IDB”) and the City Council for the City of Oak Ridge, and it is on the agenda for the Nov. 18 meeting of the Board of Commissioners of Anderson County. I would like to respond to Ms. Baughn’s suggestion that the tax increment financing (“TIF”) funding for the redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall be nullified if at least 65 percent of the planned new retail square footage is not completed by December 2018.

As has been explained by Ray Evans in the meetings of the Anderson County Operations Committee and the Budget Committee, the proposed redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall requires a public-private partnership. After carefully reviewing the project’s pro forma, the city officials who have been involved in negotiating the incentives with Crosland were convinced that there was a funding gap of $13 million that could be bridged by the use of the TIF funding. Without that $13 million in TIF funding, the project would not go forward. [Read more…]

Letter: Chamber asks city, county officials to endorse mall TIF

Note: This is a copy of a Nov. 6 letter sent by the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce to the Oak Ridge City Council and Anderson County Commission. The Oak Ridge City Council approved the tax increment financing for the Oak Ridge Mall redevelopment in a 6-0 vote on Monday.

Dear members of Council and Commission:

Today, in a full retreat attended by the board of directors of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce and numerous Chamber Millennium Partners, our board unanimously adopted a position urging Oak Ridge City Council and Anderson County Commission to unanimously approve tax increment financing (TIF) for redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall property.

This is the most critical near-term economic development project in Oak Ridge and Anderson County. It will undoubtedly impact our economy, our ability to attract additional retail/commercial projects, and our community pride.

Some specifics are: [Read more…]