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.”
Gooch said he learned Monday that the retail leasing component of Main Street Oak Ridge is “moving forward” as are the negotiations with a developer for the multi-family housing component of the project, a mixed-use development that will include retail and restaurants in addition to the two remaining anchor stores: Belk and JCPenney.
That development is his top priority, Gooch said.
“The current mall property is a black hole in the middle of our city that we have been trying to fill for the last 20 years,” Gooch said. “Main Street will be the catalyst for a dynamic and revitalized downtown. It will enhance the image of our city for years to come.”
Also Tuesday, Gooch said:
- The announcement in March that CVMR would relocate its world headquarters to Oak Ridge “adds to the distinction of our community as a place of innovation and advanced composite discoveries for the world.”
- The Oak Ridge airport proposed at East Tennessee Technology Park, the former K-25 site, is also “moving forward.”
- People and organizations are working hard to help win the competition to locate the headquarters for the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge, but the competition to locate the headquarters in the two other park sites—Hanford, Washington, and Los Alamos, New Mexico—is intense.
Gooch gave a summary of positive developments and challenges in Oak Ridge, and announced the results of a community survey, in a speech to the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge on Tuesday.
Other issues the mayor discussed included the ongoing budget talks and property appraisals in Anderson and Roane counties, which could affect the property tax rate in Oak Ridge.
See the full text of Gooch’s remarks here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.