Pre-demolition work at the Oak Ridge City Center, the former Oak Ridge Mall, was scheduled to start late last week or early this week, and environmental remediation trucks have been at the 60-acre site this week, starting Monday.
Plans call for redeveloping the former mall as Main Street Oak Ridge, a mixed-use project that would include retailers, restaurants, residential units, and a hotel. The existing space between the two remaining anchors, Belk and JCPenney, would be demolished, although those two stores would remain.
The trucks that have been at the mall site this week are from Environmental Abatement Inc., a structural, demolition, and environmental contractor. There has also been an asbestos waste container at the site.
A project representative said that Crosland Southeast, the company that has proposed the $80 million project, is working on pre-demolition activities and reviewing bids. The pre-demolition work includes asbestos abatement, and earlier this month, the representative said that the company hopes that that work will take place within a month.
A site plan has been submitted to the Oak Ridge city staff and is under review.
In other developments announced recently, the civil design for the project has been completed along with architectural drawings for several new buildings, and all of those plans have been put out to bid along with the demolition plans. Crosland Southeast is currently reviewing those bid results. The reconstruction of East Main, West Main, and Wilson streets has also been put out to bid, and Crosland Southeast is reviewing those bids.
The company’s intent is still to open Main Street Oak Ridge to retailers by Thanksgiving 2016.
In March, developers announced they had signed their first anchor store lease. In May, they announced that Atlanta-based MDC development group, through its affiliated company Canterfield Hotel Group LLC, will build a new 120-room hotel at the site.
Then, in July, company executives and city officials announced that six Oak Ridge employers have pledged roughly $500,000 for public infrastructure at the site. Officials said it shows unprecedented community support for the highly anticipated project.
The six companies are Methodist Medical Center; Oak Ridge Associated Universities; UCOR, a federal cleanup contractor; Restoration Services Inc., a cleanup contractor; Consolidated Nuclear Security, which manages and operates Y-12 National Security Complex; and UT-Battelle, which operates and manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The relocation and reconstruction of public infrastructure such as Wilson Street and the two Main Streets are key elements of the project, and the Oak Ridge City Council and the Industrial Development Board have pledged $1.5 million toward these improvements. According to the city’s consultants, costs will exceed this amount, so the corporate pledges are a welcomed addition to the development’s financial backing.
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