The sale of the former Oak Ridge Mall closed Thursday, and executives from RealtyLink, the developer of Main Street Oak Ridge, were at the 58-acre site on Tuesday, preparing for demolition.
Three executives at the site on Tuesday morning were Matt Usry, RealtyLink project manager; Brett Rogers, RealtyLink construction director; and Brad Gunn, RealtyLink property manager.
The company is scheduled to meet with city staff, contractors, and subcontractors this afternoon (Tuesday, July 5) to review demolition and construction plans. Among the topics expected to be discussed are utility disconnections at the mostly empty mall.
Plans call for demolishing the enclosed spaces between Belk and JCPenney, the two remaining anchor stores. Utility disconnects near Belk could start Monday, July 11, and demolition machinery could be at Main Street Oak Ridge the week of July 18, officials said.
Some construction fencing could go up as early as this week.
Also Tuesday, there was a truck from Environmental Abatement Inc. at Main Street Oak Ridge, and workers were inside the former mall, which has more recently been known as Oak Ridge City Center. They are reportedly working on demolition plans as well. Environmental Abatement is a structural, demolition, and environmental contracting company that was also at the site in July 2015 for pre-demolition work that included asbestos abatement.
Main Street Oak Ridge could cost $75 million total, and it could include retailers, restaurants, residential units, and possibly a hotel.
Officials have said that Belk and JCPenney are renewing their leases, and the new stores that have been announced are Dick’s Sporting Goods, Electronic Express, Maurice’s, PetSmart, Rack Room, Rue 21, T.J. Maxx, and Ulta.
Construction of new stores, which are expected to open in the spring of 2017, could start near Belk in October. It’s part of the $46 million first all-retail phase of the project.
The first four stores to be built, adjacent to Belk, will be Maurice’s, Rack Room, Rue 21, and Ulta.
Construction on Dick’s Sporting Goods and T.J. Maxx, which will be adjacent to Walmart, will start soon after that.
RealtyLink also has leases with Electronic Express and Petsmart. Those stores will be located on the JCPenney side of the property.
The second phase of the project could include restaurants and residential units and maybe service companies like insurance agencies and dry cleaners.
On Friday, RealtyLink Principal Neil Wilson said the company has a contract with a Marriott-brand hotel and is selling them land. The hotel could open sometime next year, Wilson said.
Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch said the redevelopment project will change the image of the city center and provide a tremendous amount of sales tax revenues and hundreds of jobs.
The new owner is TN Oak Ridge Rutgers LLC, a company set up by RealtyLink, which is based in Greenville, South Carolina. The purchase price was $6.3 million, and the sale closed late Thursday evening, Wilson said.
The sale of the mall had been in the works for several years. Crosland Southeast, a North Carolina developer that worked on the project before RealtyLink took over in September, spent more than two years and $1 million working on the redevelopment.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
Copyright 2016 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.