Note: This story was last updated at 3 p.m. July 13.
Workers started installing construction fencing around the former Oak Ridge Mall on Tuesday morning, as the new owner prepares for demolition of much of that building and construction of Main Street Oak Ridge, the 58-acre project to redevelop the site.
Loudon County Fence LLC, which is based in Lenoir City, expects to install 4,000 feet of fence around some parts of the former mall, which is now mostly empty. Some parts near Belk and JCPenney, the two remaining anchor stores, will remain open.
The work could be complete Wednesday afternoon.
A groundbreaking for the redevelopment project, which could include retailers, restaurants, residential units, and a hotel, has been scheduled for 2 p.m. July 20.
Loudon County Fence started putting up the fence by the former Sears store, which is between Walmart, which is not part of the mall redevelopment, and Belk, which is. The road around Sears, which has been used by many people as a shortcut between Walmart and South Tulane Avenue, among other destinations, is now closed off.
By late Wednesday morning, the mall space along Rutgers Avenue, between Walmart and JCPenney, had also been fenced off. So had most of the rest of the enclosed space, including between the former Sears store and the back side of Walmart, and in front of the former Goody’s store and in the area near Belk and Cinemark Tinseltown. Belk, Cinemark Tinseltown, JCPenney, and Walmart all remain accessible and open.
Sears is next to Belk, and RealtyLink, the company redeveloping the mall, has said demolition and construction work could start there. RealtyLink expects to have demolition machinery at the site next week.
RealtyLink closed on the property on Thursday, June 30, purchasing it for $6.3 million from Oak Ridge City Center LLC. RealtyLink executives were in Oak Ridge last week, and among other things, they met with the city staff and contractors and subcontractors to discuss demolition and construction.
The Main Street Oak Ridge redevelopment 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 so far are Dick’s Sporting Goods, Electronic Express, Maurice’s, PetSmart, Rack Room, Rue 21, T.J. Maxx, and Ulta. The existing enclosed space between Belk and JCPenney will be demolished.
Construction of new stores that are expected to open in the spring of 2017 could start near Belk in October.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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