Demolition work at the former Oak Ridge Mall is about 50 percent complete, a contractor said Thursday.
Demolition started at the former Sears store on Tuesday, July 26. It’s proceeded quickly from there to include the enclosed space next to Belk, which will remain in the redeveloped site, east toward Rutgers Avenue and the former Proffitt’s men’s store. Close to one half of the enclosed L-shaped mall space had been demolished as of Thursday, August 18. The demolished space also included the area in the mall that was most recently used as a conference center.
Workers are moving counterclockwise toward JCPenney, which will also remain and be part of the redeveloped site, known as Main Street Oak Ridge.
Demolition could be complete within 60 days, or about mid-October, said Environmental Abatement Inc., or EAI, the demolition and environmental contractor.
All metals are being recycled. EAI expects to recycle about 2,000 tons of scrap steel. It’s being baled at the mall site for steel mills. The metals include ones that can be shredded such as tin as well as heavy steel like plate and structural steel.
EAI will also crush about 12,000-15,000 cubic yards of concrete at the site, the company said. They expect to start removing concrete slabs starting next week.
Construction work is expected to start in October on a Dick’s Sporting Goods and T.J. Maxx in the area of the former Sears store.
Plans call for replacing the former mall with Main Street Oak Ridge, an open-air, 58-acre, $75 million mixed-use development that could include retailers, restaurants, residential units, and a hotel. Belk and JCPenney are part of Main Street Oak Ridge, and they remain open during demolition of the mall’s enclosed spaces and construction of new stores.
Besides Dick’s and T.J. Maxx, other new stores that have been announced as part of the 600,000-square-foot mixed-use redevelopment are Electronic Express, Maurice’s, PetSmart, Rack Room, Rue 21, and Ulta. New stores are expected to open in the spring of 2017.
There was a ceremonial groundbreaking for Main Street Oak Ridge on Wednesday, July 20. About 300 people attended.
RealtyLink, a developer based in Greenville, South Carolina, bought the mall property from Oak Ridge City Center LLC on June 30 for $6.3 million. The new owner is TN Oak Ridge Rutgers LLC, a company set up by RealtyLink.
The former mall site was also once home to the Downtown Shopping Center, which opened in 1955. You can see a few photos of that shopping center here.
Here is the first of two sets of photos from mall demolition work on Thursday, August 18.
See more photos here.
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