Note: This story was updated at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 23.
The demolition work at the former Oak Ridge Mall is pictured above in the aerial view provided Monday by Environmental Abatement Inc., or EAI, of Hendersonville, Tennessee.
On Thursday, EAI, the demolition and environmental contractor, said demolition work at the former Oak Ridge Mall was about 50 percent complete. The work appears to have proceeded quickly even since then, based on this aerial view. Most notably, piles of scrap metal that were in the area of the former Sears store, in the center foreground in the picture above, appear to have been hauled away.
Last week, EAI said it expected to start removing concrete slabs beginning this week. On Tuesday, August 23, it appeared that workers had, in fact, started tearing up the concrete slab near the former pick-up and drop-off door at the former Sears store, near Belk.
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 and housewares store. 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.
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.
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.
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