Eight new stores at Main Street Oak Ridge could be ready by late spring or summer, a development executive said Tuesday.
Rex Rice, project manager for RealtyLink, the development company, said the Dick’s Sporting Goods and T.J. Maxx stores should be ready for those retailers by late spring or summer, and six other stores—Electronic Express, Maurice’s, PetSmart, Rack Room Shoes, Rue 21, and Ulta—should be ready by summer.
Rice gave a brief project update during a Tuesday morning Rise and Shine event sponsored by the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce at TNBank.
As expected, the demolition of the former Oak Ridge Mall was complete in about three months. Only Belk and JCPenney remain, and both are open.
“We tore down everything between them,” Rice said. That included the former Goody’s Family Clothing and Sears department stores.
Demolition cost about $1 million, Rice said.
Construction work has started on new infrastructure such as electrical lines, water lines, and parking lots. Drivers have probably noticed a significant amount of infrastructure work along Wilson Street, which has been temporarily closed.
A new front entrance is being built at Belk. It will face into the interior of the 58-acre Main Street Oak Ridge. Rice said developers hope to complete the new Belk entrance and an associated parking lot by Thanksgiving.
Developers are working on the site of a four-story, 81-room TownePlaces Suites hotel on 2.6 acres near the intersection of Wilson Street and Rutgers Avenue, close to JCPenney. During excavation work there, crews found an old curb and gutter buried underground, Rice said.
There have also been lots of unknown utilities that have been found, and workers have had to tap lines to determine whether they were gas or water lines.
The hotel pad—the area where the floor will lay—should be ready in the next few weeks, Rice said.
Developers hope to re-open Wilson Street in the next 30 days, and they will then work on East Main Street and West Main Street. That work should be done by the end of the year, Rice said.
There is already structural steel at the site for buildings at Main Street Oak Ridge, and work on footings could start in mid-November, Rice said.
“The project’s moving along pretty good,” he said.
It’s all part of the first $40 million phase of Main Street Oak Ridge.
The second phase could cost between $20 million and $30 million, Rice said. It could include restaurants and residential units. Restaurants would be in the interior of the site, between Belk and JCPenney.
“We’re still in the planning stages on that,” Rice said.
Dick’s Sporting Goods and T.J. Maxx will be built roughly in the area of the former Sears store. Maurice’s, Rack Room Shoes, Rue 21, and Ulta will be built next to Belk, extending south toward the post office through an area that is now a parking lot.
Electronic Express and PetSmart will be built on the other side of Main Street Oak Ridge, close to Rutgers Avenue and between JCPenney and Walmart.
One other change that residents might have noticed: the detention pond that is now at the corner of South Illinois Avenue and South Tulane Avenue is being moved inside the Main Street Oak Ridge site—near Golden Oak Buffet and Taco Bell—and that area has already been excavated. That will free up a piece of prime commercial property at the intersection of South Illinois and South Tulane avenues. But no plans for that parcel have been announced yet.
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