Site work was under way last week for a Tire Discounters on property south of the American Museum of Science and Energy, the first development on any part of the museum site.
There could be other developments later on the southern 7.4 acres of the 19-acre museum site, possibly including a grocery or retail store of about 55,000 square feet and retail or restaurant space. (See here and here.)
The Oak Ridge City Council unanimously approved a rezoning for the 7.4 acres, which will include the Tire Discounters store, in November.
The Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission unanimously approved a final master plan for a planned unit development on the property during a special meeting in March. The final master plan was subject to certain conditions. Among them were one requirement to submit a new or revised traffic impact study when the site plan for the grocery store or large “box” store is submitted and one to install sidewalks on the northern boundary of the property.
The 7.4 acres, which are along South Illinois Avenue between South Tulane Avenue and Badger Avenue, were once part of the AMSE property and owned by the U.S. Department of Energy. But they have since been transferred to the City of Oak Ridge and then to TN Oak Ridge Illinois LLC as part of an agreement signed late in December 2016.
TN Oak Ridge Illinois LLC requested the final master plan that was approved in March. TN Oak Ridge Illinois LLC is a company affiliated with RealtyLink, which is developing Main Street Oak Ridge at the former Oak Ridge Mall.
Tire Discounters, which has headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, will lease its space from TN Oak Ridge Illinois LLC. Tire Discounters, which has about 110 stores, is family-owned and has stores in Nashville and Chattanooga and would like to have about 10-15 in the area. The Oak Ridge store would be one of the first in the area.
During the Planning Commission meeting in March, a RealtyLink representative said the north side of the AMSE property, which is still owned by the City of Oak Ridge, could eventually include a multi-family development, and there could be a small park area between the grocery store and north side of the site.
The current AMSE is closing July 29 and moving to a new location near JCPenney at Main Street Oak Ridge. The new location could open in the early fall, and the current museum building could be demolished.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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