The former American Museum of Science and Energy building is being demolished, and apartments are planned on the site.
The apartment project is expected to include seven three-story buildings with 226 apartment units on 10 acres.
Now called Main Street Lofts, the $32 million apartment project has included an agreement to reduce property taxes and the transfer of what had been federal property from the U.S. Department of Energy to the city and then to TN Oak Ridge Illinois, a company affiliated with RealtyLink, the developer of Main Street Oak Ridge.
The apartments are being built as RealtyLink, a South Carolina company, plans to build more new stores across South Tulane Avenue at Main Street Oak Ridge, the redevelopment of the former Oak Ridge Mall.
TN Oak Ridge Illinois sold about 11 acres of the former AMSE property, valued at $2.386 million, to Mainstreet Capital Partners in January. That part of the property, on the north side of the former AMSE site, includes the former museum building.
Daniel Smith, president of Mainstreet Capital Partners, has said construction of the clubhouse and first buildings could be complete in about 13 months.
Multi-family residential units were proposed several years ago as part of Main Street Oak Ridge. Although they were originally envisioned between Walmart and JCPenney, that option was deemed to not be feasible.
A plan that was developed later was to build them at the former AMSE site. AMSE, a top regional tourist attraction, has relocated to a new home near JCPenney at Main Street Oak Ridge.
It is still possible that some residential units could be built along Wilson Street as part of a mixed-use development at Main Street Oak Ridge, where city officials have been advocating for a downtown area.
Before the AMSE property was transferred from DOE to the city and then to RealtyLink, the Department of Energy had said AMSE was “oversized and “operationally challenged.”
Afraid of potential competitors building on the AMSE site and undercutting its Main Street Oak Ridge project, RealtyLink had said it needed a resolution for the 17-acre AMSE site before closing on the former Oak Ridge Mall property in the summer of 2016.
See previous story here.