NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The flood-damaged Opry Mills Mall will reopen in the spring of 2012, the mall's president announced Tuesday morning.
In a news conference at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, President Gregg Goodwin said retailers such as J. Crew Factory, Ann Taylor Factory Store, Victoria's Secret, Tommy Hilfiger Company Store, Off Broadway Shoes, Off Fifth Saks Fifth Avenue, Banana Republic Factory Store and Forever 21 will be returning to the mall, and several new retailers will be added.
Coach Factory Store, Calvin Klein, Tommy Bahama Outlet, Talbots, Chico's, White House Black Market, Under Armour Factory House and the LEGO Store have all committed to the complex, he said.
"The response from the retail community has been incredibly positive and enthusiastic," Goodman added. "It's clear that they prospered at Opry Mills and are anxious to return."
Aquarium Restaurant, Dave and Busters, and Rainforest Café will also reopen, in addition to the Regal Theaters IMAX, which would likely open earlier than the mall itself after receiving a $4.1 million building permit from the city last week.
The Opry Mills Mall, located off Briley Parkway in Donelson, has been closed since the Cumberland River overflowed its banks last May.
Repairs to the mall have been at a standstill since last fall, when the mall's owners, Simon Property Group, filed a lawsuit against its insurance company, claiming it owed another $150 million in flood insurance payments.
Around $50 million had been spent on repairs at the time.
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean called the decision to reopen Opry Mills a "testament to Nashville's strong economy and our resilience in recovering from the 2010 May flood."
He said, "Opry Mills provides over 3,000 retail jobs in our community and has a significant impact on our tax base and the other businesses in the Music Valley area. Its return in 2012 will be another great moment in our city's recovery, and we very much look forward to that day."
Bass Pro Shops is the only retail outlet to reopen on the property since the flood.
Off Broadway Shoes applied for a $400,000 rebuilding permit in December, but the company said it had no plans to reopen before the mall.
Several shoppers of Opry Mills told Nashville's News 2 they were thrilled when they learned the mall was preparing to reopen.
"I think it's great to see that they've come together and built Opry Mills back. Just to show that the flood didn't bother Nashville and the area. Everyone has come together," a customer said.
One Nashvillian said they were there at the mall the night the historic flood occurred last May.
"We live in the area and were there every weekend shopping and [we] really, really miss it. We were there actually the night it flooded," they recalled.
Goodman said work to get Opry Mills reopened next year would start immediately.