ANTIOCH, Tenn. (WKRN) – A plan to transform Antioch’s former Hickory Hollow Mall crossed a hurdle during Tuesday’s Metro Nashville council meeting.
“For over a decade, the Global Mall has been in dire need of positive attention, the Southeast has been in need of investment,” said Councilmember Joy Styles. “Tonight we have the opportunity to make that happen.”
About a month ago Mayor John Cooper and Styles announced the city planned to acquire the Global Mall at the Crossings, previously known as Hickory Hollow Mall. It’s through a partnership with Vanderbilt University Medical Center. They want to turn the empty space into a development similar to One Hundred Oaks.
“There are too many open-ended questions there is not enough verified information, it’s all based on a non-binding letter of intent, we could end up buying a $44 million dead mall and be left with a useless piece of property,” said councilman Russ Bradford who ended up voting against the resolution.
The former mall building consists of 650,000 square feet of rentable space. The city will spend $24 million on the rentable space and buy an office building on the east side of the mall for $20 million. The city said in addition to health services from VUMC, it will be looking for community input for other additions to the development like childcare services or small business opportunities.
“A few years ago, I watched the debate and the fights over soccer, I watched the fights and debates over amazon, this is eerily similar,” said Councilmember Jonathan Hall. “The devil is always in the details and clearly there are a lot of details that are left out. I think the conversation should continue, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen.”
The resolution approved two option agreements authorizing the purchase of properties comprising part of the Global Mall site with the vast majority of council members voting in favor of it.
“If you own that, if you were the… mega, you took everybody else out and I don’t think that’s what we want to do, we don’t want to push people out and put more and more of those who already have in,” said council member Sharon Hurt. “I just cannot in good conscience vote for this.”
Councilmember Bob Mendes shared his concerns as well.
“Councilman Cooper when he was here there is not a snowball’s chance in hell he would have voted for this,” Mendes said. “It is loaded with unknown costs and unknown everything.”
After the discussions, the resolution moved forward with 28 council members voting yes, three voting no (Bob Mendes, Russ Bradford, Ginny Welsch), and four abstaining (Sharon Hurt, Jonathan Hall, Freddie O’Connell, Sandra Sepulveda).
“You could leave it to next year and then the price will skyrocket again, those are the things we need to take into consideration,” said Councilmember Zulfat Suara. “For me finally this is something that the community wants, this is an opportunity for Metro to control the part that Metro will be using for the community.”