LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) — City leaders describe it as a 40-acre dead zone that’s essentially collecting dust.

The Lebanon Outlet Mall off I-40 isn’t getting any younger, slowly declining as it bounces between owners.

“It has slowly declined over the years — lots of empty space, lots of empty parking lot,” said Camille Burdine with the Lebanon City Council. “After Opry Mills rebuilt, we have lost tenant after tenant.”

A new owner, though, has new ideas, hoping to bring new retail and livability to an underutilized area.

Kevin Estes with Land Solutions recently purchased the Lebanon Outlet Mall, submitting rezoning plans to the Lebanon Planning Commission.

The rezone request includes a high-end commercial mixed-use development with sections for shopping, dining, office and residential use.

The Lebanon Outlet Mall property is in the Hartmann Overlay Corridor and will have to meet new higher design standards. At this time, the developer has not yet submitted a site plan. 

“The retail isn’t going they hope to keep some of the retailers that are there. There are only a few left, but it’s not going to look like it was. It’s not going to look like the outlet mall. They’re going to keep some of the retailers. They hope it’s going to get a new face on some of it,” Burdine said.

The Lebanon Outlet Mall has been bought and sold twice in the last three years. The property has six remaining retailers, and the current developer has not renewed their lease.   

“I really believe this is going to attract things that people in Lebanon want as far as restaurants and shopping and its going to be a big plus for the city,” said Lebanon Mayor Rick Bell. “What I hope to see is, first of all, it will regenerate the sales tax revenue for that location it covers a lot of acreage, and right now, it’s sort of a dead zone.”

In order for the zoning change to be approved, the Lebanon Planning Commission must recommend the rezoning and the Lebanon City Council must pass the rezoning request twice and hold a public hearing.

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The City of Lebanon Planning Commission will meet Tuesday, February 22 at 5 p.m.