Mayor pushes leases for Hickory Hollow Mall space

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 9:35pm

Six weeks ago, Mayor Karl Dean announced plans to retrofit Antioch’s Hickory Hollow Mall to house several Metro facilities, as well as a new expo center to replace the one at the Metro-owned state fairgrounds.

Plans were unveiled in September even though Dean and his administration hadn’t secured a lease agreement with mall owner CBL Properties.

The administration has now secured two separate lease-purchase agreements and one lease agreement, which are combined in an ordinance that was filed Friday, Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling wrote in a memorandum to Metro council members Tuesday.

The council is now set to weigh in on Dean’s plans to relocate events held at the fairgrounds shortly after it considers a competing bill filed by Metro Councilman Duane Dominy that would essentially preserve the fairgrounds property off Nolensville Pike for fair and expo purposes.

Riebeling describes the three agreements in his memo. The first involves lease-purchasing the 130,000-square-foot former JC Penney building at the north end of the mall. Using $18 million carved out of Dean’s capital spending plan, the facility would be converted into a regional community center, library, public health center, Metro Archives and multi-acre public park.

A second lease-purchase –– the one that could turn controversial for some council members –– would allow Metro to move events held at the fairgrounds to the 200,000-square-foot former Dillard’s site at the south end of the mall. As part of the lease, CBL Properties would be required to pump $2.5 million into the building to renovate the building to meet expo center needs.

A third lease provides space inside the mall to be used by the Metro Health Department.

“As Mayor Karl Dean stated in September when first announcing the projects, all of these new facilities combined will have a tremendously positive impact on the struggling Hickory Hollow Mall,” Riebeling wrote.

Riebeling goes on to try to clarify the administration’s fairgrounds position, explaining why it hopes to move the expo center facilities from Nolensville Pike to Antioch.

Since 2005, Riebeling said, the fairgrounds has experienced a cumulative revenue loss of $3.6 million. As a result of the erosion of fairgrounds reserves, he said, operating the fairgrounds in the future would require a “direct subsidy from the Metro taxpayers.”

Riebeling cites the Tennessee State Fair Association, a coalition of tourism and agriculture leaders that is searching for a new home inside Davidson County to hold the annual Tennessee State Fair, which played host to its final event at Nolensville Pike in September.

“All of the major events held at the state fairgrounds can have a new and better home and we still have the fairgrounds property to provide a much-needed park and green space to the area while opening the way for tremendous economic development that could revitalize another area of our city,” said Riebeling, alluding to plans to convert 40 acres of the Metro-owned fairgrounds property into a park. “The Council approved the first $2 million for the fairgrounds park in the capital spending plan.”

Riebeling then discusses the “redevelopment potential” of the fairgrounds property, suggesting it could be a prime site for corporate relocation. Sources have previously told The City Paper that multiple corporations have approached Metro about the site.

“Corporations frequently scout the Nashville area for places to locate new and expanding facilities,” Riebeling said. “Unlike many of our surrounding counties, large tracts of land near the interstate are hard to come by.

“The fairgrounds site is the perfect location for a mixed-use development with office space and retail,” he added. “The infrastructure to support such a development is already in place, and it would not eliminate any green space.”

38 Comments on this post:

By: Kosh III on 10/27/10 at 6:13

As suspected all along. The fairgrounds will go to some corporation, probably with a hefty welfare check attached.
All the meetings and "community input" were just a dog and pony show to give Dean cover to do what was intended all along.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/27/10 at 6:21

Kosh, even that would be a positive move for that area of town. And those meetings have been going on since before Dean was in office.

By: tdterry1999 on 10/27/10 at 7:18

If I lived in Nashville,I would be screaming as loud as I could to get rid of Dean.He wants to turn Nashville into The N.Y. of the south.And after he cdoes you will not be able to afford to live there.

By: 117_acres on 10/27/10 at 7:28

Thank you Mayor Dean. This should be a win win for both the Antioch and Fairgrounds areas of Nashville.

By: dvana on 10/27/10 at 7:28

I bet there will be some sort of deal with HCA on the Fairground property. Since the new Charlotte / 28th. Ave flyover has been approved. Maybe a land swap deal.

By: Trumpetman on 10/27/10 at 7:32

What is wrong with changing Nashville, expecially helping out areas of town that need the help? If Nashville changed into the N.Y. of the south I think that would be a good thing, not only for Nashville but also the rest of the state and the south.. why not???

By: concernedtaxpayer on 10/27/10 at 7:46

The fairgrounds property is completely paid for and not costing taxpayers one penny. Since Purcel was mayor, the fairgrounds funds have been raided to put into the general fund. The Hickory Hollow location will not work especially for the flea market. It is time for a new mayor here in Nashville that actually focuses on taxpayers in each district instead of focusing on downtown, what he wants, and what others want that is padding his pockets. I guess this is what Nashville gets when they allow an attorney to be a mayor. Attorneys are crooks to begin with but then we allow them to run the government.

By: savemyfairgrounds on 10/27/10 at 7:49

There is more to this than Mayor Dean is telling. There is no doubt that he has struck a deal with HCA and now he wants to kick the poor people to the curb once again. It is well known that Reibeling tried to get rid of the fairgrounds when he was fairboard chair back in the 1990's

These guys detest poor people and they don't want anything to do with them.

This is gentrification at it finest.

By: Tull on 10/27/10 at 7:52

"Using $18 million carved out of Dean’s capital spending plan"
"Since 2005, Riebeling said, the fairgrounds has experienced a cumulative revenue loss of $3.6 million. As a result of the erosion of fairgrounds reserves, he said, operating the fairgrounds in the future would require a “direct subsidy from the Metro taxpayers.”
Let’s see they complain about 3.6 mil losses over 5 years but they don't have a problem spending 18 mil for a project that is not needed.
That's politics at its best!

By: NewYorker1 on 10/27/10 at 7:58

It's called growth people. GROWTH!

By: Trumpetman on 10/27/10 at 8:32

Some of these people just don't want growth... they just need to move to the country.

By: Loretta Bridge on 10/27/10 at 8:56

Why not use Bellevue Mall parking lot and mall. At least the crime rate in Bellevue is

By: trtay2004 on 10/27/10 at 9:21

I think this is helping Hickory Hollow, which needs it. It also helps the current area of the Fairgrounds, which also needs it. I know a lot of people like to complain, but this is just an all-around great move for our city to make it a better place. Everyone really needs to quit the politics and look at the benefits this will provide.

By: Tull on 10/27/10 at 9:34

"I think this is helping Hickory Hollow, which needs it."
It does need it but why do I have to pay for it? Hickory Hollow is a private enterprise that failed because the neighborhood went to crap. I know I live nearby, it only takes one time of shopping and hearing gun shots in the parking lot to not go there anymore. We spend 18 mil taxpayer dollars to get what we already have at the fairgrounds.I don't hear people that use the fairgrounds wanting to move to HH they like the fairgrounds.

By: 117_acres on 10/27/10 at 9:59

Tull: You don't need a 117 acres of land two miles from downtown to have a flea market and expo center. The fairgrounds property is under utilized and the area around is suppressed due to the dilapidated condition of the fairgrounds and the noise from the racetrack. The City is giving its best effort to help revitalize the Hickory Hollow Mall area in Antioch so that private entities will come back to that area and they are doing what needs to be done to spur private investment in the fairgrounds area which will create and retain hundreds of jobs and generate millions of dollars in tax base revenue.

By: airvols on 10/27/10 at 9:59

What if there was a major NEW company looking to locate in Nashville that would bring 2000 new jobs to the area. Not just any jobs, but high tech, high paying jobs? Woulld you listen? What if they have identified the the fairgrounds property as the primary site, and Nashville has become the frontrunner over Austin, Atlanta and Denver as the primary site. Would you listen? What if their investment could make a difference in the life of your city for years come. Would you listen? Well Listen Nashville,because the winds of change pass swiftly.

By: Trumpetman on 10/27/10 at 10:23

To Loretta: The crime rate in Antioch/Hickory Hollow area is no higher than anywhere else in Nashville, Bellvue's crime rate may be lower only due to a much lower population than Antioch. It would only make sense to move the Fairground to a highly populated area vs. a lower populated area, such as Bellvue.
To Tull: If Im not mistaken gun shots were fired at Opry Mills mall as well as Rivergagte Mall, much more recent than any at Hickory Hollow Mall. Robberies have occured at Green Hills Mall, even the case where the old man was locked in his trunk in the parking garage at Green Hills, and I just recetnly I heard of a crime at the Thorobread Theater in Cool Springs. So what I am saying is no area, such as a mall, is completly safe. But as far as Hickory Hollow vs. the other areas, no more happened at Hickory Hollow than any other mall area in Naahville, however, any crime commited in the Hickory Hollow areas is always exagerated and blasted in the media over and over again causing people to get a false sence of the area not being safe. Then the rumors start to spread about how "unsafe" it is, from people who dont' even come to Hickory Hollow, but always have some sort of scary, made up story to spread and scare people even more about the area. The crimes at the other malls, that do occur, are never over exagerrated nor blasted on air by the media daily. Many times crimes at the other malls go unreported to protect the areas of the mall, while Hickory Hollow is in a more diverse area to often does not get that protection, as if it were in a lily white area of town.
I feel that it is a good thing that the Mayor is taking interest in the area, the community is already on top of things by having regular town hall meetings about improving the area and making it more marketable again and it is good to have the support of city officials.
As I've stated before, the only reason people are so opposed to the Mayors plans on rebuilding the Hickory Hollow area is because it is not in a "Lily White" area of town.

By: racer84 on 10/27/10 at 10:30

Airvols - What if I won the lottery today ?

Your message is as pie in the sky as anything 117 posts.

How many major companies has Dean brought to town so far ?

That's Kisber's job, and he isn't showing the Fairgrounds to anyone from out of town.

The things no one wants to discuss in all the "revitalization" talks of the area if the racetrack is gone are what proves this makes no sense for anything but greed

You still have a coke plant, Still have rail yards, Vietti chili plant, tow in lots, housing projects, dozens of duplexes with a dozen illegals per house.....

Now lets drive down Nolensville road towards Hickory Hollow and see where all these yuppies will dine

No infastructure to sustain a corporate site, nor housing.

What grocery store ?

Now if you want some food from an illegal out of a modified horse trailer, or wish to pawn something, get a check cashing loan, buy some cheap recap tires, or tote the note on a wrecked or flooded out car from Mohommed ( another illegal ) then Nolensville road has got ya covered !

Why are none of these issues being addressed by the neighbors or the city ?

None of those businesses that have killed the Nolensville road area exist because there is a race track there. Ya'll make it sound like it's some massive oasis over there that is ruined because of the fairgrounds. It's an industrial area, and always will be.

By: xhexx on 10/27/10 at 10:34

Yeah, just like all the jobs and improvements we were going to get when Bredesen gave the farm away to Dell? HAHAHAHAHA

Yeah, that really lived up to expectations, didn't it?

And trumpetman, why don't you move your ass to NYC if you love it so much, instead of trying to emulate it here?

By: Trumpetman on 10/27/10 at 10:43

To xhexx: I have no desire to move to New York, nor does Nashville have to be just like New York, but however, it is a growing city that needs stuff to support its growth so if you have a problem with that move you ass on some where else...

By: airvols on 10/27/10 at 10:53

Racer84, racetrack are you kidding me. Get a clue not one person cares about racing at that site except people who have a dollars on the line. Take the 3rd class cars to a dirt track and watch NASCAR for racing. All you have at that site is rush hour accidents and under funded grease jockeys trying live a dream long gone. I believe we have something called the Nashville Super Speedway just down the road.

By: 117_acres on 10/27/10 at 11:10

racer84 you might as well face the reality that you are going to have to race somewhere else. The area around the fairgrounds is changing and the voices are only going to get louder and louder to develop the fairgrounds. The description of the area you give above is exactly why the area is changing. It is cheaper for private entities to invest in the fairgrounds neighborhood, Chestnut Hill, Berry Hill, and the Nolensville Road area (North of 440) than it is to go to an area like Green Hills. You should drive over to Germantown or 12 South and take a look around because the fairgrounds area is going to look a lot like those areas in the next 5 to 10 years once the fairgrounds is developed.

By: racer84 on 10/27/10 at 11:45

Airvols - How's UT looking this year ?

You have no idea who races there, and what kind of cars they are.

My team has over a million dollars in shop and equipment to race at the fairgrounds, Tell me again how that's 3rd rate ?

My teammate read gas meters for Nashville Gas 4 years ago, He learned to race at the Fairgrounds and because of the Fairgrounds he went on to be a NASCAR Rookie of the Year in 2007, was named one of the top 10 hottest prospects in all of NASCAR and earned a very hefty 6 figure income because of the talent he gained from the Fairgrounds. He now owns a successful business (while still racing in the Nationwide series ) and the racers at the Fairgrounds are his customers.

How do you make your living ?

Name just one other property in all of Tennessee in which that can be duplicated by a normal citizen.

Can you play at LP Field ?
Play baseball at Greer ?
Hockey at the Arena ?

Nope, but you can get a race car and race at the Fairgrounds if you wanted to.

There's more value there than people realize. Officials, Representatives from MRO, Track GM's, PR personnel and many other jobs and careers are made from experience gained from the Nashville Fairgrounds.

By: 117_acres on 10/27/10 at 12:16

racer84 so this is about feeding your own self absorb and selfish ego.

racer84 you said Name just one other property in all of Tennessee in which that can be duplicated by a normal citizen.

1. Highland Rim, Riverbend, and about 30 other paved and dirt tracks across the state.

By: racer84 on 10/27/10 at 12:37

117, You'll think so after you get smacked in the mouth.

By: 117_acres on 10/27/10 at 1:02

race84 grow up!

By: racer84 on 10/27/10 at 1:12

117, Grow some.

By: racer84 on 10/27/10 at 1:29

117/ Fred
FYI, - You were wrong with your response as always

No driver or (even employee of those tracks) in History has ever gone to the big leagues of NASCAR straight from any of those tracks you mentioned. They ALL went to the Fairgrounds after racing at smaller venues, and then transitioned to NASCAR.

And there isn't anywhere near close to 30 tracks in the state of Tn.

Comparing Highland Rim or dirt racing to the Fairgrounds is like comparing NFL Football to the game I'm sure you hated as a kid known as Smear the fred.

You think you know what you're talking about, and are proven every single time that you are wrong.

By: 117_acres on 10/27/10 at 2:08

No one is debating the history of the Fairgrounds Speedway or whether the facility is one of the best short tracks. The issue is whether it is in Nashville's best interest to continue what is now a hobby racing facility at this location or to do what all the experts have recommended which is a mix use development. Racing is great but the needs of the neighborhood and Nashville have changed. Take care.

By: TITAN1 on 10/27/10 at 2:51

117__ you accuse racer84 of feeding his own ego, but as long as you have been whining about the race track it seems obvious to me that YOU have something privately invested in this property. You have not respected anyone's opinion that differs from yours on this subject. In fact you stooped to childish stereotyping.

By: racer84 on 10/27/10 at 3:03

Titan - Fred Agee AKA 117, / Nashvilleprogressive and whatever other names he posts under bought a 900 sq foot house at 557 Moore Ave in 2006 for 109k and now he thinks he's deputy mayor of South Nashville....Nice Landscaping though

He's telling Vietti Chilli they have to move next

By: FLeFew on 10/27/10 at 3:07

Which Dean CRONY owns Hickory Hollow Mall????

By: NewYorker1 on 10/27/10 at 3:36

I was hoping they would take this opportunity and put up-scale shopping in this mall like Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Saks 5th Ave, Bergdorf Goodman's, Armani, Hugo Boss, D&G, Fendi, Versace, Barney's, Clive Christian, The Shop, Ebanista, The Horchow Collection, and Valentino. That's just a few of my favorite shopping venues.

By: JeffF on 10/27/10 at 3:43

I am having a hard time believing Nashville's downtown-centric leadership would ever plan for corporate expansion place outside of the downtown. They just fought too hard against the development of the Bend to appear to be anything but two-faced opportunists who will somehow make money on this deal.

Watch to see if the same people who decried the development of Bell's Bend as harmful to downtown are suddenly open to the development of the fair site. That will be an indication of who stands to make a fortune on all this.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/27/10 at 7:33

racer, posting someone's address is WAY out of line. shame on you.

By: MAmom on 10/27/10 at 9:42

The Mayor has long wanted the Fairgrounds property. His people prepare the financials. Is it a surprise his office is now claiming growing losses as an excuse to "redevelop" the Fairgrounds property?

Online Financial information is sketchy ... but on the surface ... the financials look funny. Metro financials are here:

Am still looking at them, but brief review of the last online financials for the year ended 6/30/2009 shows the biggest expense in the Board-of-Fair-Commissioners Operating Expenses fund is for "PERSONAL SERVICES" ($1,393,645) (that is not a typo the financials say PERSONAL expenses - not Personnel expenses). Second biggest expense is for "CONTRACTUAL SERVICES" ($2,047,807) . The fairgrounds haven't been managed especially well. Where is this money going? The next biggest expense is DEPRECIATION - which is not a cash expense ($418,495).

In prior years (FY2007) disproportionately large allocations were expensed to the fairgrounds for these service departments: MAYOR ($40,833) , LEGISLATIVE ($57,761) , and FLEET MANAGEMENT ($131,710), Again, the Fairgrounds have been managed badly for years.... why are these large expenses being allocated to the Fairgrounds. I wasn't able to find more current year detail allocations.

Another interesting thing about the Financials - in the 6/30/2006 Balance Sheet there are Investments of $1,892,399 on the books - by 6/30/2007 the Investments asset is gone.

It appears that originally the only plan the mayor had was to close and "redevelop" the fairgrounds. Only after resistance from the public have other parts pieces of his plan dribbled out as he tries to appease questioners. Now his plans are to: (1) build a park in a flood plain, (2) move fairgrounds activities to a (dangerous unsuitable) location, (3) "look" for a home for the State Fair, and (4) LOCK the city into a contract with the owners of Hickory Hollow Mall - WHICH WILL STILL BE A DEBT FOR THE CITY LONG AFTER THE FLEA MARKET & OTHER EVENTS FAIL and he is out of office.

All Development is not good. This plan of the mayor's is not good.

What you can do to fight the mayor's plan:
1. Call or email your Council representative. Let them know you do not approve of the mayor's to sell the property and get the City in more debt.
2. Attend the NOVEMBER 9 meeting to hear how mayors plan to spend $1,000,000 annually to lease space at Hickory Hollow is more financially sound - than hosting events at a paid-for Fairgrounds property. I heard this one on tv.
3. Attend the next public Metro Council meeting on NOVEMBER 16 to support opponents of the mayor's plan.


By: localboy on 10/28/10 at 8:06

Great - now we're in the mall business.While lease-purchase may make financial sense in evaluating the deal, what happens if the rest of the mall goes south? Metro has now become the anchor tenet, yet has nowhere to run. It may still serve a purpose though; as Metro has to locate services in the mall area to justify the additional property, it will serve to shift some of it's center of gravity from downtown.

By: budlight on 10/30/10 at 5:45

Blanketnazi2 on 10/27/10 at 7:21
Kosh, even that would be a positive move for that area of town. And those meetings have been going on since before Dean was in office.

"that area of town" blanket witch. And "what area" would that be? What is your area? HELL?

No meetings about the mall being a flea market have been going on since before DEAN was in office. Do you attend them? Why would you? You live elsewhere.