Changes may be in store for Bellevue Center, if two governmental hurdles are cleared and prospective California-based buyer Foursquare Properties Inc. closes its deal with mall ownership.
Foursquare presented proposed plans for the mall at a public meeting Tuesday that involve razing the entire structure, except for the anchor space where Macy’s and Sears currently operate.
The mall and 70-acre site is owned by Oaktree Capital, also based in California, and has been for sale with an asking price of about $21 million. The $100 million-plus redevelopment project would turn the mall into an open-air lifestyle center.
Foursquare and Oaktree are prepared to close the deal as soon as two governmental hurdles are cleared, according to Nashville attorney James Weaver with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, who represents both parties in the deal. The area’s Planed Unit Development (PUD) must be revised and approved by the Metro Planning Commission. And clearance for larger, more visible signage must be approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals. Neither clearance would require approval from Metro Council.
The deal does not hinge on approval from Metro’s Industrial Development Board (IDB), which is the authority that could facilitate tax increment financing (TIF) for a portion of the project. TIF funds would make possible, Weaver said Tuesday, “the upgrades, the extras,” that community members want, including a high-quality community center near the center of the site, as well as more sidewalks and street lights.
“It’s not a massive thing. That’s why we’re willing to go ahead and let it close [before securing TIF],” Weaver said.
Eric Crafton, Metro Council representative for District 22, where the mall is located, said the revised PUD will be reviewed at the Oct. 25 Planning Commission meeting. And the BZA will review signage at a Sept. 6 meeting. Both meetings will be public.
Construction could begin as early as January 2008, said Keith Miles of McNeely Piggot & Fox, a spokesman for Foursquare. The center could be open for business as early as Spring of 2009.
Leases with existing mall tenants will be ended in the event of a sale, said Randy Bennett of Foursquare.
Anchors Macy’s and Sears have told Foursquare they would remain open throughout construction, Bennettt said, though the companies cannot create a formal agreement until Foursquare becomes the property’s owner.
No announcements regarding specific tenants were made at the meeting, though Miles said preliminary discussions are under way. Foursquare handles its own retail leasing.