Bellevue Center buyers planning big changes

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 at 1:48am

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.

Big changes.

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.

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By: JohnGalt on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The picture and cutline don't match. Where are the "gray buildings"? Looks like the wrong graphic was used.

By: ewansing on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I think it is a great idea. We have too many malls already, which is the reason Bellevue mall is in trouble. Creating a more environmentally friendly and pedestrian friendly space is a step in the right direction for the community.

By: Nashville Voter on 12/31/69 at 6:00

You can see the Macy's sign at the very top in the background. The building is tan in the photo.

By: slacker on 12/31/69 at 6:00

It appears to me a lot of parking space will be lost.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Is it me, or is it bad timing to introduce an open-air mall during the hottest August on record?

By: JohnGalt on 12/31/69 at 6:00

"You can see the Macy's sign at the very top in the background. The building is tan in the photo."My question was rhetorical. The proposed developers showed an overhead view site plan that had existing and remaining buildings in gray and everything else in various colors. The CP ran the wrong graphic with the cutline.

By: capt4chris on 12/31/69 at 6:00

They can put in a parking garage to make up for lost surface parking spaces.

By: DaddyYo on 12/31/69 at 6:00

ewansing said, "We have too many malls already, which is the reason Bellevue mall is in trouble. Creating a more environmentally friendly and pedestrian friendly space is a step in the right direction for the community."Too many malls? environmentaly and pedestrian friendly?This will still be a mall. It will just be cahnged from an enclosed mall to a giant strip center mall. The only difference is that you will either have to walk out in the cold or heat or rain to get from one store to the other or you will do what the majority of other shoppers do at the other giant strip centers and drive from one store to the other.How is that friendly to the environment or pedestrians?I love that developers are taking advantage of the dirt people's ignorance. Suckers! Sell them what they think they are buying even if it is just the same as what they have bought before.I'm sure developers are really hurtiing by not having to provide all that enclosed space and having to maintian and air condition space they can't rent.As usual the enviro-suckers are taken to the bank and feel good about it.Totaly laughable.

By: 37205Democrat on 12/31/69 at 6:00

As long as Green Hills and Coolsprings malls are still around, Bellevue will suffer. A waterpark would attract more people than more crappy shopping.

By: Muzhik on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Small storefronts are losing to the big box stores. Look at Nashville West.