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What is going on with the Bellevue mall?

One of the questions I am asked most often as the Bellevue Community Examiner is, "What is going on with the Bellevue mall?"

Bellevue Center Mall -- March 15, 2009
© Kathryn E. Darden. All rights reserved.
Sears sign at Bellevue Center mall
© Kathryn E. Darden. All rights reserved.

The Middle Tennessee mall that once boasted almost 90 stores on two expansive levels, now has one store left, Sears, as well as the Sears Auto Center which shares the same parking lot.

Anchor Stores

Sears is an anchor store which either owns its space or is locked into a 99-year-lease, depending upon which source is reporting the fact. The last store that remained at Bellevue Center besides Sears was Macy's, which planned to stay upon during the mall's originally proposed redevelopment but closed its doors five years ago in March 2009. (See photos of Macy's last days in slideshow.) Dillards got out earlier, selling its space back to the mall owners in 2007 before the mall officially closed in May 2008.

Plans for Redevelopment

Since then various plans for redevelopment have been announced or rumored including a library that was supposed to have been built where Dillards once stood, a sports training center (supposedly for the Preds), an outdoor mall with amphitheatre, a retirement home, apartments, and other projects. Instead, the mall has stood closed and locked up since 2008.

Possible Upcoming Changes

A trailer that reportedly houses a construction office can now be seen in the parking lot next to the auto center. A former Sears car center employee says the car center may soon be sold as part of divesting of the Lands’ End apparel business as well as Sears’s automotive centers. And the mall is once again rumored to be on the verge of renovation.

According to a News 2 report in Nov. 2013, officials say the now mostly vacant space will soon be transformed into an outdoor, mixed use development that will include retail, restaurants and office space, similar to Providence in Mt. Juliet.

Sears employees say their customers are talking about a March 2014 community meeting in Bellevue where renovation plans were once again announced and discussed. Could it be that six years after the Bellevue Center Mall formally closed, this time a renovation project is really in the works? Time will tell.

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