CBL eyes Northgate Mall site being vacated by longtime auto tire and repair shop

CBL eyes Northgate Mall site being vacated by longtime auto tire and repair shop

The longtime Firestone auto tire and repair shop next to Northgate Mall is shifting sites as it moves to another location nearby on Highway 153, according to the business.

Great Clips, which also operates in the building located in an outparcel of the Highway 153 and Hixson Pike mall, will move as well.

Mall owner CBL & Associates Properties Inc. said the building is controlled and leased by the same real estate entity that owns the closed JCPenney store in the mall.

"Should the opportunity arise to recapture these parcels, we would welcome an opportunity to look at redeveloping them," said Stacey Keating, a spokeswoman for Chattanooga-based CBL.

Trish Hall of the Firestone Auto Care business said plans are to move into the new location this summer. She declined to say where on Highway 153 the new facility will go.

"We've got a fence up," she said. "They've started getting everything together."

Lacy James, Great Clips assistant manager, said her shop doesn't have another location picked yet, but she's hopeful it won't be far from the mall.

"We have a few locations we're looking at," she said.

It's believed that Firestone has operated at the building for more than 30 years. Great Clips has been in at the site for 20 years, James said.

Before Firestone, JCPenney operated an auto center at the site, opening about the time that the mall debuted in 1972.

JCPenney shut its Northgate Mall department store in 2014, ending a more than 40-year presence in the Hixson market amid a number of closings nationwide.

The 170,000-square-foot JCPenney store site still remains dark. While another entity owns the JCPenney property, CBL has said it would like to redevelop the store footprint, though the financials need to work to make it feasible.

The mall has undergone an array of work and redevelopment since it was purchased by CBL for $11.5 million in cash in 2011.

As part of a multimillion-dollar makeover, CBL rebuilt an adjacent shopping center next to the Firestone site and added a Ross Dress for Less and Michael's Arts & Crafts. The center, which already held T.J. Maxx, formerly included a movie theater.

The mall, with 823,000 square feet of enclosed space, was built in 1972 by Arlen Shopping Center Group under the direction of Charles B. Lebovitz. He is currently CBL's chairman and for many years was chief executive of the company that's now one of the nation's biggest shopping center ventures.

Chicago-based General Growth Properties acquired Northgate Mall in 2000, but in 2009 it filed for bankruptcy in one of the biggest commercial real estate collapses in U.S. history. GGP later emerged from bankruptcy and put Northgate Mall up for sale in an online auction.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

Original Article www.timesfreepress.com

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