Opry Mills Mall To Re-Open By Spring Of 2012 - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Opry Mills Mall To Re-Open By Spring Of 2012

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by Amanda Hara

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - After 11 months of sitting empty, owners announced Tuesday that the flood ravaged Opry Mills Mall is slated to re-open in 2012.

There's no question the flood carried a swift blow to Nashville's economy and Opry Mills Mall.

"We wouldn't have chosen any of this to happen and so we've dealt with the hand that nature dealt and it hasn't been an easy process to go through," said Gregg Goodman, President of The Mills, a faction of Simon Property Group and owner of Opry Mills Mall.

But 11 months after the flood waters fell, Tuesday's news made it seem as though business at Opry Mills Mall was set to rise.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, leaders at Simon Property Group announced that funding was finally secured proceed with rebuilding.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Governor Bill Haslam, Economic Commissioner William Hagerty and Goodman were in attendance.

"Today is a big day especially in terms of looking at flood recovery. This is 3,000 jobs, expansion of our tax base and a lot of construction going on in our city so it's a good thing," said Mayor Karl Dean.

Haslam spoke at the announcement, saying the reopening will mean about $26 million more dollars in sales tax.

The announcement was a long time coming. Not a lick of rebuilding happened since May, partly because Simon Property Group couldn't get the insurance agency to cover damages.

"We've obviously been very frustrated with the process and we did pay our insurance premiums and we certainly expect that when you pay your premiums you're going to receive your proceeds when you have a casualty like this," Goodman said.

Although that legal battle was far from over, Simon Property Group secured lending to rebuild.

"Given the scope of flood damage to Opry Mills and given the current economic environment the Simon Company could have walked away, sold the property or something else. But they see the value of Nashville, we are a special place," Mayor Dean said.

Company leaders said the mall will likely be better than it was before.  New tenants planned to move in include Coach, Chico's, Calvin Klein, Talbots, The Lego Store, Tommy Bahama, White House Black Market, and Under Armour Factory House.

JCrew, Brooks Brothers and Banana Republic will be among those stores returning.

The grand reopening is set for spring of 2012.

Opry Mills flooded last May. The Mills Company has been in a dispute with 17 different insurance companies over their obligations.

The flooding in May caused more than $200 million in damage to the popular mall, but the insurance companies have only provided $50 million for the necessary renovations.

The only store that has reopened is Bass Pro Shops.

Email: ahara@newschannel5.com

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