Thursday, February 26, 2009

Church Shares Mall Plan

Posted on Thu, Feb 26, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Last February, Scott Kim had to shutter his women's clothing store after the Hickory Ridge Mall was damaged in a tornado.

Today, he was back at the mall -- in his store's old space -- to hear what the mall's new owners, the World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church, are planning.

"People keep saying to us, you're a church, what are you going to do with a mall?" says Al Cousins of the World Overcomers. "We want to talk to those retailers who are returning, those who are on the fence, and those who weren't here in the first place and tell them, here's our plan."

In addition to 40 retail and food court stores, the mall will include social services, church ventures -- such as a day care and a book store -- and family entertainment. Part of Macy's is slated to become a banquet and conference center. There are also plans for a youth recreational center and a movie theater.

"We don't believe the community has been abandoned by the residents. We believe the community has been abandoned by the national retailers," Cousins says. "Are we going to have a Macy's and Dillard's? We don't need them for a community mall."

The church hopes that by creating a mix of retail, social services, and educational facilities it can revitalize both the mall and the surrounding community. It has been in negotiations with entities as disparate as Incredible Pizza and Southwest Tennessee Community College to lease space in the mall.

To read more, visit Mary Cashiola's In The Bluff blog.

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