We’ve seen multiple store closings in malls in our area. CNN money reported in 2017, more than 20% of malls would close their doors by 2022. Experts credit the primary reason to an increase in online shopping. While some shopping malls succumb to the changing economy, some are getting creative.
The Knoxville City Council is considering a change that paves the way for both West Town Mall and the Knoxville Center Mall to expand their options.
On June 19th, they’ll take a second and final vote on amending their current zoning rules for the malls. The zone is labeled SC-3. Part of the official ordinance reads: “With the challenges confronting traditional retail businesses, Simon Property Group, owners of West Town Mall, is investigating options for maintaining the viability of the mall.”
According to the ordinance, the changes would open the following options: automobile sales, hotel/motel, multi-family residential uses, recreational and sporting facilities, including health clubs and fitness centers, office uses including medical offices and facilities and outdoor entertainment uses.
A spokesperson for Simon Property Group sent us this statement: “As malls are continually evolving, West Town Mall is always looking for ways to provide our shoppers with a dynamic mix of retail, dining and entertainment options that best fit their preferences. At this time, we are unable to share further details on development plans or lease negotiations.”
Arthur Seymour, Jr., attorney for SPG, told council members the company was specifically looking at the property as a possible dealership.
Seymour also indicated they were looking at the Sears Auto Care Center as a possible location. We have not confirmed if the Sears anchor store or auto store are in jeopardy of closing. We reported last week, Sears would be leaving the Knoxville Center Mall.