Official: Knoxville Center Mall to close after 35 years for redevelopment

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Officials confirmed Thursday that Knoxville Center Mall is set to close its doors permanently after 35 years.

SEPT 2016: Knoxville Center Mall sold to local investors

A spokesperson for the mall confirmed the mall will be closing its doors for business on Jan. 31, 2020. The last remaining tenant is scheduled to close in mid-November.

RELATED: Belk at Knoxville Center Mall set to close in November

Tenants have been provided with written notice that their leases will be terminated no later than January 31, 2020. They are free to operate in their location up to January 31, 2020.

Ashley Panjwani, co-owner of Perfect Brows, said that rumors about the mall closing were floating around ever since she opened her business in the shopping center 7 years ago.

She said that a few anchor stores were still open, and–a few years later– new owners bought the property, which made several businesses inside the mall optimistic about the future.

However, Panjwani said that when the last remaining anchor store, Belk, announced its closure, she knew it was time to look for another location.

“We have the store running there until December. I think after that we’ll close it, and this is mainly just so that we can get our clientele from the mall to the Broadway location.”

Panjwani said that she attended the meeting early Thursday morning that was set up by mall management.

She and other stores were given a written notice about the closure and were told they could continue to pay rent and stay until Jan 31, 2020; or they could notify management that they were leaving before then.

Panjwani said that the overall quality of the mall was diminishing over the past several months.

She said that it was understandable because less people were shopping inside, but visiting the remaining stores could be a hassle.

“It was a drive and it was (far) to park and to come up (to Perfect Brows) just for that one location, because a lot of stores were closing so there was no reason for them to come in but (Perfect Brows),” Panjwani said.

Panjwani said she wished management notified store owners sooner, so they could have more time to figure out their next steps, notify customers and give employees more time to find other jobs.

She said that management confirmed the rumors after she had already opened up her new location at 4883 North Broadway Street.

Panjwani has been able to tell a few customers about the move, but her new location has yet to show up online when people search for it.

She said that the mall closing is sad. She believed the property was in the perfect location, but that an open shopping center might work better these days.

Brian Fitzgerald, spokesperson for Knoxville Properties, LLC., said the owners of the mall don’t plan to file for bankruptcy.

He said that the owners are looking into significantly investing into redevelopment of the building.

Future plans for the mall are not set in stone, according to Fitzgerald.

He said that the owners want to talk with local leaders, business owners and the community to find out what the property could best be used for.

Knoxville Center Mall, previously known as East Towne Mall, opened to the public in 1984. The space has served the community for the last 35 years.

This is a developing story and we’ll continue to update the details as they become available.

WATCH: East Towne Mall, later known as Knoxville Center Mall, opens in 1984.

WATCH: First Saturday at East Towne Mall in 1984:

Plants being installed at East Towne Mall in July 1984

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