If you’ve been to the mall lately, you’ve probably noticed a fence around the entire Sears building. That’s because the owners of the mall, Hull Property Group of Augusta, Ga., plan to demolish that entire structure.
In an email to the Times News, Coles Doyle, marketing director for HPG, said demolition is underway and should wrap up before the holiday season.
“The sacrificial demolition of the facility formerly occupied by Sears will first result in an immediate “retail offering” of some of the best retail or grocer land in the entire Kingsport area,” Doyle said. “Second, coupled with the other upgrades and renovation underway or recently completed at the Fort Henry Mall, (the demolition) will enhance or accelerate the positive change to the perception that the Fort Henry Mall is succeeding.”
Sears closed its Kingsport location last year. A Halloween store temporarily opened there for the holiday. Since then, the space has remained empty.
“Tearing down (Sears) will result in a right-sized enclosed mall that can be leased to quality tenants,” Doyle said. “The addition of the new “retail offering” will attract additional retailers, grocers and restaurants. It all works together.”
While the demolition of the old Sears building is taking place outside the mall, there will soon be two new places to eat on the inside: Sweet Spoon (selling frozen yogurt, ice cream and milkshakes) and Charley’s Philly Steaks. Both will be located near Auntie Anne’s.
Charley’s was previously in the mall, opening its first-floor location in July 2003. The franchise closed on Jan. 31, 2017.
Construction on these two new tenants has begun, and they are also expected to open prior to the holiday season, Doyle said.
“With these new food tenants, we will be adding tile on the lower level in front of their stores to create a small food court that will provide a space for patrons to sit and eat,” Doyle said, adding “if there is a restaurateur out there, the mall is prepared to co-invest and help with the build-out and start-up costs for the right concept and presentation.”