Opry Mills Ends Mystery Surrounding Reopening

Notebook paper signs indicate where stores were located in the gutted Opry Mills mall.

Notebook paper signs indicate where stores were located in the gutted Opry Mills mall.

The Opry Mills shopping mall plans to be back in business next year. Owner Simon Property Group put an end to the mystery surrounding the mall’s reopening Tuesday.

Opry Mills closed immediately after May’s flooding. $50 million of insurance money was enough to gut the building. But only Bass Pro Shop was able to reopen. Simon Property then sued its insurance company for more money, saying damage was in excess of $200 million.

While the mall has been closed indefinitely, Simon Property executive Gregg Goodman says reopening was always the plan.

“We’ve kept our entire Opry Mills management team on staff since the flood, with at some points in time really nothing to do. And the reason we’ve done that is that we always knew we were working toward this day.”

Goodman says the company has reached an agreement with its lenders to finance the rebuilding. Simon Property is still locked in a lawsuit for insurance money.

The anchor tenants like Regal Cinemas, Dave & Busters and Rainforest Café have committed be part of the reopening. Not nearly all of the stores have agreed to return, but some new names plan to be part of the mall, including a Coach Factory Store and Calvin Klein.

With the announcement, Nashville has resolved the largest remaining business-related closure due to last May’s flooding.

Mayor Karl Dean says having Simon Property Group – one of the largest real estate companies in the U.S. – reinvesting in the city is a vote of confidence.

“They were in a position where they could have continued to slow walk this or wait for the resolution of the lawsuit or made other decisions. I think that the fact that they believe in Nashville, that they want to invest in this city, shows an interest in the greater good.”

The greater good, as Dean sees it, is the 3,000 retail jobs and $26 million in state and local tax revenue generated by the mall prior to the flood.

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