Old Hickory Mall expected to stay open after owner files bankruptcy

JACKSON, Tenn. — Across America, malls are some of the hardest hit businesses in the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s true in Jackson as well.

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CBL Properties, the company that owns Old Hickory Mall, filed for bankruptcy on Monday, but it didn’t come as a shock to local officials.

“We’ve been talking with the CBL group for about a year, even prior to when bankruptcy was mentioned, just talking about what comes next,” said Kyle Spurgeon, president and CEO of the Jackson Chamber said.

Spurgeon says the talks have mainly been about the future of the mall and potential restructuring in the hopes that the mall will stay.

He points to “anchor stores,” those big box retailers, as the key.

“Those things drive traffic to mall locations. So if a large anchor closes, that impacts the leases of those smaller stores that are also at the mall,” Spurgeon said.

So far, the only one that has closed was Sears. Macy’s recently avoided bankruptcy and J.C. Penney expects to be out of bankruptcy by the end of the year.

CBL released a statement saying that they do not expect the mall will close, and they plan to continue operations as usual.

“No one has ever heard any details that Old Hickory Mall is closing down. Now, are there concerns about anchor stores closing and what that does to existing tenants? Absolutely,” Spurgeon said.

He says malls have been struggling for years, and COVID-19 just accelerated the timeline. Old Hickory Mall is no different.

“It has been changing for years, if not a decade or more. So that means the footprints of these retail stores are going to continue to shrink,” Spurgeon said. “We’re engaged in conversations with CBL about what the short-term and long-term future of that mall holds for our community.”

CBL Properties is based in Chattanooga. The company owns and manages 107 properties across the U.S.

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