Bradford Square Mall on Fort Campbell Boulevard is set to receive millions of dollars in renovations within the next year, which is long overdue, according to the owner.

The plan is to also have the mall 100 percent leased out by next fall. Space in Bradford Square Mall is currently 65 percent leased out, owner Rick Vaughn estimates, who has owned the property since the mid-1990s.

“It’s long overdue, the whole project,” Vaughn said.

He went onto say Shoney’s, which has sat empty for well over a year, has signed a 15-year lease.

Vaughn said after the restaurant’s lease ended, they were still in discussions about a new lease and if they wanted to stay. Right now, the restaurant is going through a redesign and bidding process to redevelop the site. Vaughn expects Shoney’s to start construction in 60 to 90 days.

TeleTech will also expand its space in the mall. Currently occupying around 42,000 square feet, the call center will grow to 56,500, according to projections.

The mall’s owner said he is in talks with tenants to lease out unoccupied space, with outdoor sports store Dunham’s Sports being mentioned by name. The company has not signed a lease, but Vaughn said he is hopeful in locking the retailer down. He also wants to have a furniture or a “family-entertainment focused” store moved into some of the unoccupied space.

A significant portion of the mall is not currently occupied.

The renovation will make the building more of a strip mall, or a power center, as Vaughn describes it. In the new planned design, almost all of the mall’s square footage will be turned into retail space.

Anchor stores JCPenney and Peebles have signed leases up to 10 years, Vaughn explained, and Dollar Tree and Hibbett Sports have signed five-year leases. He said Hibbett Sports is still staying, even though they are also supposed to go into the new Hopkinsville Towne Center retail development.

Referring to Hopkinsville Towne Center, Vaughn said he is pleased to see new stores will be coming to Hopkinsville, which he says is underserved in retail.

In terms of mall renovations, Vaughn plans to have the whole building re-roofed by mid-November, completely re-do the parking lot and replace outdoor lights with LED lightning. The property will also be repainted, with stone added to the outdoor columns, along with new canvas and metal awnings.

During inside renovations, the interior of the mall will be closed starting the second week of January. Vaugh didn’t have a figure of how much he thought the interior renovations would cost, but more than $2 million in contracts have already been signed for outdoor improvements alone.

‘Long overdue’

Small-town malls are a thing of the past, according to Vaughn, who said they are extremely expensive to operate and rent out, which has led to spaces being unoccupied.

A change for Bradford Square Mall is long overdue, he explained.

He contributes the delay to “difficulty buying out an institutional partner”, which was a protective life insurance company out of Birmingham, Alabama.

Vaughn, who lives in North Carolina, explained his partner committed to the redevelopment plans a couple of years ago, but the commitment was withdrawn in early 2015, when the partner’s company was bought by a larger firm. At the end of last year, Vaughn said he closed on the transaction and can now move forward with improvements.

When Vaughn and his partners acquired the mall several years ago, he said it was in financial distress and only 30 percent occupied.

Vaughn and his team brought in Goody’s shortly after, and got the mall up to 90 percent occupied, he recalled. Then Goody’s filed bankruptcy.

“Goody’s was a huge draw for the center, so when they filed several other tenants fell out,” he said.

Also, Dollar Tree was in the mall, and then moved outside of building. Vaughn also contributes the economic crash of 2008 as a reason for under development.

Vaughn has had opportunities to sign short-term tenants within the last three years, he said, but he didn’t want to do that because it would have kept him from what he wants to now accomplish.

“Could we have had some other tenants in the mall? Yes. Maybe. But they wouldn’t have been national chains, because again, small town malls are a thing of the past,” Vaughn said.

 

Reach Rebecca Walter at 270-887-3241 or rwalter@kentuckynewera.com.