In 1968, CBL Properties was EMJ Construction’s first client. In 1987, we were proud to help the company construct Chattanooga’s Hamilton Place Mall. Today, we’re honored to lead the construction work on CBL’s renovation of this local landmark. The Chattanooga Times Free Press toured the mall and sat down with Stephen Lebovitz, CEO of CBL Properties, who shared the following detailed progress of the mall:
New mall development is focused on offering experiences and services over the things shoppers can carry out of a store, with restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues playing a key role.
Thirty years after Hamilton Place mall opened, the age of the mega-mall anchored by department stores and surrounded by ring roads is at an end, Lebovitz said. The redevelopment of the space around Sears will have an outdoor focus, favoring sidewalks, lighting and landscaping over stark expanses of asphalt.
Multiple businesses will fill the 145,000 square feet that once housed Sears, which is 65%-70% leased. Next door, the new Aloft expected to open in early 2021 will have a rooftop bar and a Mean Mug coffeehouse on the ground floor.
Mitch Patel, president and CEO of Vision Hospitality Group, expects the hotel to become a draw for locals as well as out-of-town guests.
“It isn’t downtown or the river, but it is a pretty nice view when you get 75 or 80 feet in the air,” he said during a tour of the site on Tuesday. Reinvention is a challenging process, but it’s one that comes with significant potential, Lebovitz said.
More than 40 anchor stores in the CBL portfolio of properties have closed, but their replacements will move the properties and the company in a stronger direction, he said.
“CBL is an innovative retail real-estate company, developing some of the finest retail shopping centers in the U.S.,” said Chas Torrence, EVP, EMJ Construction. “EMJ had the privilege of helping CBL construct the Hamilton Place Mall in 1987. Working on this renovation project feels like we’ve come full circle. We’re excited to see it remain a hallmark of our community for generations to come.”