NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The man buying the former Hickory Hollow Mall site in Antioch is calling the place a diamond in the rough.

Car dealership owner Ben Freeland said he believes the space in Antioch presents a dynamic opportunity. He's speaking about the potential of it being a big part of a changing Antioch. 

"What Antioch's taught me is if you do something good for the community, it's going to pay you back," said Freeland. "I have my feet on the ground there. I own a number of businesses. I own real estate right there in the community. I've seen what works and what doesn't work."

Freeland has not said what his specific plans for the site will be or if there will be any demolition. The one thing he has confirmed is the space will not reopen as a mall.

"We'll have some retail in the old mall property, but it'll feed off what we develop in the mall itself," he said. "We don't see it being a major retail center only. It's going to be office, mixed-use. It's going to be a lot of components."

Freeland said a development team is working to get the plan right, but he said whatever goes in the space will have to bring jobs to Antioch and be profitable.

He added Nashville State Community College, Bridgestone Operations Center, Ford Ice Center and the Metro Public Library have different owners and all will stay. 

"If you would have told me 10 years ago that I could own the mall and have all four as anchor tenants, that's a win," he said. "It's the fastest growing area of Davidson County. It's going to continue to be so. If you take the mall redevelopment we're going to do with the Century Farms development, I think that's going to set up this community to be the leading community within greater Nashville for the next decade."

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Forrest Sanders is an award-winning reporter, videographer and editor at News4.

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