Mayor to propose plan to buy Hickory Ridge Mall for city

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton will pitch a plan next week to purchase the Hickory Ridge Mall.

The city said it needs the space for satellite offices, and will pay more than $8 million to purchase the building.

The city hopes the plan will revitalize an area devastated by Mother Nature: most of the mall's tenants left after a tornado damaged the building in February.

While many department stores have moved out, the city is making plans to move in.

"The mall has been for sale for several weeks now, and we know there are several potential buyers who are interested in the mall," said councilman Harold Collins.

City administrators are asking the city council to set aside nearly $9 million to buy and renovate the mall.

Collins said the city would use about 40 acres of the property for satellite offices, including one for the police and fire departments.

"To invest city services and city infrastructure and city resources to that particular area would bring some stability," Collins said.

While some agree with the city's plan to use part of the vacant space for city services, others do not.

"I think Sears is the only store that's still here in the mall at this point. Some of the major stores have decided to pull out and won't be back," said Travis Wiggins, who's against the city's plan. "I see no reason why we couldn't get other major stores to take their places."

Herenton's office had no comment.

The full council will review the proposal at a meeting sceduled for October 7.

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