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crabbj

Speaking of closed Malls... Church Street Center

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Does anyone have any recollections or photos of what once was the Church Street Center? I only went to this mall once in 1993, if this was indeed "Stouffer's Plaza." When did it close? Any why? Perhaps the idea was before its time.

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Does anyone have any recollections or photos of what once was the Church Street Center? I only went to this mall once in 1993, if this was indeed "Stouffer's Plaza." When did it close? Any why? Perhaps the idea was before its time.

I went to it several times in the late 90's, maybe 1997.....I forget exactly when, but I was working downtown at the time. It was always pretty empty when I was there.

Dave, maybe you know this: Didn't the metro government have a hand in bringing this mall into existence? I think the parking garage underneath it was always owned by the city, right?

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Ahh Church Street Centre... I remember that place. I believe that had some upscale places like Benetton too (I may be wrong). Castner Knott closed in 1996 and the mall hung on a little while longer but by that time it was featuring import shops full of cheap brass - but it had a kicking food court!

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Your right, at the time it opened it was ahead of its time. Now with all the condos and downtown living

projects going on they will need to find a way to bring something like the Church Street Center back. At

the time it was open not to many people wanted to go downtown and just shop when you could go to the area malls.

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Does anyone have any recollections or photos of what once was the Church Street Center? I only went to this mall once in 1993, if this was indeed "Stouffer's Plaza." When did it close? Any why? Perhaps the idea was before its time.

I used to go there regularly from the time it opened into the early mid '90s. They had a great restaurant in there called "Nine Points Mesa." Fantastic fajitas.

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It's a shame the timing on the mall was out of synch with reality. I remember it well. It was a nice place. Thanks for the pix, Lex.

Kheldane, I think you're right about the government involvement, but I'm lost with the details.

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There is a lot that is across, never mind. That will be the courtouse. Where could you put something like this on Church now??? The only place that I can think of is where the current Convention Center is a block from Church Street.

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Thanks for posting the photos Lexy, they brought back some memories. What a great view at the top of the escalator...I am trying to remember where it was in the hotel, but I remember somewhere close to the bottom floor or basement perhaps a party was held for some Belmont U. folks in a banquet room. I cant remember if it was connected to the mall area though, it has been a long time since I went there. Nice shots, glad you took them before they tore it all down. This could have been reworked and made into a mall similar to Peabody Place. Too bad it didn't hold out longer, I think it would have done great nowadays.

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As you can see from the pictures - the mall itself was quite nice. Today (or the very near future) a mall like that could have the need for stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond or Crate and Barrel as an anchor, Williams-Sonoma, Trader Joes, Banana republic, Ann taylor - things like that. This is something that Church Street is really going to need again in the next 10 years. Too bad we tore it down. The library could have been built one block over IMO. Oh well.

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If the new CC gets going, then the city needs to look at the feasibility of converting the old one into a new "Commerce Street Center".

As you would expect, I agree totally. It almost has to happen.

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I suppose some downtown malls are doing well in other Cities. I have been to Louisville, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Philadelphia in recent years and they all have some kind of 'Galleria' that served as an enclosed space for eateries, souvenir shops and miscellaneous shopping. Nashville does have the arcade, which serves that function fairly well, although not environmentally controlled.

One thing that hurt the Church Street Center was an odd clause in the contracts that made the tenants liable to lawsuits from the contractors who built the mall itself, rather than the building owners. Mrs. Daisy's Tea Room had to close down almost as soon as it opened due to law suits from the builder that had nothing to do with the construction of the restaurant itself. That had to have a chilling effect on other present and future tenants.

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Seems as if Mrs. Daisy had a restaurant at Bellevue when it first opened too. I agree with making the current conv. center into a mall - but lets go a step further and add a tower to it and make the facility truly mixed use. I know that didn't happen for Signature - but mixed-use is a formula that works in other cities - why not Nashville? A movie theatre in the mix would be good too.

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The old Church Street Center really was a nice mall. I believe it would have succeeded had there been the number of people living in the downtown area as there will be in, say, 2010. Once the population living in the downtown area grows to a critical mass capable of supporting a downtown mall or some other type of concentrated downtown shopping, I guarantee that it will happen. It's just a matter of time, IMO.

Thanks, Lexy for finding those old pictures. They bring back old memories!

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I only vaguely remember Church Street Centre. I think the only time I visited it was when on a field trip to the capitol building in second grade, we ate at the food court there.

I have mixed feelings about inclosed shopping malls in downtowns of cities the size of Nashville. If a city is very large and already has an extremely strong retail base downtown, like Chicago, then an enclosed mall here and there could be a very nice addition. But in a city like Nashville, which is far smaller and has little to no present retail downtown, much less a large retail market, building a mall downtown, even if it were successful and even though it would be better than having nothing, would really kill, in my opinion, the chances of inner city Nashville ever getting a truly vibrant retail corridor. Sure there are examples of successful downtown malls in similar sized cities, like Indianapolis, but just think how amazing downtown Indy would be if even HALF of the stores that are inside that mall had storefronts facing the street.

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That's what I was thinking BNA. The street entrances would be important. There's certainly nothing about the exterior of the building that would necessarily have to be perserved in its present state. Also, the convention exhibition area could probably be retro-fitted into a large 2-3 story underground parking facility with the rest of the building fitted for stores. Topping the current structure with my Target and condos might work well. Of course, the building's stuctural integrity may or may not allow this. Remember the discussion about using Church Street Center FOR the library. It was found that the existing building couldn't have held the weight of the books. The same might be true with the CC building. This may sound easier than it is, but when you think about it, this location for retail would be good given it central location between business/residential and entertainment areas. It's a great spot, no matter what eventually happens there.

This is all a long way off, but now seems like a good time to talk about it.

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