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The Lebanon City Council received updates on the city’s business and retail landscape, which included new information regarding the former Kmart and Applebee’s properties. 

Drinkard Development Vice-President Jason Grimmett provided an update to the former Kmart building on West Main Street which is still owned by Kmart. Grimmett said he is hopeful to receive the building back from Kmart, which closed last year, by the end of the month. 

“(Drinkard Development’s Roy Drinkard) first built that Kmart center for Kroger back in 1976 and 1977. He’s been here many years and loves that area,” Grimmett said. “We’ve been trying to figure out what all we can do to keep the center viable. The building looks bad, but it’s under their control.”

Drinkard Development also owns the property that formerly housed Goody’s. Grimmett said the group could use the reacquisition of the Kmart building as an opportunity to revamp the entire property, which will likely include the demolition of the abandoned gas station beside Wendy’s. 

Grimmett said the company has explored three or four options for the property, with the most favored option bringing in four nationally known tenants to the property. 

Retail Strategies portfolio director John Ruzic and retail development manager Jordan Williams said the agency have been in discussions with several nationally known chains, including: Ulta Beauty, Ross, Marshalls, City GEAR, Krispy Kreme, Publix, Starbucks, Hobby Lobby, Metro Diner and Ollie’s Bargain Hunt.

Lebanon Director of Economic Development Sarah Haston said the vacant building brings an opportunity for the building and area. 

“We’re looking at the right retailers at the right time for the right spot, and I think we found the magic. It’s just getting it able to work and what that looks like,” Haston said. 

Ruzic also updated the council about the former Applebee’s location on South Cumberland Street. 

“They’re really specific about who they want in there and what they want in there, but they do have letters of intent from two restaurant concepts, but they haven’t executed those completely yet,” Ruzic said. 

The group also discussed the Lebanon Outlet Marketplace, which sold for $4.5 million last year. Lebanon Realty bought the 227,000-square-foot outlet mall in July.

Although the property sold for $4.5 million, its improvement value is listed as more than $10 million, which the group said could be achieved with cosmetic upgrades to the property.

The council approved a pair of zoning requests by Brookside Properties Inc. last year to rezone approximately 130 acres between Tuckers Gap Road and I-40, from South Hartmann Drive to the I-840 exit from medium-density residential to commercial service.

Permitted use of the property in a commercial service zone include: townhomes, multi-family buildings, hotels, and health care, commercial, financial or entertainment businesses.

Councilor Chris Crowell, who represents the area, said there are a lot of steps between now and construction.

“At this point, it’s basically just a vision. They won’t know exactly who is coming in until we get a little bit further down the road. There’s certain profiles of folks that may or may not come, but they have to have a certain area that will fit,” Crowell said. “It will be something commercial, if it happens.”

Brookside’s submitted plans call for a mix of hotels, restaurants, office space and retail businesses.

Preliminary plans include about 25 office buildings, some of which could be as high as seven stories. Plans also include about 60,000 square feet of retail space, and 50,000 square feet of restaurant space.

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