Hixson's Northgate Mall adding Burlington store

photo Northgate Mall

National off-price retailer Burlington is the latest business to add a new store at Northgate Mall as the shopping center continues its transformation.

Burlington, formerly known as Burlington Coat Factory, will locate its first store in the Chattanooga area in 63,000-square-feet of space in the Hixson mall.

Stephen Lebovitz, chief executive of mall owner CBL & Associates Properties Inc., said that since acquiring the shopping center in 2011, it's been executing its revitalization plan.

"The addition of Burlington to the center will not only enhance Northgate Mall by delivering the first store in the market for a great retail name, but also demonstrates our commitment to investing in the mall's continued growth," Lebovitz said in a statement.

Burlington will locate between Sears and JCPenney in space that includes what was a Belk home goods department store.

Several stores will relocate to accommodate Burlington, according to the Chattanooga-based mall's owner.

Construction is expected to begin in January with a grand opening scheduled for October 2014.

Jeff Bass, manager of longtime mall tenant Colony 13, said plans are for it to shift to another location in the mall after 35 years at the same site, but he thinks adding Burlington is a good move.

"Burlington will attract a ton of people," he said. "It will be a pretty massive store."

CBL said Burlington will have entrances off the main mall and the east parking lot.

The retailer is the latest in a string of new offerings which have opened, or are slated to, in the mall or its associated center such as Michaels, Ross Dress for Less, and Old Navy.

At the same time, the mall has lost some longtime businesses such as Piccadilly cafeteria and Wolf Camera.

CBL is conducting a multimillion-dollar renovation to enhance the interior and exterior of the center it bought from General Growth Properties. The main entrance is receiving updates and the mall's interior is undergoing new flooring and ceiling and lighting upgrades.

Bass said he'd like to see some of Northgate's parking areas which aren't used much made available for development, such as CBL did at its flagship Hamilton Place mall in East Brainerd.

"They could use that space and put in a couple of nice restaurants," he said.

Bass said while Colony 13 is moving to new mall space, the new site will be bigger than it now occupies.

"We're very optimistic about the future," he said.

CBL purchased the mall for $11.5 million in cash. With 823,000 square feet of enclosed space at Highway 153 and Hixson Pike, it was built in 1972 by Arlen Shopping Center Group under direction of Charles B. Lebovitz, who is now CBL's chairman.

Chicago-based GGP acquired the mall in 2000, but in 2009 it filed for bankruptcy in one of the biggest commercial real estate collapses in U.S. history. GGP later emerged from bankruptcy and put Northgate Mall up for sale in an online auction.

CBL is one of the nation's largest owners and developers of shopping centers and malls. It owns, holds interests in or manages 154 properties.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

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