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The Hixson area will see a new restaurant and clothing retailer as a developer remakes a closed Kmart store on Highway 153 into a $14 million shopping center.
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The Hixson area will see a new restaurant and clothing retailer as a developer remakes a closed Kmart store on Highway 153 into a $14 million shopping center.

The Hixson area will see a new restaurant and clothing retailer as a developer remakes a closed Kmart store on Highway 153 into a $14 million shopping center.

Texas Roadhouse plans to open an eatery this summer on an outparcel of the former Kmart parking lot near Northpointe Boulevard, said Chattanooga developer Bassam Issa.

Also, discount fashion store Gabe's is slated to open a 40,000-foot-store in part of the existing building, he said.

"Those particular stores we're putting in there are much needed in Hixson," he said. "It fits the demographics for these stores."

More Info

TEXAS ROADHOUSE
› Headquarters: Louisville, Ky.
› Units: 510 in 49 states
› Product: Restaurants specialize in steaks and ribs

GABE’S
› Headquarters: Morganton, W.Va.
› Stores: 74 in 12 states
› Product: Sells designer brands and fashions for up to 70 percent off

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Staff file photo of Bassam Issa

Issa, who bought the former Kmart for $5 million last year, said he's working on about 70,000 square feet of additional space he wants to lease out.

"It will be a class A development," he said. "We're changing everything."

The Hixson Texas Roadhouse will be the national chain's second in the Chattanooga area. Texas Roadhouse also has an eatery in East Brainerd. Jennifer Beam, the Shallowford Road restaurant's service manager, said plans are for the new location to open around the end of July and employ about 150 people.

"I think it will help us," she said. "Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement."

Issa said the Hixson site will be 7,000 square feet in size. Site work should begin this month, he said.

"They'll build their own building," Issa said.

Gabe's entered the North Georgia market last year when the former Rugged Wearhouse in Fort Oglethorpe reopened as the bigger, rebranded fashion store.

Issa said the West Virginia-based retailer could open next month.

Formerly Gabriel Brothers Inc., Gabe's was founded in 1961 and operates 74 stores in Tennessee, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Delaware, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

Gabe's sells designer brands and fashions for up to 70 percent off department and specialty store prices. Their stores carry designer brand name ladies, juniors, lingerie, men's and children's apparel, along with footwear, accessories, handbags, bath and beauty products, home decor, soft home, electronics and housewares.

Texas Roadhouse, based in Louisville, Ky., is known for its steaks and ribs. The first Texas Roadhouse opened in 1993 when Kent Taylor opened an eatery in Clarksville, Ind.

Since then, the company has grown to more than 510 locations in 49 states. It also has 17 international locations in seven foreign countries.

The 116,325-square-foot Kmart store was built in 1994 to replace a previous unit on Hixson Pike.

Kmart once operated nearly a dozen stores in the region, but it won't have any presence in the Chattanooga area after a Dalton, Ga., location closes in mid-March.

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

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