The retail area along Bell road in Antioch was once a booming area, but in recent years, with many retailers moving to growing areas like Franklin and Murfreesboro, the Hickory Hollow Mall was forced to close its doors and the retail area has since transitioned into the Global Mall at the Crossings. On Monday, the City of Nashville and the Nashville Predators unveiled plans to bring excitement and recreation back to the Antioch area.
“I see this center becoming a hub of learning and recreation for residents in Southeast Davidson County, one of the fastest growing parts of our city,” Mayor Karl Dean said. “Families will find it convenient for the ice rink, community center, park and library to be in one location. This new public facility will benefit nearby neighborhoods and the surrounding retail and commercial area by attracting more people to the vicinity and creating a more stable business environment.”
In front of more than 500 citizens, Mayor Dean announced that the city will invest more than $14 million into the Global Mall area. The plans include a massive new library, which replaces the smaller existing structure located further down Bell road and a community center, that includes a gym, walking track, several multi-function rooms and even a rooftop terrace to hold events and concerts. Outside of the community center will sit a 3.7-acre park in what is now a parking lot.
The biggest piece to the city’s investment in Antioch is the construction of a new hockey center. The new two-story, 86,000-square-foot facility will house two ice rinks, eight locker rooms, several multi-function rooms, concession stands, a pro-shop, a workout facility, a video room and space for restaurants or other vendors that is scheduled to open in summer 2014.
“We are so grateful to the Mayor and Metro for recognizing the many benefits of our public/private partnership,” Nashville Predators CEO Jeff Cogen said. “This facility will provide a new location for the community to gather and socialize, and hockey tournaments and figure skating events that will be hosted here will bring significant economic impact to the area with increases in demand for local lodging, dining, shopping and entertainment. The Predators are dedicated to contributing to the economic impact, general well-being and quality of life, not only in this community but for all of Middle Tennessee.”
While Metro Nashville will build and own both the community center and hockey center, the Preds will be the sole managers of the ice rink. The Predators, who will lease the hockey center from the city, will work with Metro to develop a workforce program that will include job training and internship programs.
In addition to creating jobs, the benefits of this rink are far-reaching, as hockey players and families who used to travel to the current ice facilities in the area from Rutherford County, Wilson County and beyond will now have a rink more centralized to their location. The new rink will serve as a hub to the Preds hockey programs, but the club will continue to provide beginner hockey courses like the highly successful Get Out and Learn Program (G.O.A.L!) and other learn-to-skate classes and hockey lessons at area rinks, in addition to youth tournaments and leagues.
"More rinks equal more opportunities for people of all levels and ages to get involved in the game of hockey, growing the Nashville Predators fan base and creating new ambassadors of the sport,” Cogen said.
Overall, the investment in Southwest Davidson County could approach nearly $32 million with improvements to local business and retail centers, while also investing in the community with additional recreation areas and green spaces.