A prominent commercial space empty in Bartlett for more than 16 years finally has a tenant, and a variety of other commercial projects in the city are getting new life.
The wave of commercial rebirth in the suburb includes new ground-up construction and adaptive reuse of existing properties.
Gill Properties has signed O’Reilly Auto Parts to a lease for 32,350 square feet at the Stage Centre retail complex on the northwest corner of Kirby Whitten and Stage roads, where the company plans to open a superstore.
O’Reilly, which operates a regular store just a block away at 2841 Kirby Whitten, could have the superstore open by the fourth quarter of next year, according to Patty Bullock, Gill Properties senior vice president.
“The landlord must complete work to the premises before the tenant can move in,” she said.
Other big commercial news in Bartlett includes the recent sale of the former Bartlett Nursery property at 7157 Summer Ave. The nursery had been in business there for more than three decades. There is some indication the new owners could plan for an open-air entertainment venue on the site.
Other existing Bartlett properties are also being retrofitted with new concepts, including Bluff City Pickleball going in at the former Malco theater in the Malco Plaza Shopping Center on Bartlett Boulevard. John and Leslie Daniel hope to have the 27,000-square-foot facility open by February.
With the BlueOval City within commuting distance, most of the viable commercial sites currently available in Bartlett are getting attention from existing and new investors, according to Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce president John Threadgill.
He points out that the city wants to open locations that can serve retail.
“The development of Union Depot at Summer and Stage will be adding about 85,000 square feet of commercial space, which will have a substantial impact on the area’s retail inventory,” Threadgill said.
The chamber announced a retail strategies partnership earlier this year with the Memphis-based Jones Aur commercial real estate firm.
“We do know the market well. We know Bartlett’s strengths and weaknesses and how to overcome those,” said Jones Aur founding partner Dustin Jones.
His firm is recruiting retailers and offering brokerage-related consulting services on existing and potential deals. The focus is on the Bartlett Station historic district and the Stage Road/U.S. 64 corridor and working with property owners to make their existing parcels more attractive.
“The city’s got some ideas on how to put those incentives in place,” Jones said. He credits Bartlett’s new administration’s push for economic growth. “The previous administration had been there for so long and was set in their ways,” he said adding that former mayor Keith McDonald was a great mayor, but sometimes it was hard to do business in Bartlett.
That’s changed under the new leadership. “It’s a real breath of fresh air,” Jones said.