Rivergate Mall business weighs in on building being put up for sale

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — After what critics call a decades-long decline with stores closing and an uptick in crime in the area, the Rivergate Mall has officially been listed for sale, leaving one business inside wondering about the future five months after moving in.

The real estate agency, Franklin Street, has listed the Rivergate Mall, which is a more than 500,000 square foot building sitting on nearly 30 acres of land, for “market price.”

Jason Matherley, owner of The Academy, a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and MMA school located inside the Rivergate Mall, remembers the mall when it was in its prime, which was one of the reasons he chose to relocate his business there five months ago.

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“It was a big deal moving to the mall. Coming through here back in its heyday, it was always like the place to be, so it’d be so cool to move in the mall, so when the opportunity arose, we were here. It’s like, ‘Man, I think it would be a great place,’ and so far it has been,” Matherley said.

Matherley told News 2 there are many misconceptions about the Rivergate Mall often spread by people who haven’t visited it in years, adding that the space has a lot of opportunities to offer local businesses. He hopes the mall stays standing after the sale, but he is keeping an open mind.

“When you see it up for sale, it kind of makes you immediately think, ‘Oh no, I hope they don’t tear down the mall and try to go a whole other route,’ but then again, it could be a great time to try to revitalize the mall and bring it back,” Matherley said. “I know it’s never going to be the same, like, people talk about that a lot, and it probably won’t, and that could be a good thing, but I think there is a lot of opportunity here still for other [local] stores.”

Metro Councilwoman Jennifer Frensley-Webb, who represents the Goodlettsville and Northern Madison area, told News 2 city leaders haven’t decided who or what will take over the Rivergate Mall yet, but there could be a “big option” for a mixed retail use. In that case, she hopes the businesses currently in the mall would consider moving into the space once it’s complete.

Businesses, city leaders hopeful new development will revitalize RiverGate area

“They are seeing the mall through at its hardest point, and I don’t think anyone wants to do anything but benefit them,” Frensley-Webb said. “The endless opportunities that this is going to bring to Goodlettsville is just going to be overwhelming for the Goodlettsville and Madison residents. It’s a game-changer, I think.”

The mall has already received a lot of interest since it was listed for sale, according to Frensley-Webb.

In addition to the possible sale of the Rivergate Mall, the West Coast-based fast food chain, In-N-Out Burger, recently submitted an application to build a new location near the Rivergate Mall. A BJ’s Wholesale Store also opened up down the street last month.

“I know that Goodlettsville and this Northern part of Madison is really on a big step getting revitalized, and if somebody is wanting to come to the Nashville area or the north side, I think they really need to look at this area.,” Frensley-Webb said. “I think this is a diamond in the rough coming back.”

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Matherley believes the future success of the mall, regardless of what it could become, will depend on the community’s support.

“What’s the point in somebody coming in to start a business? They’re not going to if everything they hear is negativity from the community, so I think as a community that’s the first step,” Matherley said. “If you can’t get the community to go in for themselves and actually support these businesses, you’re not going to have any success.”

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