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Hopkinsville city council approves grant, tax incentive in mall redevelopment effort

The recently shuttered JCPenney in Bradford Square Mall on Fort Campbell Boulevard in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
Jennifer P. Brown
Hoptown Chronicle
The recently shuttered JCPenney in Bradford Square Mall on Fort Campbell Boulevard in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

The Hopkinsville City Council unanimously approved at last week’s meeting a grant and associated tax incentive to potentially open an anchor store in Bradford Square Mall as part of a reignited redevelopment effort.

The $1.5 million grant — positioning Rural Kingin place of the recently shuttered JCPenney — will be distributed between the City of Hopkinsville, AJM, Hopkinsville KY LLC, R.K. Administrative Services, LLC and Rural King Holdings, LLP.

Projecting an investment of at least $7.4 million in retail development and 170 new full-time jobs, the tax incentive will allow AJM to retain a tax rebate of 80% of any increase in ad valorem tax revenue otherwise derived by the city for two decades.

Carter Hendricks, executive director of the South Western Kentucky Economic Development Council, said Rural King approached his organization when scouting potential locations and ultimately decided Bradford Square would be ripe for redevelopment.

“Any time a company is looking to invest good money in your community and your region, that’s a good thing for the economy,” Hendricks said. “Those jobs will be taken by Christian County residents, Trigg County residents, Todd County residents and probably people from other counties, as well.”

Hendricks added Rural King will have greater incentive to see the Fort Campbell Boulevard mall succeed since it will have a stake in both a public-facing business and the property itself

“When (the mall sits) dark and underutilized, it doesn’t send a very positive message about your community or the region,” he said. “So the idea that it’ll be better utilized with more businesses and more opportunities and showcasing our region in the proper way, I think that has a big impact on how we are perceived not only by outsiders but by ourselves.”

The Fort Campbell Boulevard mall has faced some hurdles in recent years, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. A new Gordmans store closed two months after opening in May 2020, and the long-standing JCPenney followed suit the next month.

Despite the loss of those two anchor stores, the surrounding property has seen increasing development thanks to the addition of Popeye’s, Chicken Salad Chick and TMobile stores.

Dustin Wilcox is a television production student at Murray State University. He graduated from Hopkinsville High School in 2019.
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