Known as the “Secret City” for its role in the development of nuclear energy, Oak Ridge remains at the forefront of the nation’s strategic defense while also firmly establishing itself as a destination of choice for national retailers, technology-related companies and residents attracted by the strong economy and unparalleled quality of life.
“All of this plays into an overall elevation of economic activity and the quality of life,” Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Parker Hardy says of the city’s economic growth.
The most visible example of that growth may be Oak Ridge Main Street. With a half-million square feet of commercial space, the development has transformed the site of the former Oak Ridge Mall into an energetic town hub with a growing selection of retailers and restaurants. It will include office space, a 120-room hotel and residential units.
A steady stream of brand-name retailers and restaurants is arriving at Main Street. They include PetSmart, Ulta, Maurice’s, Rue21, Rack Room Shoes, T.J. Maxx, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Route 21 and Electronic Express as well as Taco Bell, Panda Express and Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers.
The American Museum of Science & Energy will be located at Oak Ridge Main Street, and the museum’s current location will become a new shopping destination, says Hardy.