HARDING MALL
Nolensville Pike / US 31-A and 41-A and Harding Place
Nashville, Tennessee

The first fully-enclosed shopping center in Tennessee was built in the Paragon Mills section of the Music City. Occupying a 21.3 acre site, located 2.7 miles south of the Volunteer State Capitol, HARDING MALL encompassed approximately 206,500 leasable square feet.

A 1-level (50,500 square foot), Nashville-based Castner-Knott opened its doors March 14, 1966. The mall's 1-level (24,600 square foot) G.C. Murphy 5 & 10 began business in June. Among the forty-five charter tenants were Walgreen Drug, Mr. Neat Cleaners, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Family Booterie, Karmelkorn, Port of Call Records, an Ireland's Restaurant, Luby's Cafeteria and (20,000 square foot) A & P supermarket.

The first motion picture venue to operate in HARDING MALL, the Martin Theatres Capri Theatre, showed its first feature March 25, 1969. The cinema re-opened as the Capri Twin in December 1978 and was shuttered in 1989.

The first expansion of the shopping center was done in 1974. Castner-Knott had a second level added., which increased its floor area to 101,000 square feet. Soon after this project was completed, G.C. Murphy was replaced by a Nashville-based Service Merchandise.

Commercial competitors of HARDING MALL were all regional-class centers. In order of their openings, they were; 100 OAKS MALL (1967) {2.5 miles northwest, in Nashville}, MALL AT GREEN HILLS (1968 and 1991) {5.1 miles northwest, in Nashville} and HICKORY HOLLOW MALL (1978) {4.1 miles southeast, in Nashville}.

HARDING MALL was given a face lift in 1989. The complex was expanded, with additions to its north and south sides, between 1991 and 1995. It now encompassed approximately 300,000 leasable square feet. Inline stores at the time included Sam Goody records, Bookland, Dress Barn and the Family Christian Store.

Service Merchandise had been replaced by Massachusetts-based Marshalls in 1983. 15 years later, the Castner-Knott chain, and its Mercantile Stores parent company, were acquired by Dillard's. The HARDING MALL store re-opened, with a Dillard's nameplate, on August 13, 1998.

A & P morphed into Cloth World Fabrics and then re-opened, as the Carmike Cinemas Carmike 6 at Harding Mall, on May 4, 1990. This cinematic venue closed August 24, 2000. It became the Barnabas Cinemas El Cine, the city's first ethnic movie house, on November 2, 2002.

By the mid-2000s, HARDING MALL was well past its prime, having been eclipsed by newer and larger malls in its trade area. A demolition plan was announced in July 2004. Luby's Cafeteria served its last meal in September 2004. Dillard's went dark in April 2005.

Demolition of the mall proper commenced in August 2005, with two outparcel structures left standing. A 1-level (205,200 square foot) Wal-Mart SuperCenter opened on the site April 18, 2007.

Sources:

The Nashville Tennessean
www.labelscar.com / "Prange Way"
www.cinematreasures.org
Nashville / Davidson County tax assessor website