Business Growth Continues in Antioch as Area Fights Bad Image

Antioch has struggled to bounce back for years after the Hickory Hollow Mall closed. (WSMV)

ANTIOCH, TN (WSMV) –

Antioch is shaping up to be the next hot spot for development in Nashville.

With Swedish furniture company IKEA expected to arrive in 2020, more businesses are flocking to an area some view as crime-ridden.

The opening of Bridgestone’s Operation Center in the old Sears building at the former Hickory Hollow Mall demonstrates another sign of the area’s revitalization. Antioch has struggled for years to bounce back after the mall closed.

“We’ve lost a lot. We’ve lost Dillards. We’ve lost Sears. Now everybody has to drive out instead of just investing in the community,” said Valentina Yiborku, an Antioch resident.

Even though something that was old is new again with Bridgestone, residents feel there’s still a way to go.

“I’d like for it to get back like it used to be, have things available for the people who live in this area, so they don’t have to go so far away to obtain what they need,” said Phyllis Lewis, an Antioch resident.

The southeast part of Nashville continues to fight a bad reputation for crime.

“I get really frustrated by it because I belong to a lot of group on Facebook and you see the people complaining,” Yiborku said. “I understand some of their complaints, but at the same time it’s like, come on guys, this happens everywhere.”

Metro Council member Jacobia Dowell represents District 32 where Bridgestone and IKEA are opening, and she said some concerns are justified. But Dowell said many people with one image of Antioch don’t live in the community and see it improving.

“We’ve owned up to who we are. We’ve accepted where we are as a community, and we decided that we’re better than the brand and the image other people have of us.” Dowell said.

As one of the last places to experience a development boom, some residents worry Antioch may not be an affordable place to live in the future.

“If you push people out, you bring another group of people in. They have to be invested in the community as well and want to see it get better,” Yiborku said. “The cost of living has gone up, but the increase of job wages, it’s not matching with what’s going on in the community.”

Council members said responsibility isn’t solely on the developers to change Antioch. Dowell said residents must also be advocates for their own neighborhoods.

Copyright 2017 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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