Gainesville hoping tractor supply company will redevelop outlet mall

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 6:25 PM CDT
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GAINESVILLE, Texas (KXII) - The days of the Gainesville outlet mall are more than long gone, but the city hopes to change that.

“It used to be hustling and bustling, especially on weekends,” said Barry Sullivan, the Gainesville city manager. “People would drive out of the metroplex, come here, shop, very busy.”

But the Gainesville outlet mall looks a lot different now, with a parking lot as quiet as a ghost town and almost every store dark.

“It’s basically mainly a group of empty buildings that we want to get back on the tax roll for their full value,” said Sullivan.

The city of Gainesville plans to redevelop it, but this time it won’t just be retail stores.

“That old model of trying to put retail in a rural area does not work,” said Sullivan. “Especially, with the internet, people now aren’t liking even go shopping in the large cities as much.”

Instead, Gainesville said it’s negotiating a contract with Tractor Bob’s, which would turn the outlet into a tractor retail and distribution site.

“The distribution is a huge part of this because that’s where exporting out of Gainesville, getting those prime jobs that people have that bring money into the community and just not rotating the same money inside the community,” said Sullivan.

The city estimates Tractor Bob’s is an investment of more than $31 million.

“That’s why we think this is more exciting than focusing on our retail model that has proven in history to fail,” said Sullivan.

City Council on Tuesday put the location in a reinvestment zone, which opens the door for tax abatements.