Vacant buildings seen as eyesore to mall area

Some of you have reached out to Local 6 asking about vacant properties near Kentucky Oaks Mall in Paducah.

An email we received on Monday from a viewer named Donna asks: "What are the plans for the old El Chico restaurant on Hinkleville Road? It is really an eyesore. Also, the old Ryan’s restaurant could be in the same condition someday."

Hananoki, across the street from the El Chico, is also closed, along with two vacant buildings on the mall property. The city says as long as the grounds are maintained and the buildings are secure, its hands are tied. Neighboring businesses say the empty buildings are an eyesore.

Smack dab in the middle of businesses on Paducah’s busy Hinkleville Road sits the oldest building in the mall area,  the Tobacco Barn built in 1976.

"When it was put here, everything was a peach orchard owned by Mr. Potter, called Potter’s Peach Orchard," said Tobacco Barn owner Brent Obermark.

Obermark says, over the years, the mall and a number of other businesses popped up around the store. He says some of those businesses haven’t been able to keep up with the growth.

"As soon as you get off the interstate, you know, if you’re not from Paducah, the first thing you see on you’re right is a hotel, a pizza hut and the monstrosity that’s been sitting there," Obermark said.

He’s talking about the former El Chico’s restaurant.

"It is an eyesore, but it’s a great location," Obermark said.

The building has been locked up for about two years. The city says a company called Quattro Development owns it, and has shown interest in tearing the building down all together and building a strip mall.

"With it being such a valuable property, you just hate to see it left in the condition it’s been in," said Paducah City Commissioner Sandra Wilson.

Wilson says, with the property in new hands, she hopes to see life coming back soon.

"They do have some plans for future development with it. They just can’t move quick enough for us," Wilson said.

Obermark hopes so too.

"It would, you know, hopefully draw some more people in," Obermark said.

The company, Chicago-based Quattro Development, is in the early planning phases for the location.
A spokesperson for the city says the city is not aware of any plans for the Hananoki or Ryans’ locations. We tried contacting the owners of those properties, but have not yet heard back.

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