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Posted Jul 1st, 2019

The June 21st grand opening of the expansion wing at The Mall at Green Hills marked an important milestone in what has been a five-year physical transformation of Nashville’s dominant luxury retail destination. For the center’s General Manager Kimberly Hales, who will be retiring at the end of June, and Facilities Director Norah Buikstra, who will become Green Hills’ general manager July 1, the celebration was a fitting culmination of a successful working relationship that began in 2013.   

The June 21st grand opening of the expansion wing at The Mall at Green Hills marked an important milestone in what has been a five-year physical transformation of Nashville’s dominant luxury retail destination. For the center’s General Manager Kimberly Hales, who will be retiring at the end of June, and Facilities Director Norah Buikstra, who will become Green Hills’ general manager July 1, the celebration was a fitting culmination of a successful working relationship that began in 2013.   

 
“It is a proud day for our company when we can celebrate Kimberly’s successful 29-year career and retirement, and simultaneously announce Norah’s promotion into the general manager role,” said Denise Anton, executive vice president of Operations for Taubman, owner/operator of The Mall at Green Hills. “We are fortunate to have great leadership in this important market.”
 
While Kimberly’s and Norah’s careers have followed different paths, it seems like destiny brought them together at The Mall at Green Hills.   
 
A native of Murfreesboro, Kimberly has been working in retail since high school. After earning degrees from Middle Tennessee State and Vanderbilt University, she became a teacher, working part-time for extra income at the Cain Sloan department store at Green Hills. Deciding to focus fulltime on her retail career, she advanced to assistant store manager, then corporate buyer for Cain Sloan. She held buyer positions with Filene’s and Dillard’s before joining the Taubman Company in 1990 as assistant general manager at Bellevue Center in Nashville. Kimberly later served as assistant general manager at Woodfiled during a period of major renovation and expansion, then as general manager at Memorial City Mall in Houston and Great Lakes Crossing Outlets for its grand opening and subsequent rebranding. She returned to Nashville and The Mall at Green Hills in 2013.
 
“You could say becoming the general manager at Green Hills was a homecoming for me,” said Kimberly. “It gave me the opportunity to come home to Tennessee, manage the center at which I started my career, and work with an extraordinarily talented team that understands this property and its market. And from day one I saw the potential and desire in Norah to one-day step into my shoes.”
 
When Taubman acquired The Mall at Green Hills along with The Gardens on El Paseo and El Paseo Village from Davis Street Properties in 2011, Norah had been serving as Green Hills’ facilities director for 10 years. With a degree in architecture from Kansas University, Norah began her career in retail real estate development and management in Chicago after student teaching at the Illinois Institute of Technology and working in a downtown architecture firm. Working with Heitman Retail Properties, she moved to Miami — where she lived on a boat in Key Biscayne — serving as facilities director at The Falls (which Taubman managed from 1997 – 2004) and tenant coordinator during the early development of Dolphin Mall (which Taubman opened in 2001). She became facilities director at The Mall at Green Hills in 2001.
 
“This is my third time as a Taubman employee,” said Norah. “I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to work for terrific companies and manage distinctive centers that are worth the effort and investment to stay relevant to their customers and communities. There was no Nordstrom, Louis Vuitton or Tiffany’s here when I came to the center in 2001. It’s been satisfying for me to be a part of Green Hills’ repositioning and physical transition to a dominant luxury destination, which expanded with Taubman’s acquisition and Kimberly’s arrival as general manager. She’s been a great teacher and I will miss working by her side every day.”
 
“From my first day on the job here at Green Hills, we’ve been under construction,” said Kimberly. “First came our new 700-space parking deck, then the relocation of Dillard’s to a beautiful new store, and last year the opening of the amazing 60,000 square foot RH Nashville, our state’s only Restoration Hardware design gallery. During that time we’ve completed major renovation throughout the property. We opened our expansion wing with 130,000 square feet of new tenant space. And we’ve added convenient deck parking under the new wing and Dillard’s store. Believe me, you could never tackle such an ambitious redevelopment schedule and keep the center operating smoothly without a super-talented facilities director.” 
 
Kimberly is looking forward to spending time in her new home in North Carolina. “My husband and I love the outdoors,” said Kimberly. “But I think the thing I will miss most in retirement is the daily interaction with people you experience in a retail environment. While there certainly will be continuing change in retailing as stores embrace online shopping and integrate omni-channel opportunities into their business strategies, I think that human interaction will always be at the heart of successful retailing. It’s been an enjoyable constant in my life since I was 15 years old.”
 
“This is an exciting time to be in retail and to live in Nashville,” said Norah. “You have to constantly be creative to make the center the place retailers and customers choose. I love that challenge. And I’m very optimistic about our market. Construction continues all around us and Nashville has never been a more dynamic, growing place. Nashville has been my home for the last 18 years, and Kimberly has given me great opportunities to interact with the community on behalf of the center. I’m going to especially enjoy that part of my new responsibilities.”
 
“We couldn’t be more confident in the success of the leadership transition at The Mall at Green Hills,” said David Harris, Vice President, Regional Management/Center Operations. “It’s been great to have Norah, who’s played a senior role at the property for 18 years, working with Kimberly, one of our most experienced, accomplished general managers, for the last six years. These talented professionals built a very positive working relationship while assuring a bright future for The Mall at Green Hills. We thank Kimberly for her 29 years of extraordinary service with Taubman and wish her and her family all the best in retirement. And we look forward to Norah’s continuing success as the new general manager at The Mall at Green Hills.”