Belk confirms it will build new store at Atlantic North
Belk confirmed Friday that it will open a new store at northwest Atlantic and Kernan boulevards in 2015. Construction is scheduled to begin next July.
Jessica Graham, vice president of communications and community relations at the Charlotte, N.C.-based company, said Belk has not made any decisions about other store locations.
That would include the future of the store in Regency Square Mall, which is 3.3 miles from the Atlantic North shopping center where the new Belk will be built. Atlantic North currently is anchored by Academy Sports Outdoors and LA Fitness.
The plans have raised questions about the future of Belk in the struggling Regency Square, which was one of the area’s first regional malls when built in 1967.
Regency executives have not commented.
Site plans filed with the city show the Atlantic North Belk as a 95,000-square-foot store, about half the size of the 188,800-square-foot Belk at Regency.
The plans, filed by property owner Atlantic North LLC, whose manager is developer Toney Sleiman, also show a new supermarket – Earth Fare, an Asheville, N.C.-based organic and natural foods market chain that has more than 30 stores in nine Southeastern states.
Earth Fare's only Florida store is in Tallahassee, according to its website. Earth Fare plans an almost 24,000-square-foot grocery market adjacent to Academy Sports.
Earth Fare has not responded to a request for comment.
The Belk store at Atlantic North, at 11901 Atlantic Blvd., is shown at the western end of the expanded strip-style shopping center.
Belk would cap the western end and LA Fitness would cap the eastern side.
In addition to Belk and Earth Fare, four more new stores would be built to link the center. No names were provided.
Also, seven outparcels are shown, lining Atlantic and Kernan boulevards. A 7-Eleven already is open there.
Belk has three stores in the market – at Regency Square, The Avenues mall and Roosevelt Square.
Regency Square has been losing tenants in recent years.
The Daily Record reported Aug. 5 that Regency's occupancy level dropped even further in the first half of the year, according to a quarterly report from its owner, General Growth Properties Inc., filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The mall's 1.4 million square feet of space was just 47.6 percent leased as of June 30, down from 60.1 percent at the end of 2012.
Chicago-based General Growth listed Regency Square's occupancy as "not available" in its first-quarter report.
The company's quarterly reports continue to say that Regency Square has been "transferred to the special servicer," which is trying to renegotiate the loan on the property, without giving more details.
The Daily Record reported in June that a consultant for a distressed debt advisory firm met with city officials for exploratory talks on possible uses for the mall.
Rockwood Real Estate Advisors of New York has been retained to market Regency Square to qualified investors, according to an offering statement obtained by the Daily Record.
The offering says the 1.4 million-square-foot Regency Square has "a number of distinct advantages," including "a proposed 225,000 square foot power center redevelopment, which will significantly increase retail traffic to many of the Property's existing retail tenants."
The anchor tenants are listed as Belk and JCPenney. Sears and the Dillard's clearance center are connected to the mall but are separately owned buildings.
Belk is at the center of the enclosed mall and customers use the store as a pass-through from the Penney-anchored wing on the east to the Sears-anchored wing on the west.