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- 2013 - December - 31st -

Belk to open Kernan store in March 2015

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Belk Inc. intends to open its East Arlington department store in March 2015, but hasn't announced whether the nearby Regency Square Mall store will be affected.

Jessica Graham, vice president of communications and community relations, said construction is scheduled to start in July on Belk's new store at 11901 Atlantic Blvd., at northwest Kernan and Atlantic boulevards.

She said she had no more information.

Target Contractors Inc., an affiliate of Sleiman Enterprises, is the contractor for the $3.5 million shell structure. Construction for that was approved last week. The interior build-out will be permitted separately.

Jacksonville-based Sleiman is developing the Atlantic North shopping center that will be anchored by Belk and already features LA Fitness and Academy Sports & Outdoors.

Belk is based in Charlotte, N.C., and has three stores in Jacksonville — at the Avenues mall, Roosevelt Square and the struggling Regency Square Mall, which is 3.3 miles west of the new Belk location at Atlantic North.

Graham has said Belk has not made any decisions about the other store locations.

Regency Square, which was one of the area's first regional malls when built in 1967, has been losing tenants.

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.

David Keating, vice president of corporate communications for General Growth Properties, said Monday by email that he doesn't comment about the operations of any of the company's malls.

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 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.

Baptist Health buys Aetna parcel

Baptist Health is adding property on the Southbank.

Baptist, through Southern Baptist Hospital of Florida Inc., paid $970,000 for a triangular parcel of property at the 841 Prudential Drive campus for the Aetna Building.

Baptist Health Public Relations Director Cindy Hamilton said the property includes a small, temporary building owned by the developer. The structure will be removed.

"We do not own the building, only the land, and we have no immediate plans to develop the property," she said.

A group led by Boca Raton-based IP Capital Partners LLC bought the Aetna Building on Jacksonville's Downtown Southbank last week for $55.5 million.

GV-IP Jacksonville Owner LLC bought the building from South Shore Group Partners LLC. Bank of America issued a $38.8 million mortgage.

Baptist made its purchase from South Shore on the same day. The Baptist Medical Center campus is across the street at 800 Prudential Drive.

Wine & Canvas studio to open in February

Sarah and Joshua Wathen intend to open a studio for their Wine & Canvas franchise in early February at 8206 Philips Highway, No. 5, near Baymeadows Road.

Wine & Canvas, based in Indianapolis, Ind., calls itself "The Painting Class with Cocktails."

Sarah Wathen said they plan to have a permit to serve beer and wine at the studio.

Wathen said by email that the Jacksonville operation already hosts events at bars and restaurants in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Fleming Island and the Beaches.

For example, the wineandcanvas.com site's Jacksonville tab shows that "Bird of Paradise" is the featured painting from 6-9 p.m. Jan. 14 at Sliders Seafood Grille & Oyster Bar in Neptune Beach.

Events are posted from Jan. 7-29 of featured paintings at venues around the area. Wine & Canvas updates its calendar on the 20th of each month to include events for the next month.

Wathen said they also will offer Cookies & Canvas events for children after the studio opens.

The company describes itself as "a mobile business that brings the party to your favorite venues, corporate events, or living room."

It says its artists will instruct customers "step-by-step through re-creating the featured painting of the day. At the end of the event, you'll take home a work of art that you created."

Wine & Canvas events last 2.5-3 hours and are priced at $35 a person. Wine & Canvas provides the artist, canvas, paint, brushes, easels and aprons. Refreshments and alcohol are not included — the menu and drinks are up to the venues and the customers.

The site shows Wine & Canvas operates in 20 states.

Coles promotes Sharky's Oyster Bar and Lounge

Laveranues Coles Jr., who is developing a Downtown restaurant called Levels, also is promoting the Sharky's Oyster Bar and Lounge in Southside along Philips Highway.

Trouble Livin Life LLC, which Coles filed with state in September, is listed on the building permit for renovations to the 5800 Philips Highway building where Sharky's will operate.

Coles is managing member of Trouble Livin Life LLC.

Braughton Construction Inc. is the contractor on a permit issued Dec. 26 for a $70,000 renovation for "repair and alterations and repairing condemnation list" from the city at the 17,000-square-foot building.

Property records show that the structure, which has operated as a gentleman's club, is owned by HI LLC of Coral Gables, whose agent is Daniel Stuzin.

Sharky's Oyster Bar and Lounge recently filed with the state Division of Corporations under the Fictitious Name Law to operate at the Philips Highway location. It was issued to Aundre Hannon.

Coles posted Monday on his Facebook page to "be sure to stop by 5800 philips hwy. sharkys oyster bar."

Another post from Dre's Custom Cycles said the soft opening was Monday night and regular hours start today at 9 p.m. Hannon has operated DCC Custom Inc., state records show.

Coles, who lives in St. Augustine, is a Jacksonville native and retired NFL wide receiver who is developing the Levels restaurant Downtown at 323-325 E. Bay St.

Coles told the Daily Record on Dec. 5 that he expected to complete renovations and open Levels by March 1. It will offer gourmet burgers, chicken wings, shrimp, nachos, fries, salads and more.

Coles, who turned 36 on Sunday, played football for Ribault High School and Florida State University before spending 11 seasons in the NFL. He played with the New York Jets, the Washington Redskins and the Cincinnati Bengals, ending his career with the Jets in 2010.

The ground-level floor at Levels would feature a lounge, DJ and sports-bar environment and food would be served there. The upstairs would be the main floor and feature comedy acts, live bands and offer VIP seating.

Coles expects Levels to open seven days a week at the start and will adjust the schedule based on business. He envisions it initially will open for lunch and stay open until 2 a.m. Friday-Saturday and close about 10 p.m. on weeknights. He said the Sunday business would probably be linked to football hours.

Through Past Trouble LLC, Coles bought the building for $750,000 from 325 East Bay Street LLC, whose manager is Insetta Family Properties LLC. Insetta Family Properties issued a $640,000 mortgage the day of the purchase to Past Trouble, records show.

The vacant 16,068-square-foot building was developed in 1904 and renovated in 1982. Its use is commercial, residential and office and its heated area is 10,677 square feet.

On Nov. 25, Coles created a limited liability company called Smooth Trouble LLC based at 323 E. Bay St.

He also said his next venture might be at the Landing, which is anticipating renovations. One possibility he mentioned was a bowling entertainment venue.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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