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Aeropostale will close its Regency store by mid-November.
Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Oct. 20, 201512:00 PM EST

Aeropostale closing at Regency Square; car museum moving into West Mall

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Aeropostale will close its Regency Square Mall store by Nov. 15.

Regency Square General Manager Jim Kramer said the store, part of a national chain, will close when its lease expires.

The location is selling its goods at a discount. Signs within the store state the fixtures also are for sale.

Aeropostale Inc. said through a spokeswoman it is the company’s policy not to comment on store closures, and that it is constantly evaluating its real estate portfolio.

The company, based in New York, sells casual clothing and accessories to a target market of 14- to 17-year-olds.

Aeropostale also has stores at St. Johns Town Center, The Avenues mall, Orange Park Mall and the St. Augustine Premium Outlets.

The closing follows another high-profile departure. Belk Inc. closed its Regency store in February as it opened a new location at Kernan and Atlantic boulevards. Wet Seal closed its stores at Regency and the Avenues in January as part of a closure of 338 locations.

The 48-year-old Regency mall was struggling with low occupancy when it was sold in February 2014 to New York-based buyers.

The new owners hired Kramer to help lease the mall, which consolidated most of the remaining retail stores from Regency Square’s West Mall into the East Mall, which is anchored by JCPenney.

Kramer said Monday he is not aware that any other stores will be closing.

Occupancy in the East Mall, including the food court but excluding JCPenney and the former Belk space, is 75 to 85 percent, Kramer said. He said that side of Regency Square has 220,000 gross leasable square feet of small shops.

Among other changes within the East Mall, GNC moved there from the largely vacant West Mall, and the locally owned Sports Mania moved from near JCPenney to a shop closer to the front entrance.

Kramer also said an existing tenant wants to expand into the former Lunar Mini Golf spot to sell clothing and accessories.

In the nearly empty West Mall, anchors Sears and a Dillard’s clearance center continue to operate, although those stores are corporately owned and were not involved in the mall’s purchase.

Sears has closed off its entrance to the West Mall corridor.

A church has opened in the West Mall and there are signs of more potential activity.

Kramer said two tenants are considering the former Belk space, which bridges the East and West Malls.

Also, International Décor Outlet has hung a banner on an entrance on the Arlington Expressway side of West Mall, although Kramer said no lease has been signed. He said the company wants to lease 100,000 square feet of space.

International Décor Outlet LLC was registered with the state in April. It describes itself as a direct-to-consumer outlet for manufacturers and retailers of interior décor and home-improvement materials.

Its managers are Karin Jia Lee and Warren Hickernell. The company is based in Baymeadows. A representative did not return a call for comment Monday.

Its website says global manufacturers, including from China, will sell from the storefronts in the locations it leases.

International Décor Outlet says on its website, idooutlet.com, it expects a grand opening early next year of its first location at the Darien Outlet Center in Darien, Ga., and that it will develop in seven more sites, including Jacksonville.

Also in the West Mall, the Jacksonville Automotive & Motorcycle Museum is moving into the former two-story Montgomery Ward space.

Its website says it will house classic, exotic, hot rod, racing and unique cars, and that it also will provide educational programs. It says JAMM is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization in the state.

Bruce Marble, director of the museum, said Monday it should open after the first of the year now that it has secured zoning changes.

Marble has begun painting and organizing the space, which he said has been vacant for five years. The museum leases both levels and will start with 60,000 square feet on the first floor.

He expects to display 100 cars and motorcycles along with simulators and other features. The museum also will provide training to teach auto work, restoration and other courses, the museumusa.org website says.

Regency Square, like older regional malls that are losing tenants to newer shopping areas, has been in transition.

“It’s not going to be a true regional mall. It will be a mixed-use mall,” Kramer said.

Regency Square was sold to Mason Asset Management Inc. and Namdar Realty Group LLC in February 2014 for $13 million.

The property included the AMC Regency 24 theater complex, which Mason Asset Management and Namdar Realty Group sold for $26.2 million in May 2015 to a Kansas City-based real estate investment trust.

That means the New York owners recouped their investment and made an additional $13.2 million within 15 months.

Regency Square’s total size is 1.4 million square feet.

First Coast Business Hall of Fame to honor 4

Four businessmen, including Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, are scheduled to be honored Nov. 18 as the 2015 class of the First Coast Business Hall of Fame.

Khan, Brooks Rehabilitation CEO Doug Baer, Jacksonville University President Tim Cost and Fidelity National Information Services Inc. Executive Chairman Frank Martire will be recognized at the 17th annual event, scheduled at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.

Proceeds will benefit the Florida Council on Economic Education and the Center on Economic & Financial Education at Florida State College at Jacksonville.

EverBank Financial Corp. Chairman and CEO Rob Clements is the chair of the event and selection committee. He was honored in the Class of 2012.

Individual tickets are $250. Sponsorships range $2,500 to $15,000. For information, call (813) 289-8489 or email [email protected]. The website is fcee.org.

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