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Belk will close its Roosevelt Square store in January, affecting more than 50 jobs.
Jax Daily Record Friday, Jul. 8, 201612:00 PM EST

Belk closing presents development possibilities for Roosevelt Square

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Belk Inc.’s closure at Roosevelt Square makes way for redevelopment at the Westside shopping center.

“Belk’s exit opens the door for the owner to upgrade and redesign this portion of the shopping center,” said Carrie Smith, regional managing partner of the Franklin Street real estate company.

Belk said Thursday it will close its store at 4535 Roosevelt Blvd. in January, affecting more than 50 jobs. The 63,000-square-foot stand-alone building was part of the original Roosevelt Mall.

Smith said the closing presents an opportunity for property owner Dewberry Capital Corp.

She expects a lot of retail interest in the site because there is no available big-box space in that part of the Westside and a number of stores make sense there.

Roosevelt Square is near the established Riverside, Avondale and Ortega neighborhoods.

“Sporting goods, home improvement or even a theater would be great,” Smith said.

Vice President Collis McGeachy at the CBRE Inc. commercial real estate company anticipates the property owner will take down the Belk building and redevelop that area.

“More than likely, they will do one or two mid-size boxes along with some shop space,” he said, also suggesting a theater could be an option.

A representative from Dewberry Capital did not return a phone call Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Notice with the state that 52 jobs would be cut Dec. 30 through Jan. 15. The company said it notified 51 employees of the closing and was checking on the one-job discrepancy.

Spokeswoman Jessica Graham said Thursday the company decided to close the store after evaluating its business plans and competitive position in the area market. She said the lease was coming to an end.

“We believe closing the store is in the best long-term interests of Belk,” she said.

Graham said store associates in good standing were offered a transfer to another location. Any who choose not to transfer will be offered a severance package, she said.

The Roosevelt Square store is one of five area Belk stores. The others are in Atlantic North, The Avenues, Orange Park Mall and the Ponce de Leon Mall in St. Augustine. Belk closed its store in Regency Square Mall in February 2015 as it opened the Atlantic North location.

Atlanta-based Dewberry Capital bought Roosevelt Mall in 1997 and redeveloped it. Dewberrycapital.com said the 309,360-square-foot mall was under “highly distressed circumstances.”

Built in 1961 and later expanded, the property “suffered from a lack of maintenance and had fallen into a dilapidated and mismanaged state,” the website said.

Dewberry Capital “de-malled” the property and converted it into an open-air lifestyle center, anchored by Publix Super Markets Inc. and Stein Mart, among many more tenants.

The Belk building, then a Gayfers store, became a stand-alone retailer. Belk opened there in 1998.

The first phase of Roosevelt Square was completed in 1999, adding a new Publix and a 7,000-square-foot Belk Home Store.

The former Publix was renovated for Stein Mart and the Belk store also was remodeled.

The final phase of redevelopment was completed in 2003 with the addition of more tenant space.

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