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Jax Daily Record Friday, Jan. 5, 201808:34 AM EST

Belk store coming down at Roosevelt

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Dewberry Capital not commenting on redevelopment

It looks like the walls are coming down for the potential redevelopment of Roosevelt Square.

Dewberry Capital Corp. intends to demolish the closed Belk store and a former pharmacy on opposite ends of Roosevelt Square in west Jacksonville.

Atlanta-based Dewberry has not responded to calls, including one Thursday, about its plans to redevelop the neighborhood shopping center, despite permitting and financing that herald a project.

Dewberry Capital Corp. bought Roosevelt Square 20 years ago and completed two redevelopment phases in 1999 and 2003. Plans, permits and a mortgage indicate a third is pending.

Among the latest moves, Atlanta-based Dewberry Capital, through Roosevelt Square LLLP, applied to the city Thursday to take down the department store at 4535 Roosevelt Blvd. at a cost of $250,000 and the pharmacy at 4397 Roosevelt Blvd. at a cost of $50,000.

The former Belk is a one-story, 70,000-square-foot stand-alone building on the south side of Roosevelt Square. Belk closed there in January 2017.

The pharmacy is a one-story, 1,700-square-foot structure on the northeast corner.

No contractor is listed. Mark Dowst & Associates Inc. is the agent.

Dewberry President John Dewberry signed documents as the owner.

Roosevelt Square operates on 29 acres along Roosevelt Boulevard, south of San Juan Avenue. It is anchored by Publix Super Markets Inc. and Stein Mart Inc.

Dewberry Capital bought the former enclosed Roosevelt Mall 20 years ago and “de-malled” it into an open-air retail center. 

The enclosed mall was built in 1961.

Dewberry’s first phase of redevelopment in 1999 included adding a new Publix; renovating the existing Publix for Stein Mart; renovating Belk; and adding a Belk Home Store.

That phase also added more tenant spaces.

In 2003, Dewberry completed another phase of redevelopment that added more tenant space.

Versions of another redevelopment circulating since at least 2016 have not been confirmed by the company.

In a step toward renovations last year, the St. Johns River Water Management District issued a permit for a 5-acre redevelopment site that included removal of the Belk store and rebuilding one set of storefronts.

That plan showed a large portion of the Belk site would remain undeveloped for now.

In another step, at the opposite end of the mall near the pharmacy, Stein Mart confirmed last year that it renewed its lease in a 46,000-square-foot space and plans to renovate it.

Stein Mart also said it will be flanked by Ulta Beauty and a pet supplies retailer, both new to the center.

That pet store likely is PetSmart.

In May, Protective Life Insurance Co. issued a $68.5 million mortgage to Roosevelt Square Limited LLLP. The loan matures in five years.

The agreement, signed and recorded in May, shows that Dewberry Capital intends to retain existing anchors Stein Mart and Publix and sign new tenant PetSmart.

Roosevelt Square serves the historic neighborhoods of Riverside, Avondale and Ortega, among others. Dewberry Capital says on dewberrycapital.com that the original 309,360-square-foot retail shopping center “was under highly distressed circumstances” when the company bought it.

“Roosevelt Square is one of the most valuable retail centers in the South and is anchored by one of the highest-grossing Publix stores,” it concludes.

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