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Belk is closing its Regency Square Mall store in February.
Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Sep. 16, 201412:00 PM EST

Regency Belk closing in February, new store to open in March

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Belk Inc. confirmed Monday what has long been expected — it will close its Regency Square Mall store in anticipation of moving to a new store under construction several miles east at the Atlantic North shopping center.

Spokeswoman Jessica Graham said by email Monday that Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk will not renew the lease at Regency Square, which is at 9501 Arlington Expressway.

A going-out-of-business sale is scheduled to start in mid-December, the store should close in mid-February and the new store will open in March.

Belk’s new store is under construction at 11901 Atlantic Blvd. at northwest Kernan and Atlantic boulevards. LA Fitness, Academy Sports + Outdoors and Earth Fare already anchor that center.

The new Belk is about 96,000 square feet, which is smaller than the Regency Square store. Graham said it was too soon to know how many of the 80 Belk employees at Regency will transfer.

Belk’s departure raises questions about what happens to its space.

It anchors the center of mall, with JCPenney at the other end of the East Mall and Sears at the other end of the West Mall.

Mall General Manager Jim Kramer said Monday the two-story, 144,000-square-foot Belk space could be part of a bid for the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. consolidated office center, which seeks a 226,400-square-foot operations hub.

Kramer said a company, which would hold the master lease, submitted the bid last week to Tallahassee-based Citizens, proposing 300,000 square feet of Regency Square space that might include the Belk store.

The company would lease the space from Regency and re-lease to Citizens. Six organizations submitted site bids to Citizens, which is expected to make a decision Nov. 3.

Kramer said the 300,000-square-foot proposal to Citizens would include the south side of the

West Mall from Belk to Sears, he said.

On the north side of the West Mall, Kramer said a church has leased 15,000 square feet of space and he is talking with a charter school to take 35,000 square

feet.

Belk is one of three anchors at Regency Square, a struggling 47-year-old mall bought in February by New York-based owners who redevelop aging properties.

Dillard’s operates a clearance center at the end of a wing in the West Mall as well.

Belk holds a central role as a pass-through between the busier East Mall and largely vacant West Mall.

Owners have been consolidating retail tenants in the East Mall and are seeking nontraditional tenants for the West Mall.

Regency Mall Realty LLC, which is the lead company that bought Regency, is a joint venture of Namdar Realty Group LLC and Mason Asset Management, both of Great Neck, N.Y. It bought the mall for $13 million on Feb. 14.

The regional mall was built in 1967, later expanded and then battered by the loss of tenants to newer shopping centers in growing parts of town.

Gate expanding at Busch Drive

Gate Petroleum Co. wants to nearly double the number of fueling positions at its Busch Drive operation just off Interstate 95.

The Jacksonville-based company wants to add 12 fueling positions to the 16 it already has at 570 Busch Drive, accommodating the expansion by demolishing an adjacent former Applebee’s restaurant it bought this year.

Jacksonville-based Gate received the demolition permit in late August to take down the restaurant.

Plans filed with the city and the St. Johns River Water Management District show Gate will expand the fuel island canopy to accommodate the total 28 positions after the development.

The expansion involves adding six dispensers to the eight there now.

Eight of the fueling positions will offer ethanol-free gas.

The Busch Drive Gate, developed in 2008, is east of I-95.

The 1.5-acre former Applebee’s site sits next to the 1.9-acre Gate site.

Gate expects to start construction in November, but has no specific timeline yet for completion.

Gate continues to expand in Northeast Florida.

It recently filed site plans for a Gate Food Store at the Collins Crossing development that will be anchored by Walmart in Southwest Jacksonville.

That would be at least the fifth new area Gate convenience store and gas station under development in the past year amid a highly competitive market.

Gate’s other newer stores are near the St. Johns Town Center; in East Baymeadows; a replacement store along Emerson Street; and at the World Commerce Center along International Golf Parkway in St. Johns County.

Another is planned along Philips Highway in Bayard. Gate intends to start development there in the spring.

Gate has 73 stores in five states – Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and North and South Carolina. Gate has 41 convenience stores in Northeast Florida and 32 in Duval County alone.

Echo Global moving, expanding to Flagler Center

Echo Global Logistics, formerly known in Jacksonville as Comcar Logistics, is moving from EastPark in Southside to Flagler Center, more than doubling its office space.

The third-party logistics company is moving from 1,800 square feet at 11653 Central Parkway, Suite 206, into 3,745 square at 12740 Gran Bay Parkway W. Dav-Lin Interior Contractors is renovating the new space at almost $77,000.

Lane Turner, who formed Comcar Logistics in February 2011, said the office would move by Oct. 10. He said Chicago-based Echo Global Logistics bought the company in February. Echo Logistics has 21 locations nationwide.

Turner said the existing Jacksonville space opened with two employees in 2011 and now houses 10. After the move, he hopes to add about 15 more employees within 12 to 18 months.

“The economy is definitely coming back and we have a lot of go-getters in here that are tasked with finding and securing new business,” he said.

Hibbett Sports to open along Blanding

Hibbett Sports is adding a fifth store in Jacksonville.

The chain intends to open at 3606 Blanding Blvd. in the Cedar Hills Shopping Center after Argos Builders LLC completes a $120,000 build-out of 4,642 square feet of space. The city is reviewing a building permit.

Hibbett Sports has four stores in north and west Jacksonville in Gateway Town Center at 5200 Norwood Ave.; Commonwealth Shopping Center at 1020 Edgewood Ave. N.; Jacksonville Regional Shopping Center at 3000 Dunn Ave.; and 6733 103rd St.

Among its other area stores are those in Macclenny, Palatka, St. Augustine and Yulee.

Hibbett Sports Inc., based in Birmingham, Ala., operates at least 910 Hibbett Sports stores, selling athletic footwear, apparel and equipment, and 17 Sports Additions athletic shoe stores in 31 states.

The company operates sporting goods stores in small and mid-sized markets, predominantly in the South, Southwest, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.

Hibbett Sports focuses on operating about 5,000-square-foot stores primarily in strip centers which are usually influenced by a Wal-Mart store.

[email protected]

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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