A New York-based venture of Mason Asset Management Inc. and Namdar Realty Group LLC bought Regency Square Mall for $13 million.
The deed was recorded this morning with the Duval County Clerk of Court.
Mason and Namdar are based in Great Neck, N.Y., and invest in aging shopping centers that have suffered declines in occupancy and prestige. The deed was signed Friday.
The mall property was valued for 2013 tax purposes at almost $29 million. The purchase price is $16 million less than that.
The 47-year-old Regency Square has anchored the Arlington area for almost half a century.
Regency Mall Realty LLC, Regency CH LLC and Regency Nassim LLC are the buyers.
They bought the property from RS Properties Inc., in care of Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc., which had turned the struggling 1.4 million-square-foot center over to a special servicer. RS Properties bought the mall in 1991.
Regency Square opened in 1967 at 9501 Arlington Expressway as the area’s first major regional shopping area outside of Downtown and in Arlington, considered Jacksonville’s first suburb.
The center doubled in size in 1981-82 and added more space in the early 1990s. It bustled with retail strongholds like Ivey’s, May Department Stores, Montgomery Ward, the glamorous Lillie Rubin boutique and the fondly remembered Mr. Dunderbak’s deli, which emanated an old world atmosphere in its dark-paneled space near JC Penney.
However, the mall’s retail occupancy dwindled to about 38 percent by the end of 2013 in the wake of changing demographics, at least three newer shopping centers built in Southside and North Jacksonville and several recessions.
Yet Regency continues to command a high-profile area of Arlington just off of the Southside Connector and not far from the Interstate 295 East Beltway. The mall takes up about 110 acres.
Mason and Namdar have a history in redeveloping aging malls. Namdar President Igal Namdar has declined to discuss plans for Regency, referring questions to Mason Asset President Elliot Nassim, who also declined to comment on plans until a sale was completed.
The mall is anchored by JCPenney and Sears, as well as a Dillard’s clearance center and a Belk store, although a new Belk is being developed 3.3 miles east at Atlantic and Kernan boulevards. Sears and Dillard’s own their stores.
The mall is most heavily occupied from the Belk store east to JCPenney, while the area from Belk west to Sears is largely vacant.
Regency Mall tenants were notified in December of a possible sale to Mason Asset Management and Namdar Realty Group.
In its recent year-end financial report, General Growth Properties reported that occupancy at Regency Square dropped to 37.9 percent from 43.8 percent at the end of the third quarter and 60.1 percent at the end of 2012.
General Growth continued to say that Regency Square has been “transferred to the special servicer,” which has been handling the property, without giving more details. The mall has not been listed on the GGP.com website for some time.
Namdar Realty Group is a privately held commercial real estate investment and management firm that says on its namdarrealtygroup.com that it owns more than 5 million square feet of commercial real estate in the United States and continues “to grow at an unprecedented pace.”
It says the company’s portfolio includes a number of retail strip centers and medical and-or office buildings.
The Namdar portfolio listed online shows at least 50 properties in states including Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
Curiosity about potential tenants for Regency could be addressed by the tenants Namdar has signed for other properties.
Namdar listed on its website the names of more than 40 companies as prominent tenants in its properties, including JCPenney, Sears, Fashion Bug, Hibbett Sports, Hallmark, Family DollarRadioShack, The Shoe Show, Sally Beauty, AT&T and Verizon.
Regency’s purchase would not be Namdar’s first in Jacksonville. It bought the Jacksonville Regional Shopping Center at 3000 Dunn Ave. for $6.8 million last year. That 220,000-square-foot center is anchored by Winn-Dixie and JCPenney.
Namdar and Mason also bought the DeSoto Square Mall in Manatee County in late 2012, and its issues were described similarly to Regency’s. It embarked on a facelift, security improvements and more community involvement.