Signs at the Roosevelt Square shopping center display renderings with the property named Ortega Park. They show what appears to be an apartment building near the former Belk store site and a retail plaza called Ortega Alley.

The Mathis Report: Roosevelt Square revamp may include apartments

Redeveloped shopping center also would get new name.
By: 
Aug. 24, 2018

Roosevelt Square’s third redevelopment under current ownership not only will result in a new look for the shopping center but also a new name – Ortega Park – and a new use – the addition of apartments.

Atlanta-based Dewberry Capital Corp. posted signs around the 29-acre Roosevelt Boulevard shopping center that show the renderings.

The biggest change is what appears to be an apartment complex on the south end of the property near the vacant site where the Belk store was demolished.

“Coming soon: Ortega Park” says one sign, which also shows the logo for “Dewberry Living.”

Another sign posted near Metro Diner shows what appears to be a retail plaza called “Ortega Alley.”

A rendering shows a retail plaza called "Ortega Alley"

“All shops open during construction,” say all the signs.

The renderings include existing anchors Stein Mart and Publix Super Markets Inc. as well as new tenant Ulta Beauty, which is under construction next to Stein Mart. LongHorn Steakhouse also is shown.

Dewberry representatives did not return a telephone call for comment.

District 14 City Council member Jim Love said Dewberry would need to rezone the property to a Planned Unit Development to add residential uses.

He expects the project would include a few hundred apartments. Dewberry previously discussed a project for about 300 units, but the developer’s plans and designs have changed over the past few years.

According to Love, Dewberry said it was considering a plan to eliminate a retention pond on-site and build a vault, which is an underground stormwater facility. That provides more space for development.

Love said Dewberry wants to build on a site now rented month-to-month by a car wash. 

Roosevelt Mall was built in 1961 as an enclosed shopping center.

Dewberry Capital bought the property in 1997 and “de-malled” it by taking down most of the center.

It redeveloped the property with buildings and strip centers with exterior entrances, completing the first phase of redevelopment in 1999 and a second phase in 2003.

Ortega Park represents a third phase.

What appears to be an apartment complex at Ortega Park, a new name for Roosevelt Square.

Dewberrycapital.com says its initial revitalization efforts had a dramatic impact on the surrounding communities.

The site, which is at southeast Roosevelt Boulevard and San Juan Avenue, serves the established Ortega, Avondale, Riverside and other Westside communities.

“The demand for apartments in the Riverside-Avondale-Ortega area is pretty heavy,” Love said.

In mid-2017, a life insurance company issued a $68.5 million mortgage to Roosevelt Square Limited Liability Limited Partnership, which is led by John Dewberry, president and CEO of Dewberry Capital.

The mortgage and security agreement and fixture filing stated the value of the center at almost $70 million.

Roosevelt Square’s buildings are occupied by stores, restaurants and services.

Fashion retailer Stein Mart renewed its lease within a center that is undergoing renovations and an expansion to include Ulta Beauty.

Belk closed in January 2017 and the building was demolished.

Redevelopment plans have circulated for years and Dewberry already is upgrading facades. Some of the designs indicated some buildings will be redeveloped.

Metro Diner is an existing property at Roosevelt Square.

For example, Metro Diner and Chase Bank are the only tenants in their building, which indicates Dewberry envisions redevelopment.

Love said Dewberry likely would not build an apartment complex more than five stories because a taller structure triggers higher construction costs.

The rendering on the signs shows a tall tower, but Love says that appears to be the existing Ortega Yacht Club condominiums behind the shopping center.

Love said the shopping center includes unused property.

“If there is empty land, people are going to put housing on it,” Love said of his district. “This plot of land has not been used to its fullest use.”

Love said that whatever is planned “has to fit.” That means it must meet parking, landscaping and other codes. 

“The public will have input once they put in their PUD,” he said of Dewberry.

Asked when that PUD would be submitted, Love said that based on the signs that Dewberry erected, “it’s got to be soon.”