Soccer organization, whose ownership includes Tim Tebow, considering closed Sears at Regency for stadium

“This is real,” Council member Ken Amaro says of the plans by Sporting Club Jacksonville for the facility.

Sporting Club Jacksonville is considering the former Sears site at Regency Square in Arlington for a soccer stadium.
Sporting Club Jacksonville is considering the former Sears site at Regency Square in Arlington for a soccer stadium.
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Jacksonville City Council member Ken Amaro confirmed April 18 that the ownership group working to bring professional soccer to Northeast Florida is considering the closed Sears site at Regency Square Mall for development of a new stadium facility.

Sporting Club Jacksonville, previously called JAXUSL, is part of the United Soccer League. Plans for Sporting Club Jacksonville include men’s and women’s teams. It says its name  will commonly be abbreviated to “Sporting JAX.” 

“I know it is a fact that the USL folks want to get the Sears portion,” said Amaro, whose District 1 includes the Regency area.

“It’s public knowledge that the USL wants to put a franchise there and acquire the Sears property. Where it stands, I don’t know, Amaro said.

This is the area of Regency Square owned by Transformco Properties. It includes the closed Sears store and surrounding parking lot.

Action News Jax reporter Ben Becker first reported late April 17 that the site of the Regency Square Mall could soon be torn down to make way for a major retail redevelopment, including a soccer stadium.

Becker said multiple sources told Action News Jax that a Jacksonville-based ownership group, which includes Florida Gators veteran Tim Tebow, is aiming to build a soccer stadium at the site.

According to Action News Jax, Steve Livingstone, president and CEO of Sporting JAX, responded to the potential plans for the soccer stadium, saying:

“Our priority is focused on identifying the right location to develop world-class facilities for our men’s and women’s pro soccer teams. We’re evaluating several sites in Northeast Florida and will share more details as they are finalized.”

Sporting Club Jacksonville says its goal is to operate a men’s professional USL Championship Club, a women’s professional USL Super League Club and a USL Youth Academy.

The closed Sears store at Regency Square Mall.
Photo by Karen Brune Mathis

It is working to develop a 15,000-capacity community stadium and training facilities to host the clubs in Northeast Florida.

The ownership group, led by majority stakeholder Ricky Caplin, includes Tebow, former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor and Livingstone.

Caplin said in December the location of the club’s stadium had not been determined.

“I think we have it narrowed down to our final two sites,” he said.

The Sears site

Transformco Properties, based in a Chicago suburb, is marketing the former Sears property and is marketing many of its other properties nationwide.

Sears Holdings Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Oct. 15, 2018.

Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert won the bid to buy the Sears Holding Corp. assets. Through Transform Dove Holdco LLC, he bought the Regency and Orange Park Sears stores Feb. 11, 2019.

Through TF Jacksonville FL LLC, Lampert paid $4.1 million for the almost 200,000-square-foot Regency store at 9501 Arlington Expressway. It closed in 2016.

The Shopping Center Group Partner and Executive Vice President Stephanie McCullough and Senior Vice President Kelly Pulignano are the Jacksonville representatives.

TSCG has had no comment other than to confirm it represents Transformco.

Transformco could not be reached for comment April 18.

The TSCG brochure says the 18.38-acre property comprises the two-story former Sears department store totaling 133,542 square feet and the adjacent Sears Auto building, about 15,688 square feet.

It was built in 1981 at the western end of Regency Square Mall.

The brochure says the Sears property spans more than 344 feet of frontage along the Arlington Expressway.

Mall could be torn down

Action News Jax said Becker also learned that in addition to the soccer stadium, there would be a facility for disabled athletes.

It said Regency Square Mall could be torn down but it’s expected that Impact Church will remain on the site, according to a church source to Becker.

The bulk of Regency Square Mall is owned by Regency Realty LLC, a partnership of Mason Asset Management and Namdar Realty Group LLC, both based in Great Neck, New York.

Ricky Caplin, Tim Tebow and Fred Taylor answer questions from news organizations after the JAXUSL soccer club announcement event Dec. 12.
Photo by David Crumpler

Along with Sears, Impact Church and Dillard’s own their properties at Regency Square.

Lake City-based Blackwater Development LLC announced Oct. 16, 2023, that it has a contract to buy the mall.

On April 18, Blackwater Development did not confirm that Sporting JAX  will redevelop it.

“There are no plans for the soccer team to be on the Regency Square Mall site that Blackwater Development has under contract,” said Rurmell McGee, president of Blackwater Development.

Blackwater Development LLC President Rurmell McGee

“We are currently early in the initial phase of the due diligence process. Our primary objective at this juncture is to conduct a thorough assessment of the property and determine the project’s feasibility,” McGee said then.

He said he expected the sale could close in the third quarter of 2024, which would be July-September.

McGee said Blackwater looked forward to “the opportunity to collaborate with state and local officials, as well as engaging with the Jacksonville community, in an effort to create a comprehensive plan for the revitalization of the Regency Square Mall property.”

“I wholeheartedly believe that a property of this magnitude, combined with its historical significance, holds a pivotal role in shaping the future development and growth of this market,” McGee said.

Asked about specific plans, “It’s really too early to give a definitive answer but we believe this property best serves the market as a mixed-use development.”

McGee said he had no further statement “until we are further along.”

The 57-year-old mall has few tenants left and owners have faced extensive code-compliance fines.

Regency Realty LLC paid $13 million for the bulk of the 1.4 million-square-foot mall Feb. 14, 2014.

The buyers were Regency Mall Realty LLC (45%), Regency CH LLC (45%) and Regency Nassim LLC (10%).

Property records show the group now owns almost 74 acres and about 980,200 square feet of retail space at the mall.

‘This is real’

“The seriousness of this is real. The sincerity of this is real,” Amaro said of the Sporting JAX interest.

Jacksonville City Council member Ken Amaro

“To my knowledge, a lot of money has been invested already to try to make it happen,” he said.

“They really see Regency as where this is supposed to be.”

Amaro said that he and the Deegan administration “think that what is envisioned is transformative and is needed for this very important piece of real estate.”

Amaro said he reached out to Namdar for the status of the sale.

The brief April 8 response:

“Things are moving along with Blackwater.”



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