Parts of Regency Square Mall could be demolished and redeveloped with housing, retail and entertainment

Pending due diligence, the prospective buyer could complete the purchase in early 2025 and start a 10-year project to reposition the Arlington mall property.

Blackwater Development LLC President Rurmell McGee, the prospective buyer of Regency Square Mall, speaks May 29 at “The Future of Arlington” panel discussion at Jacksonville University.
Blackwater Development LLC President Rurmell McGee, the prospective buyer of Regency Square Mall, speaks May 29 at “The Future of Arlington” panel discussion at Jacksonville University.
Photo by Karen Brune Mathis
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Major parts of Regency Square Mall would be demolished and the property redeveloped with multifamily housing, retail, entertainment and other uses pending the largely vacant regional mall’s sale, the prospective buyer said May 29.

That would not include Impact Church, the operating Dillard’s Clearance Center and the closed Sears stores, which have separate owners from the rest of the mall.

The entrance to Regency Square Mall at 9501 Arlington Expressway.
Photo by Karen Brune Mathis

All in all, it could be a five- to 10-year redevelopment.

Prospective buyer Blackwater Development LLC President Rurmell McGee said May 29 the purchase could be completed by the first quarter of 2025, pending the remaining due diligence and other issues.

Most 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. 

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%).

A sign next to garbage cans positing to capture rainwater from the leaking roof informs Regency Square Mall customers that Jimmy Jazz and Regency Health Foods have left the property.
Photo by Karen Brune Mathis

Property records show the group now owns almost 74 acres and about 980,200 square feet of retail space at the 57-year-old mall at 9501 Arlington Expressway.

Lake City-based Blackwater Development LLC announced Oct. 16, 2023, that it has a contract to buy that part of the mall. McGee said then he expected the sale could close in the third quarter of 2024.

Blackwater would own the east side of the mall from Impact Church, which bought the former Belk store, to and including the closed JC Penney store.

Blackwater also would own the west side of the mall from the church to the Sears and Dillard’s properties.

“You’ve got the church, you’ve got Namdar, and trying to make sure everybody’s expectations are met is really what we’re working through now,” McGee said.

Developed prominently at Atlantic Boulevard, Monument Road and the Arlington Expressway, Regency Square commanded the area’s retail attention since it opened in 1967 in Arlington before falling victim to competition, real estate trends and then disrepair.

A handful of tenants remain at Regency Square, including an event venue and alterations shop that lease spaces with exterior entries and three tenants inside the mall – a jewelry store, a dental office and a food court restaurant.

The Jimmy Jazz apparel store and now Regency Health Foods vacated the mall in recent weeks for other locations.

Timing and next steps

McGee said if the sale closes by the first quarter, there will be notification and discussions with existing tenants about their leases.

Timing of mall redevelopment “really depends on the delivery letters that you receive from any of the tenants,” McGee said.

“So I would say within the first year, you’ll start to see action and start to see movement, but a lot of it will be based on what the final plan is, and then what the delivery requirements are for the users that become a part of the project.”

Rogers Jewelers inside Regency Square Mall remains open.
Photo by Karen Brune Mathis

Florida law requires that notices to and from a landlord must be in writing and must be either hand-delivered or mailed, even if the rental agreement is oral. 

McGee said buying the property requires due diligence and then permitting, which also means “just working through whatever issues you find.”

“Trying to make sure everybody’s expectations are met is really what we’re looking for now (that) we’re working toward closing,” McGee said.

When that happens, demolition is expected.

“I think the only way for us to redevelop that property is to demo it. I can’t tell you when the demo will happen, but the demolition is a part of that,” he said.

The stained ceiling near the play area in Regency Square Mall.
Photo by Karen Brune Mathis

Developers often sell parts of their properties to companies or other landlords that want to build apartments, retail stores and restaurants.

“I think we’re open to all options,” he said, but the decision would be based on what makes sense for the project and what benefits the community.

 Blackwater also would buy two buildings that are part of the mall ownership but free-standing – the leased Firestone auto care center and the closed Piccadilly cafeteria.

The current owners have been racking up extensive city code compliance fees for ceiling leaks, holes and cracks, floor damage and exposed wiring. McGee said his group has been working on those.

“We’ve been in communications with the city. We think we have a good path forward with those,” he said.

“The city has been incredibly supportive in helping us trying to overcome some of those. So we’re confident and comfortable.”

‘Future of Arlington’ support

Supporters and residents of the Arlington neighborhood have long called for reuse of the mall.

McGee spoke after the May 29 Scenic Visions “The Future of Arlington” panel discussion at Jacksonville University.

He also was called up to front of the room to talk to the crowd during the event.

“It’s really about the vision and reality,” he told the group that clearly showed support for redevelopment of Regency Square Mall.

“The Future of Arlington” panel moderator Joyce Morgan watches as Blackwater Development LLC President Rurmell McGee discusses Regency Square Mall on May 29 at Jacksonville University. Morgan is the Duval County Property Appraiser and a former City Council member.
Photo by Karen Brune Mathis

“We’re currently working on putting that together but it’ll be a mixture of multifamily retail, entertainment that … will revitalize that property,” he said to applause.

McGee said that his group is looking at what works for the community. 

“How can people in the community benefit from that property? So instead of just looking at it from a development standpoint … it has to perform, it has to make money,” he said.

“That’s the only way any of us can do the things that we do. It has to be profitable, but the reality is we want to create a vibrant property project that benefits the neighborhood and benefits the constituents in that area.”

One project that was not discussed was the previously reported speculation that Sporting Club Jacksonville was considering the closed Sears site at Regency Square Mall for development of a new stadium facility.

Tokyo Sakura is the sold food court business operating at Regency Square Mall.
Photo by Karen Brune Mathis

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.” 

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. 

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,” McGee said then.

McGee said May 29 that as far as he knew, there were no plans for Sporting Club Jax at the Regency property.

Tony Allegretti, part of the Sporting Club Jacksonville ownership group, attended the Scenic Visions event and spoke with McGee, but declined comment when asked about the status of the project as he was leaving.



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