Regency Square Mall (Jacksonville)
A mall entry in 2015
|Location||Jacksonville, Florida, United States|
|Address||9501 Arlington Expressway|
|Opening date||March 2, 1967|
|Owner||Namdar Realty Group|
Mason Asset Management
|No. of stores and services||20+|
|No. of anchor tenants||5 (1 open, 4 vacant by around October 2020)|
|Total retail floor area||1,390,000 square feet (129,135.2 m2)|
|No. of floors||1 (2 in anchors)|
Regency Square Mall is an enclosed shopping mall in the Arlington area of Jacksonville, Florida, United States. Opened in 1967 and once one of the most successful malls in the country, the mall now features around 20 stores, including two anchor stores, Dillard's Clearance Center and JCPenney, Impact Church, and a food court. It is owned by Namdar Realty Group and Mason Asset Management.
Regency Square Mall was a $12 million project of Regency Centers, constructed at an expanse of sand dunes. It initially featured three anchor stores: national chain JCPenney, along with May-Cohens and Furchgotts. The mall also included a Woolworth dime store as a junior anchor, as well as a cafeteria style Piccadilly restaurant. In outparcels, the single-screen (later twinned) Regency Cinema opened on the northeast corner of the property, and Annie Tiques bar and restaurant opened on the southwest corner.
According to an Urban Land Institute study published by the Florida Times-Union in 1979, it was one of the most profitable retail centers in the nation, with yearly average sales of $156/ft² versus a national average of $88/ft². To give back to the community, the mall operators turned over thousands of dollars in coins from their decorative fountains to charities. All types of social events, from art shows to science fairs to horticultural exhibits were held there.
In 1981, a $30 million major expansion nearly doubled the size of the mall, adding Sears and a relocated Ivey's. The former Ivey's became Furchgott's, and the existing May-Cohens was also enlarged. As a result of this expansion, the mall comprised two separate segments: the original mall between JCPenney and May-Cohens, and the new segment between May-Cohens and Sears. Furchgott's was closed in 1985 when the chain merged with Stein Mart. Unlike the other Furchgott's stores, the one at Regency Square did not become a Stein Mart, as the mall management considered the chain too low-end for the mall. A food court and a six-screen AMC theater was added midway along the east wing. The southwest outparcel was removed to make room for the expansion, requiring Annie Tiques to open a new location years later at the Jacksonville Landing when it opened in 1987. May Cohen’s briefly operated as May Florida before being converted to Baton Rouge-based Maison Blanche in July 1988.
In 1990, the Regency Twin theater on the northeast corner of the property closed, and Picadilly's Cafeteria moved from inside the mall to the new structure they built in its place.
Dillard's, who had rebranded the Ivey's store in June 1990, built a new location onto the West Wing, which opened -along with 28,000 square feet (2,600 m2) of new inline store space- also in 1992. This was likewise done at The Avenues Mall a year before. The mall's Woolworth closed in July 1997. Ivey's former store became Montgomery Ward.
While Dillard’s purchased Gayfer's parent company in late 1998, both stores overlapped in this market, so this store instead became Belk. As a result, they opened in Jacksonville for the first time, and the store was in the process of a second expansion when the nameplate was converted. The mall also underwent a $30 million renovation in 1998, which comprised the addition of a new, 24-screen AMC movie complex on the northwest corner of the property to replace the existing six-screen theater inside the mall. A substation of the Jacksonville Sheriff's office was also added, as was a food court. Old Navy also came to the mall in the late 1990s.
Regency announced formal conduct and dress codes in 1999 to deal with offensive or intimidating behavior and gang activity. Because the mall is private property, management has the right to ask individuals not in compliance to leave the premises.
Montgomery Ward closed in 2001, and Burdines expressed interest in moving into the vacated building. Starting in 2003, General Growth began talking with other retailers, such as Kohl's (which did not operate any stores in Florida at the time) to fill the space vacated by Montgomery Ward. Finally, in 2006, Homeworks Furniture opened in the former Montgomery Ward space, but it later closed.
Since 2000, crime has become a major issue at Regency Square, and the perception of the area as crime-ridden hurt the mall. Over 1,000 incidents were reported in 2004, the highest ever. Between September, 2007 and September, 2008, 650 unlawful acts were documented by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, more than the combined total of crimes at Jacksonville's other two major retail centers, The Avenues Mall and St. Johns Town Center. On January 26, 2008, a suspect was killed by an off-duty policeman who was called to pursue a fleeing man who had stolen a pair of jeans from the mall's Belk store. The shoplifter shot the officer four times before being fatally wounded himself.
In 2014, Belk began construction of a new store nearby, and announced in September 2014 the Regency store would close on its completion which was February 17, 2015.
On April 21, 2016, Sears announced that its store would also be closing as part of a plan to close 78 stores nationwide. The store closed on July 17, 2016. The closure of Sears left Dillard's Clearance Center and JCPenney as the only anchors left.
On June 4, 2020, JCPenney announced it would close by around October 2020 as part of a plan to close 154 stores nationwide. After JCPenney closes, Dillard's Clearance Center will be the one and only remaining anchor store left.
In a 2010 Arlington vision plan, citizens recognized the Regency Square Mall property as being ripe for redevelopment, with the potential to attract new businesses and consumers. The comprehensive report covered environmental, economic, and quality of life issues in the Greater Arlington region. The groups approach to the mall property was to redevelop the land with transportation and density in mind. The approach would entail mix-used structures, a gridded street pattern, and infill development. Emphasis is put on the vastness of the area and its equitable size to downtown.
Just as customers shifted from stores in the city center to Regency when it opened in 1967, the mall lost business with the opening of the Avenues mall in 1990, St. Johns Town Center in 2005, and River City Marketplace in 2006. At the end of 2011, Regency's occupancy rate was just over 74%, but two years later, it had dropped below 38%. In August 2013, General Growth Properties put the mall up for sale. It was marketed as a "turn key" power center redevelopment opportunity.
In the summer of 2016, International Decor Outlet is expected to open up to 80 storefronts in Regency Square Mall. This comes after the announcement that locally based Impact Church will take over the former Belk location as well.
Anchors & Major Retailers
The largest retail space was occupied by Sears with 216,711 sq. ft before Sears closed its store in 2016. Three department stores are similarly sized, with former Belk (which closed down its store and will become Impact Church) at 188,827 sq. ft., Dillard's Clearance Center in a 182,444 sq. ft. building but only occupying half of that and original anchor JCPenney occupying 176,019 sq. ft. As of 2012, there was one vacant anchor space of 115,000 sq. ft., originally home to Montgomery Ward and later, Homeworks Furniture and later a car museum that closed as well. Smaller tenants included Champs Sports/World Foot Locker (37,505 sq. ft.) and Lunar Mini Golf utilizing 24,440 sq. ft. Dillards owns its respective store building and parking lot and Sears also did before it closed down, with the remainder belonging to Namdar Realty Group and Mason Asset Management.
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