JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Regency Mall located on Arlington Expressway has continued to see a decline over the years. New owners Namdar Realty Group and Masson Asset Management purchased the property in February 2014 for $13 million. Its management is now taking an unconventional approach to the type of tenants set to occupy the mall.
Office spaces, doctors' offices, a church and possibly even a charter school are a few of the non-traditional tenants under contract or working to be housed in Regency.
The mall was bustling when it opened up in 1967. In its heyday, in September 1976 a huge crowd gathered there when then presidential candidate Jimmy Carter visited during a campaign stop.
"It was really swinging when I got here and it continued for long time," said Dorothy Bowen. "But in the last five or six years, that's when I noticed a lot of people were leaving."
But a new approach aims to change that. On the west wing you'll find 60 to 70 percent of those sites will be more unconventional. Louis DeSiena of Torch Bearers Church says he's excited about the opportunity ahead. His ministry will occupy around 1,600 square feet in the mall's west wing.
"You're going to see a whole community is now being built," said Desiena. "It's not just built upon retails. It's built upon everything you might need for your family -- from the spiritual side to doctors' offices."
Regency's general manager James Kramer says in the past three and a half months the food court went from four restaurants to nine and now only two vacant spaces remain.
Kramer says they've closed about 30 new deals while three additional deals are currently pending, including office space and a local charter school.