Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Company to 'Dramatically Scale Back' Plans for 2 Outlets at Regency Square; International Decor Outlet Blames Leaks, Cooling Issues, Files Lawsuit

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Company to 'Dramatically Scale Back' Plans for 2 Outlets at Regency Square; International Decor Outlet Blames Leaks, Cooling Issues, Files Lawsuit

Article excerpt

Byline: Roger Bull

The future of the International Decor Outlet and Asian Town in Regency Square just got even cloudier.

"International Decor Outlet has been forced to dramatically scale back its plans for the rejuvenation of Regency Square," reads a statement issued by the company behind the two projects. It has filed a lawsuit saying that problems with the mall - specifically a leaking roof and faulty air conditioning - are preventing it from adding tenants.

The move follows the closure of an automobile museum in the mall earlier this year that its owners also blamed on a leaking roof.

IDO, based in Jacksonville, signed a lease last year for all the smaller shop space in the west end of the mall between the former Belk, the former Sears and the still-operating Dillard's. Its plan was to sublease the spaces to international manufacturers of home improvement and decor products who would operate retail stores there.

In all, IDO leased about 200,000 square feet, with space for up to 86 individual stores. It predicted that 15-20 of the stores would open summer of 2016.

This past March, with nothing open there, the company announced that it was adding a new concept called Asian Town to the mall, with plans to fill 100,000 square feet with various Asian stores and restaurants.

In April, IDO opened with two storefronts. No more have been added.

Stuart Simpson, director of marketing for IDO, said that the condition of the mall is preventing that. A musty odor fills the common areas, he said, and trash barrels catch dripping water when it rains.

"Some of the units haven't had air conditioning in quite some time," he said. "We want to get the space ready for a new tenant, but there's no air conditioning.

"You have to understand tenants'reluctance if they see water damage to the ceiling or if we can't guarantee the AC is working."

A seafood restaurant called Captain's Catch has been unable to open, he said, because of the leaks and lack of air conditioning.

Jim Kramer, general manager of the mall, said Wednesday morning that he's aware of some of the problems. …

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