Regency Square Mall

  Today on “First Coast Connect,” our weekly Media Roundtable included Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski and WJCT’s Ryan Benk and Kevin Meerschaert (01:11). The Humana Foundation’s Laura Nolan and University of Florida professor and endowed chairwoman in Health Disparities Research Carolyn Tucker (38:20) discussed the foundation’s recent $444,000 donation to four Jacksonville nonprofit organizations. Finally, Rethreaded founder Kristin Keen and Wayne Bailey (46:22) with The River City Chorus talked about the “Sing a New Song”   concert series to benefit Rethreaded.    

Mike Mozart / Flikr / Use under Creative Commons

A major retailer is shutting down one of its handful of locations on the First Coast.

church exterior
Impact Church via YouTube

A former Regency Square Mall department store will soon become a church. Arlington’s Impact Church is moving into the mall that’s lost many tenants in recent years.

The 200,000-square-foot space used to belong to Belk department store. According to a news release from Impact Church, the space will continue functioning as a pass-through from the east side of the mall to the west side.

The church, which has a 70,000-square-foot facility on Lone Star Road, aims to relocate to the larger space by the beginning of 2018.

Peter & Joyce Grace / Flickr

Along with tax-free clothing, the Regency Square Mall is also where parents can find free backpacks and information about health insurance Saturday.

Regency is partnering with Get Covered America to throw the back-to-school insurance-info event. Get Covered America spokesman Milton Batquez says insured kids are more successful.

“When kids don’t have insurance it’s usually because their parents don’t have insurance,” Batquez said. “And when kids have health insurance we find that they are more prepared for school, more studious and more ready to tackle the school year.”

Florida Department of Transportation

The short stretch of road where Arlington Expressway meets Atlantic Boulevard in front of Regency Square Mall is in line for some major safety improvements.

What should be done with the distressed Regency Mall property in Arlington?

With a 60% occupancy rate, and parts of the mall nearly a ghost town, there's no shortage of ideas.

As city officials and developers meet to discuss future options for the property, callers to First Coast Connect this morning had plenty of thoughts of their own.  Here are a few: