For Regency Square Mall, the Asian Town Jacksonville concept could not come at a better time. Once the premier regional enclosed shopping mall of Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia, the 1.4 million square foot mall has rapidly declined with the closure of anchor tenants Montgomery Ward (2001), Belk (2015) and Sears (2016). With traditional department store chains struggling to survive, if successful, IDO’s retail concept could be applicable to thousands of dead mall spaces across the country. For Jacksonville, a diverse but spread out city, the Asian Town theme could be the start of a new change in cultural and ethnic demographics in an aging suburban district in need of an economic boost and rebirth.

An aerial of Regency Square Mall. IDO Florida and Asian Town Jacksonville will consume the west mall.

Nevertheless, the conversion of Regency’s west mall won’t be the first example of this concept taking place in the south. During the early 2000s, Charlotte, North Carolina’s struggling Tyron Mall was brought back to life as the Asian Corner Mall. It continues to survive today with a host of Asian-themed retail shops, markets and restaurants.

Charlotte’s Asian Corner Mall (Sky City)

In addition to Asian Town Jacksonville, IDO Florida’s first tenant, Captain’s Catch seafood restaurant, will be opening its doors on April 6, 2017. This new 6,600 square foot family restaurant will serve fresh seafood and combination platters to up to 168 guests in the main dining area, with 26 additional seats at the bar. Captain’s Catch is only the first of a wide variety of culinary destinations planned for IDO Florida.

Jacksonville-based IDO is also working to bring a former outlet mall in Darien, GA back to life.

In the meantime, IDO continues its renovation of Regency Square’s west end with a principal focus on developing outlet-style storefronts for high-end designer merchandise in the Home Décor categories such as kitchen and bath fixtures, fine furniture, lighting and decorator items. According to a recent press release, “for almost forty years, American’s have limited their expectation to what was available in big-box home improvement centers. IDO intends to give consumers a chance to explore the much larger world of home décor from designers and manufacturers all around the world, without the big price tags. The Asian Town complex completes the “World at your doorstep” shopping experience with food and fun for the whole family.”

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at