Former Roosevelt Square taking shape as Ortega Park

Former Roosevelt Square taking shape as Ortega Park
Crews make visible progress on transformation of Ortega Park.

Builders are tirelessly working on renovation and construction at Ortega Park, the former Roosevelt Square retail center that contains a Publix, Stein Mart, Ulta Beauty, and other stores.  

Publix, which anchors the center, is also near the end of a $930,000 interior renovation project. 

Dwaine Stevens, director of community relations for Publix supermarkets, said that renovations were “obvious” and ongoing but would create a larger grab-and-go area and cheese and olive bar and expanded seating and be done sometime in June. City documents also show the addition of a family bathroom. 

“There remains continued exterior remodeling of the shopping center by the landlord,” Stevens added in an email. The remodeling is a separate product undertaken by the Atlanta-based Dewberry Group, the property owner.

Along with exterior remodeling, RLH Construction LLC crews have completed drainage projects, paving, and are working on the construction of at least three new buildings.

Dewberry Group bought the declining Roosevelt Mall in 1997 and redeveloped it into a 300,000-square-foot retail center, according to the Dewberry site, which also touts its Publix as one of the national company’s top-10 highest grossing stores. Now, Dewberry plans to multiply the space to 700,000 square feet, add a “pedestrian engagement area” and construct what it calls Class-A multi-family units. Dewberry has renovated the retail complex three times before, in 1999, 2003 and 2019, according to its site.

In the meantime, crews have over the past few years demolished Charles and George’s Car Wash and the Belk department store in preparation for opening up the plaza, filled in existing drainage ponds, created right of way access, and gotten the go-ahead to begin construction of several shell buildings at the cost of many millions of dollars. 

The City issued building permits in early May for RLH to begin construction on site of the shell buildings. Building C will comprise 4,565 square feet of retail space at a cost of $1.2 million; Building D is to be constructed at 4411 Roosevelt Boulevard at a cost of $1.5 million and will contain 4,703 square feet of retail space, and Building F will be substantially larger, with 24,077 square feet on a little more than half an acre. The cost for Building F was unclear from the documents. The City issued the permits May 5 and, according to signs posted around Ortega Park, developers plan to lease the spaces as they become available.

In the meantime, one retailer was happy to comment about the changes to the beloved retail center. A corporate spokeswoman for Stein Mart, one of the complex’s largest and most tenured retailers, had positive things to say about the retail center.

“We’ve been in Roosevelt Square Shopping Center since 1998 and love being a part of this community,” Linda Tasseff, director of external communications and investor relations for Stein Mart corporate, wrote in an e-mail. “The project is interesting, but not expected to significantly impact us. Our business is mostly influenced by what we do for our customers, every day.”

She said that the store underwent extensive renovations and improvements in 2018 and extended its lease through 2029, and no renovations were planned at this time.

Dewberry Group has not responded to requests for comment or information about the project.

By Jennifer Edwards
Resident Community News

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