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Renovations at old Belk near completion

LAWRENCEVILLE - Renovation of the old Belk department store on Riverside Parkway in Lawrenceville is nearing completion, and property managers have begun looking for tenants.

The building in the River Exchange shopping center has been divided into three separate suites that range in size from 18,000 square feet to 22,000 square feet.

Tom Wheeler, owner of Wheeler/Kolb Management Company, said his company looked into enticing a store large enough to fill the entire space, but the market seemed to dictate splitting the building up.

Wheeler indicated there have been talks with several stores, but they haven't filled any of the spots yet.

"We think a hardware store would do very well there, and we think some mass merchandisers would do well, too," Wheeler said. "That's what we're after."

Belk left in early 2006 to move to a location in the Mall of Georgia.

Wheeler said the effect of Belk's departure has been somewhat offset by the renovation of the River Exchange Kroger. He added that Kroger spent millions of dollars upgrading their store and is also looking into getting a permit for a fuel center.

"I think things are looking up for that shopping center," Wheeler said. "We've never had a lot of vacancies in it."

Wheeler said he hopes to have the three renovated suites filled within the next year.