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Hobby Lobby prepping with $1.3 million renovation
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Construction crews work on what will be the facade of Hobby Lobby (right), which is spending $1.3 million on interior renovations. It plans to open this summer. To the left, workers are enclosing other space for other tenants. - photo by Martin L. Cahn/C-I

People stopping by the River Oaks Shopping Center are likely noticing a lot of activity as future merchants prepare to move in this summer. According to a permit filed with the city of Camden Building Department on Feb. 5, Hobby Lobby, for example, is spending $1.3 million to undertake a major renovation of its portion of the former Kmart space.

Looking from West DeKalb Street, Hobby Lobby’s façade is the one being added closest to Chick-Fil-A, while Marshall’s clothing store is renovating the façade formerly used by Kmart. The $1.3 million is going toward renovations Hobby Lobby is making to its portion of the interior. DBS Corporation, of Chattanooga, Tenn., took out a $3.4 million permit in October 2018 for exterior renovations to most of the shopping center. That work is encompassing not only the entire façade of the former Kmart -- including Hobby Lobby and Marshall’s -- but also demolition of sidewalks for new water and sewer connections as well as extensive electrical work.

DBS Corporation is working on behalf of BMS Camden Associates, which purchased the entire shopping center for $5.1 million in total compensation from Wateree Associates LLC in August 2018. In January, BMS sold the Chick-Fil-A parcel for $1.3 million to PenRhon LLC of Grayson, Ga.

Earlier documents from the Kershaw County Registrar of Deeds office revealed that Hobby Lobby, Marshall’s and Petsense had all signed leases with BMS, while Chick-Fil-A (prior to January’s sale), Big Lots and Citi Trends had renewed theirs. In addition, plans showed that BMS would be enclosing the former Kmart’s garden center in order to create two additional retail spaces to the left of what will now be Hobby Lobby.

Also, work continues to build an 8,400-square-foot outparcel near the shopping center’s entrance closest to the Wateree River bridge. A car wash -- to replace one on the other side of a nearby Rush’s restaurant -- will be constructed on an adjoining lot closest to the river.