After years of proposals and false starts, it looks like East San Marco – the long-proposed mixed-use development at Atlantic Boulevard and Hendricks Avenue anchored by Publix – is finally set to become a reality.
Last night, Regency Centers presented its latest vision for East San Marco to a crowd of hundreds of local residents at a town hall meeting hosted by San Marco Preservation Society. The latest plans include multiple retail and restaurant units along Atlantic Boulevard and Hendricks Avenue, 35 residential units split amongst five buildings, and a 40,000-square-foot Publix located on the second floor above a ground-level parking deck.
Representatives from Regency Centers and project engineers England-Thims and Miller were on hand to share details of their proposal, as was the district’s city council representative, LeAnna Cumber.
Regency Centers vice president Patrick McKinley explained that previous delays in the project were prompted by issues with the residential aspect of their plans. Originally, more than 200 multifamily apartment units were proposed as part of the parcel of land at Atlantic and Hendricks, along with 35 additional units on a parcel located along Atlantic Boulevard on the opposite side of an existing Wells Fargo branch location.
When the project’s original residential partner backed out in 2017, Regency decided to drop the residential element from the Atlantic and Henricks parcel.
That parcel will now be dedicated solely to retail, restaurant, and parking space. Current plans show four retail units and two full-service restaurant spaces, as well as a Publix with an attached liquor store.
One of those full-service restaurants will feature an upstairs deck, while the other will have a faux second story exterior that allows for extra-high ceilings within the unit.
The Publix will be Jacksonville’s first second-story grocery store, with four oversized elevators carrying shoppers up from the first-floor lobby. Extra parking will be available underneath Publix, in addition to the surface lot included on the parcel.
No tenants aside from Publix have signed on to the project yet. McKinley indicated that Regency Centers will be as conscious as possible of which tenants will fit best in the San Marco neighborhood.
Hugh Matthews of ETM detailed the efforts made to make the retail and restaurant portion as safe as possible for pedestrians. All of the units will be set back from the street, creating a small pedestrian arcade with several arched walkways adorned with festival lighting.
The design of the project takes cues from Spanish Mediterranean Mission style architecture and appears to blend well with surrounding buildings, such as the existing Wells Fargo.
On the opposite side of Wells Fargo, 35 multifamily units are still planned. McKinley indicated that Regency is close to signing an agreement with a residential developer for this portion of the project.
A new zoning application was submitted last week for the project. Taking into account the zoning and permitting process, McKinley said that Regency Centers hopes to break ground on East San Marco by next spring.
If all goes according to plan, the first retail and restaurant units would open by the end of 2021.
It took a lot longer than anyone expected, but at long last, it does look like San Marco is getting its Publix.