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Possible grocery store to locate at Skyway station

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JTA to lease land for possible grocery, offices near Skyway

By DAVID BAUERLEIN

The Times-Union

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority will lease property next to the Kings Avenue parking garage and Skyway station in a venture that could build a supermarket serving the San Marco neighborhood and downtown dwellers.

The Publix supermarket chain has been scouting for a location in the San Marco area for one of its stores.

But there was no indication during a JTA board meeting Thursday about what grocery store would move onto the 1.5-acre site.

The JTA board approved a framework for the deal in which the agency would lease the land to Kings Avenue Redevelopment LLC, a group headed by Jacksonville developer Michael Balanky. The group would be obligated to build at least 27,000 square feet for retail or a grocery store and at least 40,000 square feet of office space.

He said the 1,650-space parking garage and the Skyway station are both attractive to potential tenants at the site.

"We think it is a diamond in the rough," Balanky said.

The JTA's consultant, Agency Approval & Development, said the JTA would generate $3.4 million over a 20-year period from leasing the property, sharing part of the development's rental income and charging for parking.

"That doesn't 'wow' me," JTA Chairwoman Donna Harper said of financial impact.

But she and other board members said a grocery store and office buildings would add another reason for people to take the Skyway and park at the garage.

"We really are accomplishing our mission by doing this and at the same time kick dollars back into our budget," she said.

In an interview after the JTA meeting, Balanky declined to identify any of the businesses he has met with about being tenants.

City Councilman Art Shad said the location would fit the bill for San Marco residents desiring a closer grocery store and attract customers from downtown's growing residential population.

The JTA board also approved proceeding with a similar land-lease deal for property next to the Skyway station at the Florida Community College at Jacksonville Downtown Campus. Renaissance Design Build Group of Jacksonville will build 7,000 square feet of retail space on the half-acre site.

Tenants could include a sandwich/coffee shop, convenience store or newsstand, satellite service center for paying utility bills, dry cleaner and copying center. The location is next to the JTA main bus transfer station, so passengers would be able to patronize businesses while waiting to catch the bus.

JTA's income over a 15-year period would be $148,000, according to an analysis by Agency Approval & Development.

david.bauerleinjacksonville.com, (904) 359-4581

This story can be found on Jacksonville.com at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor..._16481289.shtml.

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It looks like there's a full out race, between developers, to get a Publix located on the Southbank. I know of at least three seperate projects, all located within a few blocks of each other, trying to assemble land for a Publix and adjacent retail.

Although I've laid out an urban site plan for one developer, I still like this move by the JTA. Anything that can lead to more ridership numbers on the Skyway, is a plus in my book.

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That's a cool rendering. But it's all up in the air, since there's been many Publix proposals. It's funny, how all these urban developers are choosing Publix as their grocery tenant.

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Its because everybody knows Publix is the dominant grocery store, in the region, and they've been interested in opening a store in San Marco for a while now. I have a feeling, Publix will go with whatever project begins construction first.

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great news.

it seems to me that publix is seeking out projects like this as well.

they realize that the market is changing and they're going gangbusters towards opening up more urban stores.

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