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mwfsu84

Can Clay County Handle A Second Regional Mall?

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The developers of Oak Leaf have proposed building a regional mall - not too far from the Orange Park Mall. First, I'd like to know how big this development will be. Second I'd like to know if they're really serious about building this second mall.

It's not that I think Clay County/Westside is too small for a second major mall - by the end of the decade the county will have 200,000 residents, about four times the number it had when the Orange Park Mall opened in 1975. But since the new mall is so close to Blanding, I just wonder if the county will have the infastructure to handle the traffic.

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Oakleaf's developers are probably setting the property aside and marketing it to mall developers, such as Simon or Rouse, for a future mall. However, it will probably be at least 10 years or so, before anything is built on that site. That area's present market isn't large enough to support a second regional mall, which would most likely have to be much larger than Orange Park Mall to be successful.

Whenever this is build, in the distant future, I assume Oakleaf's developers are counting on Brannen-Chaffee Road becoming a finished part of the proposed tollroad running from I-10 to I-95. If that's in place, traffic along Blanding shouldn't become a big issue.

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The Orange Park mall is, frankly, somewhat depressing by modern standards (even for a suburban mall). I have a feeling that if a new mall is built, regardless of what the population trends are like in 10 years, the OP mall will be hit VERY hard. Perhaps not as extreme as what happened to the Grand Boulevard Mall when the Avenues opened up, but it will still hurt them.

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That's similar to The Wellington Mall turning into a charter school/arts center when the new Mall at Wellington Gren opened up a couple years ago. Having lived in the Argyle/OP area, I just can't fathom another mall over there. Blanding is bad enough, and it seems like Branan/Chafee won't help that much.

BTW, I never knew they were making that a toll road. I had heard that they were thinking of naming it after some fallen soldier from Jacksonville.

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:rolleyes:

That really sounds good if they're going to build a mall close to Oakleaf Plantation. Does anyone have an idea if that area (Oakleaf Plantation/ Blanding) experiences flooding? Thanks

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I'd really like to know the real deal on this new mall - is it to be or not?? I live in the area and have heard COUNTLESS rumors about this mall but I don't believe any of them because I think they are just that, rumors. Anyone promoting Oakleaf and also nearby residents in general insist it is true - that it is coming - but I noticed the Oakleaf developers took any mention of it OFF their website quite some time ago. I have been waiting for the upscale shopping (or heck...BETTER shopping) to come to this side of the river forever-and-a-day now...right now I drive over to the Southside or San Marco, because as someone on this thread mentioned earlier, OP Mall has become "ghetto suburban". Blech! I avoid it and anything Blanding if I can help it! I wrote to Simon about this very thing and all they would say is that A LOT of "exciting changes" are coming to OP Mall, and an announcement is pending, but that is all they would say. I don't get it...we have the income levels over here now to support something better...much better. Things in the area have improved but if the pace doesn't pick up...I'm moving over to the other side. I'm tired of waiting.

Frag - I am a homeowner in the general area of Oakleaf...I have been looking to trade up and as a result I have been eyeing Oakleaf (golf course s/d)...I drive through the development regularly. Recently we had several days of heavy rain and I did notice that many of the lots in the Eagle Landing section were flooded, not flooded over but a lot of standing water in places, however, I am sure once the land is developed the excess water will flow into the retention ponds that are common here in Florida. I don't foresee any problem with flooding, at least not major flooding. I've had my house here since 1998 and I have not had any problems. It is on the same tract of land that OLP is on. Btw, you can do some research about this to find out more if you are still concerned. Look for historic records of the area on flood plains. I looked recently online and found a color-coded map detailing floods of the past 100 years, and in general, this area has faired pretty well. Btw, I too moved here from the Northeast (Columbia, Maryland - THE Master Planned community created by Jim Rouse that started it all) and my best advice to you when buying a home here in Florida are these things:

Fully Sodded Lawn w/ Sprinkler System

Ceramic Tile

Bug Service (house and lawn)

I didn't know about all that stuff when I moved here...knowing and doing will save you trouble in the long run!

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If I am correct all that area south of Old St. Augustine road wil lbe developed in next 10 years ,apparently somethign like 60,000 houses in next 10 years...so I guess sometimes in 5 years when they get to enough people in area will develop another mall with more schools and stuff.

So it must be true for another mall but maybe in 5 years or more.

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thanks sierrahotelgirl, are there a lot of ghettos and thugs in OLP? does this mean that OP malls are flooded with these? How's the crime rate in that area?

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thanks sierrahotelgirl, are there a lot of ghettos and thugs in OLP? does this mean that OP malls are flooded with these? How's the crime rate in that area?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Oakleaf Plantation is proving to be QUITE NICE...definitely middle income and better. It's one of the largest DRIs to come online (6500 acres), although there will be larger DRIs coming up on the other side of the river, including Oakleaf's sister development, Silverleaf (slated to start in the next year). Overall, you...most anyone, would be very pleased with Oakleaf, and this is coming from someone who grew up in both Santa Barbara, California, and also Columbia, Maryland (both are high growth wealthy areas)...so yes...I like it "nice" and I am PROUD of it. :D Btw, the second pool facility alone is like a resort. Only thing missing is the cabana boy!

The ONLY problem I have with this area and the neck of the woods Oakleaf is in, is the surrounding area. Blanding Blvd is a nightmare. On the fringes of OLP there are trailer homes and other eye sores, etc...that kind of thing. BUT...OLP will be so huge at buildout you should never need to go outside of it for your day-to-day routine. I've been watching it since the beginning...and demand will tell you almost everything...and there is plenty of that, which of course has caused the prices to go up substantially (already). I am just not sure I want to commit because the Southside area of Jax and St. John's County are the HOT areas around here (and have been). Clay county is catching up. The other side is heavy with business though and is only going to explode even more with everything else coming online over there (Flagler Center and World Commerce Center). As a result, the concentration of everything else (retail..blah blah) is over there. I'm an executive headhunter and that is where I should be, but again, since I first bought over here and I do love Oakleaf, I am waiting a bit longer to make up my mind. Btw, I think I saw one of your other posts that said you are a nurse...again...the "other side" (of the St. John's River) is where most of the hospitals are located (a couple are downtown too) and is also where the brand new state-of-the-art Baptist Hospital South just opened it's doors about two-three months ago. Clay County only has Orange Park Medical Center. I have been impressed with their expansion, I think now complete, but again...that's it over here. If you're not committed to OLP...it's probably worth your while to at least look over there, too.

Oh, and no, no more crime here than any other place. What I meant by "ghetto suburban" is that the OP Mall is getting a little depressing. They don't have all the great national stores and the anchor stores are standard fare...JC Penney, Sears, etc. They have better shopping on the other side (by far). The structure itself is in need of some revitalization. On certain days it's crawling with punk teenagers who have nothing better to do...just not a pleasant place to be. In fact, I just don't go there anymore because of it and neither do my friends. Everything up and down Blanding is yucky. Gas station, followed by auto repair shop, pawn shop, hole-in-the-wall restaurant (drive-thru..what seems to be Chinese), fast food fast food fast food, used car lot, storage facility, trailer home sales lot, and REPEAT...en masse, all the way up and down. You have plenty of time to look at it as you sit idling in traffic! It's basically 1970s and the planning was, well, not planned too well! I would love to take a bulldozer to it...start at one end and keep on going! Basically, the "Better Blanding Plan" (for those that live here you know what I mean). There ARE some nice things coming in here and there, so getting better.

If you have any other questions I'd be happy to answer if you e-mail me. I don't want to crowd the thread with all this extra stuff. My e-mail is the same as my ID name here, at A O L. I have made it my business to know a lot about the ENTIRE area since I am in the business of employment, which is tied to this. Jacksonville is a great place and has TONS more potential on the horizon. That's why I like it here...I like being a part of something happening. The people are nice here, too. It's Florida...without the pretentiousness (not to mention...drug pockets) you find in the bottom half of the state. It's still affordable, and the beautiful St. John's River and the fact that you can actually use your fireplace in the cooler winters, are a bonus!

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SierraHotelGIRL, you summed it up nicely. The area inside Orange Park's "old' town limits was ill-conceived and is now suffering from larger problems it could ever have fathomed. Blanding is described as the world's largest/longest left-turn (on to I-295), which reflects the majority of residents leaving to work in Jacksonville. Inadequate infrastructure is exacerbated by not having significant employment. Even if most stayed within Clay County to work, it's difficult to navigate Blanding and Park. Traffic light synchronization is still in the distance, yet development continues. A perfect example is how my friend's property used to be classified as Middleburg, but is now Orange Park.

I think it's interesting to note how Orange Park is being built up again, with significant developments pushing the boundary limits. ZIP 32003, which includes developments like Pace Island, northern Middleburg and now Oakleaf Plantation are forming a new half ring around Orange Park. Add to this the amount of houses farther north on Chaffee around Crystal Springs and Normandy and I think we could loosely have one large area of communities. The study to form an outer beltway is consistent with where new houses are being built. Brannan Field-Chaffee Road will take on yet another transformation as it is expanded and the planned interchage at I-10 is completed. This will be another north-south access road from points south, such as The Ravines, into Jacksonville. Instead of traveling Blanding or 17, Brannan Field-Chaffee is a great alternative, although it has already become rather crowded. If I am visiting friends off 220 and am coming from my parents' house on the Westside, I will bypass I-295 to Blanding and 17, even if it takes a few minutes longer.

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Considering the empty storefronts in the Avenues, OP and Regency, I don't see how how the region can support another mall- much less with the latest one being built by the airport.

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Considering the empty storefronts in the Avenues, OP and Regency, I don't see how how the region can support another mall- much less with the latest one being built by the airport.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I definitely see your point. Why is it though that we can support a CVS AND a Walgreen's every 1-2 miles up/down Blanding? I realize CVS/Walgreens is a different type of shopping, but nevertheless, same principle. Also, I suspect a lot of people that live in the general OP area probably go over to the Avenues/SJTC just as I do. If I only have one-two things to pick up of course I'll do that here (ie: Walgreens...and hence...why we're able to support umpteen of them), but otherwise, I almost always go over there, as do my friends.

I'm certainly no expert in this field (not even close), but for example, if you consider the reported sales for the new SJTC, you will see that they had at opening, and still have RECORD sales over there. We're talking national stores exceeding sales levels IN JACKSONVILLE, beating out their other stores in much larger cities (places like Chicago and Dallas). How is that? Well, I suspect it's because most of us are going over there and therefore sales are concentrated to that one area so it's not really representative of what we need and could support over here! Meanwhile, OP Mall is going to go into further depression if Simon doesn't do something to improve it. That is a DEFINITE probability if Oakleaf does indeed get a new regional mall. In fact, the "ring" of new housing around the outer edges of OP that JaxNole mentions will only further serve to depress the inner area (Blanding, etc)...unless they do something to revitalize it. Normally, the idea is that it will improve and sustain the area as a whole, but not in this case (not the housing alone). I do know something about these things because of growing up in Columbia, Maryland. Jim Rouse (Rouse company...the mega developer) created it and it is generally based on all income levels, poor to the rich, coexisting as one. Basically, one sustains the other and no one area gets depressed. It worked. It was the first master planned community, and coincidentally, Rouse also is credited as creator of the indoor shopping mall (now more popular inside out). The difference is...he started with a blank canvas. It all began from farmland. Here, there's not a lot they can do with the existing infrastructure because it is so boxed in and problematic that it doesn't leave much room for improvement. Once the new traffic lights at I-295 are fully operational...that will help. As for the strip malls all up and down Blanding, they should really get rid of some the turn in/out's. Have you noticed that some of the strip parking areas have a turn in/out every couple feet? Do we really need that many? That's what adds to the Blanding nightmare. I really do believe that the much needed improvements to the OP Mall, if ever done, will improve the general "inner" area, if done right.. Where it sits is basically the centerpiece of the whole area this side of the St. John's, but it's not working in that way now, so make it that way. Make it something people will want to go to...something that will attract people that have the money to spend. We're here...we have the money...but we ain't spending it here! What I would like to see is: the mall opened up and expanded onto some of the parking areas. Better stores. Better anchors. Mixed use with restaurants. Greenery and say like a central fountain with outdoor seating (inside out food court...enclose the stores themselves but put some seating outside...like a courtyard). Of course parking is a problem even now...it requires a parking garage or two. Put that up against the tree line...that way it's not an eye sore and it's not the first thing you see. Trees. We need more green stuff (magnolias, etc...not just palms)...beautification...Blanding and it's offshoots are concrete ugly. Clay County and the City of OP should really institute some mandates about signage and that kind of thing. Sky high signs run amuck...some broken...some 1970s era...get rid of all that. Really, I think changes like these will go a long way. Well, my two cents, in this case, three!

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Considering the empty storefronts in the Avenues, OP and Regency, I don't see how how the region can support another mall- much less with the latest one being built by the airport.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Btw, I don't see the need for such a large mall on the Northside (airport). I really don't know what they were thinking with that one?? Definitely something mixed-use retail/hotel/restuarant, but smaller than what they are planning. Really, there should only be TWO large regional malls, one each side of the river. We have SJTC and now we either need OP Mall expanded or improved on this side or we need the one slated for the area in Oakleaf Plantation (similar to SJTC), if ever it happens. The rest of the malls should be smaller...but OP mall still needs some improvements no matter what happens. Otherwise, I think that "inner area" will go into further depression.

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There is no mall going up on the Northside. The shopping center being built is a large strip mall anchored by a SuperWalmart. Basically, the same chain stores and restuarants lining Blanding.

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Sierra, you made some good points. I forsee the traffic problem on Blanding getting worse than what is it now. I was in Jacksonville the past two weeks on vacation and the traffic on a Wednesday morning at 11:00am on Blanding was bad. Not as bad as rush hour or the weekend but it wasn't normal, so to speak.

I've lived in Miami/Broward County, Jacksonville and now the Phoenix metro area and Blanding Blvd is the most congested "street"/non highway I have seen. My sister who lives like 5 minutes north of 295 avoids OP/Blanding at all costs. For the same reasons you mentioned. There are people that I know who are looking for homes and they like the OP area in general, but they will not buy a home in that area b/c of Blanding.

As for OP Mall, Simon has said that the have some changes in store for it. What type is anyone's guess. I walked through the mall when I was there and I didn't see many vacancies. Simon tends to be pretty good at bringing in and keeping tenants. OP mall does need more restaurants. Simon hasn't made an effort in that regard and if the mall is going to thrive it needs 3 good restaurants and more of the tenants that people are looking for. Simon has brought in Express for Men and Areopastale which are popular stores for Simon's target audience. More stores that are popular with the young people and women will turn things around.

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There is no mall going up on the Northside.  The shopping center being built is a large strip mall anchored by a SuperWalmart.  Basically, the same chain stores and restuarants lining Blanding.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thanks for the clarification...that makes more sense. Although, why oh why another WalMart. :wacko: There is a SuperWM I believe on Normandy, directly off I-295. One in that area is enough. Speaking of which, I heard there will be a SuperWM going in somewhere around Blanding and Old Jennings. WM corporate won't confirm or deny, but the rumors persist. Yuck.

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There are people that I know who are looking for homes and they like the OP area in general, but they will not buy a home in that area b/c of Blanding.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That is exactly the position I am in. Except...I already own a home in the South OP area and I am ready and want to trade up. I just don't know if I really want to buy something in the range I am looking (500k plus) with the problems that exist here. What they have planned sounds great, but who knows if it will really happen. I have been wait-and-see for a long time now and I need to start SEEING or I'm moving to the other side of the bridge.

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Thanks for the clarification...that makes more sense.  Although, why oh why another WalMart.  :wacko:  There is a SuperWM I believe on Normandy, directly off I-295. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

There is a Supercenter on Normandy, but where the open-air River City is going is more towards the airport. The Supercenter on Lem Turner and I-295 is closer to those living points north of downtown, mostly outside I-295 (think Oceanway), but no other Wal*Marts are in that area. That area has been underserved by this discount retailer...well, most retailers and the income levels in that area are lower than areas like ZIP 32256. There are quite a few new developments on the Northside and median prices for new houses keep increasing.

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I live off of Old Jennings/Brannan Field.

Ive watched my house go up 50K in value in less than 3 years.

This area is exploding in growth, and for the most part it is very controlled due to the BrananField master plan. This plan encompasses Oakleaf and everything south to just north of "true" Middleburg.

A new elementary is opening this year in Argyle (Clay County side) and one is scheduled in 1-2 years for Oakleaf Plantation. A new elementary-8th grade is being built just north of Whisper Creek Subdivision and will be turned into a pure elementary once they build a new Jr. High right next door.

This will be ready in less than 2 years. A road from Old Jennings through Brannan Mill Planatation through Whisper Creek is just about ready to be built. This will connect to the new schools.

Florida DOT has already purchased right of way for the new beltway that will eventually be built from Brannan Field/Old Jennings to St Johns County/I95.

This area will NEED a new mall soon enough. Im pretty sure there is still one already planned or partially planned.

more info on Master Plan:

http://www.claycountygov.com/Planning_Dept...an_Planning.htm

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Ive been here a little over 3 years.

The growth is insane, but controlled. Compared to what happened with regards to San Pablo, Kernan. Hodges, etc. It is a relief to see some common sense development.

My only real concern is that companies still ignore this area for workers, yet ~60% of the county commutes to the southside/downtown for work. It seems that they would rather talk Jacksonville into trying to get tax breaks to build on JTB than to get a place where they could have their pick of potential (and generally highly skilled) employees.

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