Frustrated after years without an anchor for the shopping center outside a master-planned community in St. Augustine, some enterprising residents of the area weren’t opposed to telling a white lie to get the inside scoop on what could fill the vacant space.
Franklin Street’s Katy Figg could tell when an imposter called inquiring about vacant space in the center, known as Palencia Commons. Figg said she received calls from several “prospective” tenants who seemed more interested in news about Publix’s interest then they were in what shop space might be available.
Residents won’t have to call anymore, as Publix has signed a 20-year lease, with plans to open at the center in 2018.
The St. Augustine shopping center sits at the entrance to Palencia, which has been developed by the Hines real estate company.
While Palencia has been a success, it lies near a stretch of U.S. 1 that has — until recently — lacked the density that many large retailers and grocers require to enter an area.
Laura Cardner, vice president of leasing, sales and marketing at Cape Asset Management, said that negotiations with Publix to fill that space had been ongoing for at least two years, and credited Hines with helping provide the needed data to attract Publix.
“Without Hines and the development they have basically finished,” she said. “We would have never gotten it done.”
Figg, who is the leasing agent on the property, said while several other potential tenants were examined for the space, Publix was always the number one option as residents in Palencia made abundantly clear.”
“They had never said no, but they did say the timing was not right,” Cardner said. “When they saw the numbers they needed to see, they were ready.”
Figg said that Publix choosing this spot will also be good for the surrounding tenants as it helps increase foot traffic to the center.
“This was just a perfect location for Publix to have a corner of the market,” she said. “Otherwise, other grocers looking in the area would look at Palencia and see the potential that is here.”
The difficultly with getting Publix signed on for the project came down largely to density.
While development rights in St. Johns county shows tens of thousands of planned rooftops, it still takes time for the rooftops to be built and for people — and customers— to take residency.
“Anybody that looks at a St. Johns County housing permitting map can see the growth that’s happening and seize the potential,” she said.
View the original story here: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2016/12/01/behind-the-deal-persistence-paid-off-for-palencia.html