The housing growth in St. Johns County has led a national retail developer to resurrect a development put on hold by the recession.
Kimco Realty (NYSE: KIM), a retail real estate investment trust based on Long Island, N.Y., has hired Franklin Street’s Jacksonville office to market a triangular parcel of land bordered by Interstate 95, U.S. 1 and Interstate 295, said Carrie Smith, regional managing partner of Franklin Street.
The project is the next phase of Avenues Walk and is southeast of the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Supercenter-anchored shopping center off Philips Highway. It is entitled for 250,000 square feet of retail development.
Nothing will break ground until “one or two major anchors” commit to the site, Smith said.
Franklin Street is pitching the property as an entertainment hub, looking for destination-style restaurants, indoor sports, bowling and entertainment concepts. The project was originally slated to include soft-good concepts, like specialty clothing stores and a department store, Smith said. But the dynamics of that part of the city and the region as a whole have changed that.
“St Johns County, in our minds, is where all the housing growth is taking place,” Smith said. “And they don’t have any major entertainment venues without driving to the St. Johns Town Center, and this is an alternative to that.”
More retailers are expanding, Smith said, and Franklin Street has already had interest in the project after marketing it for about 30 days.
“Most of the guys we’re targeting for it weren’t doing deals two or three years ago,” she said. “So I think the timing is right to make the project happen.”