Commercial Real Estate, Capital, Insurance, Leasing & Management

Jacksonville Business Journal: Why this region of the First Coast is growing

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For many years, when perspective retail tenants came to town to tour locations, Abby Walsh would typically show them places you might expect like Town Center, or somewhere in the Southside.  ¶  But that’s quickly changing.  ¶  Walsh, a senior associate at Franklin Street specializing in tenant representation, said these days she’s showing more submarkets on the west side of Jacksonville as part of the tour.  ¶  “When we’re touring with tenants, we will often look at Western submarkets as part of our tour,” Walsh said. She said tenants can often look at a strategy to open several locations in these submarkets because of the residential growth that’s coming.  ¶  It’s not just perspective retail tenants looking at western Duval County and eastern Clay County.

The old adage “retail follows rooftops” holds true. Following the considerable growth in residential happening in the western area, experts say retail is sure to follow. In fact, it already is.

“I think we’ll see the established and built out markets like Orange Park along Blanding Boulevard and Park Avenue continue to stay very active,” said Ricky Ostrofsky with Franklin Street. “And then I think we’re going to see some of these emerging markets, like the Normandy corridor, continue to get built out. Whereas now there is quite a bit of development opportunity, I think we’ll see that come to fruition.”

“Oakleaf has seen the residential growth and the density is there now, so the retail is not too far behind,” said Walsh. “There’s the Oakleaf Town Center, and some new things coming on the the west side of the First Coast Expressway. So that will extend that corridor, so to speak.” Oakleaf is mostly in Clay County, but part of the area is in Duval County.

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