Regency reps dispel rumors about East San Marco

There is no truth to the rumor that has been circulating around San Marco that Publix has pulled out from the East San Marco project.

That was the main message two representatives from Regency Centers, the group who owns the retail space in the upcoming San Marco housing project, wanted to convey when they addressed members of the San Marco Merchants Association Sept. 21.

Patrick McKinley, Regency’s senior leasing agent and Eric Davidson, who heads its communications department, reassured San Marco retailers that, although the project is behind schedule, there is no change in the plans for the new development which is to be built at the corner of Hendricks Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard.

“Our partners submitted applications for permits in July. It just takes time,” said McKinley. “We expect to close and start construction later this year. Perhaps the timeline has been pushed back slightly from when we thought the start of the project would be, but it is still the same renderings. It is still 239 apartments and the anchor is still Publix. We still have a signed lease with Publix,” he said, adding that once construction commences it should take 14 to 18 months to complete.

The East San Marco project will include a 32,000-square-foot Publix, slightly larger than the one in Riverside, and a total of 13,000 square feet of retail space. The prime corner space where a restaurant is planned is 3,500 square feet with an additional 500 square feet available for outside patio dining. It is possible to add 1,500 square feet of additional space allowing for a 5,000-square-foot restaurant if needed, McKinley said. If a 5,000-square-foot restaurant goes in, that leaves room for only four or five small shops to be housed in the remaining 8,000 square feet, he said. “It’s not a ton of retail. I wish I had more,” said McKinley.

As far as parking goes for the new development, 120 spaces, which are to be used exclusively for Publix customers and other East San Marco retailers, will be available on the ground floor of the garage, he said. Tenants who live in the apartments above the retail stores will use other parking dedicated for their use only on the upper levels of the development’s parking garage. Street parking in the area surrounding the development will also be available, he said.

There are no plans to provide additional parking that would benefit the Square as a whole, McKinley said. The current intention is to provide enough parking for Publix customers – which is a requirement within the grocer’s lease – as well as the amount required by city zoning code for other retailers within the development.

“I don’t think our plan right now is to police parking or to have meters on the parking (on the ground floor of the garage). I’ve seen different developments in different parts of the country where you have 30-minute parking so that is conducive for someone to go into Publix or our retail stores but would be hard for someone to shop around the whole Square. We will have to play it by ear,” McKinley said.

Eddie Fink, who owns a retail building in the Square, asked if Regency was aware of Al Mansur’s plans to bring his restaurant, The Flying Iguana, in the space now occupied by Stellers art gallery. Fink said he thought Mansur’s current plan to provide off-site valet parking for his proposed restaurant at a so far undisclosed location is “idiotic” and wanted to know if Regency had spoken with Mansour about taking the restaurant space in East San Marco. “I’d like to see him in the Square,” said Fink.

McKinley said he understood Mansur was currently working on a deal and had not spoken with him. “If the Stellers Gallery deal falls through, I would be glad to have a conversation with him,” he said.

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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