Publix coming, finally, to San Marco area

The long-awaited Publix will be built in East San Marco, but with retail instead of residential, according to the developer.

The news was announced by Chairman and CEO Martin E. “Hap” Stein April 26 at a shareholders meeting of Regency Centers Corp.

“A grocery store is the one thing that San Marco is missing. I want to recognize Stein, who is such an engaged developer, and Publix, a Florida icon, for their commitment,” said Bryan Mickler, president of San Marco Preservation Society. “This is going to improve the walkability of the neighborhood.”

The site, at the corner of Hendricks Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard, has been cleared and fenced off for more than a decade. But Stein said it will become a construction site by the end of the year. The 50,000-square-foot shopping center, possibly with a different name, will open next year with a 30,000-square-foot Publix and about 20,000 square feet of shops and restaurants.

The project that would give San Marco its first grocery store has been under discussion since 2002. Regency Centers and The St. Joe Co. announced a mixed-use project in 2006 and bought the property from SunTrust Bank the following year. The plan was for a six-story building, anchored by Publix and topped with 125 condominiums.

But the Great Recession hit, and the project stalled. It was revived in 2013 when Whitehall Realty Partners joined the project, briefly. The project was modified; instead of 125 condos, the building would have 240 apartments.

But the following year, Whitehall withdrew from the project, and Regency Centers bought out St. Joe’s interest. The City Council gave the go-ahead for the project.

In 2016, Regency Centers announced that Bluerock and ArchCo would buy the property, develop it and sell it back to Regency. Permits were issued, and construction was expected to begin by the end of the year, and then delayed until spring. Then in March, the partnership collapsed, and the project was put on hold again.

Residential is still a possibility, Stein said, but it would be built on an adjacent lot next to Fletcher Park. That project would require a modification to the approved Planned Unit Development.

By Lilla Ross
Resident Community News

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