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- 2012 - August - 24th -

TacoLu moving to former Homestead Restaurant at Jacksonville Beach

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

TacoLu, the popular 4-year-old Jacksonville Beach restaurant started by Don and Debbie Nicol and named after their daughter, will relocate to the former Homestead Restaurant about a half-mile west by year-end.

Now at 1183 Beach Blvd., TacoLu has begun its fifth year of operation and its lease will expire in March.

The Nicols wanted to add locations but instead decided to buy The Homestead property at 1712 Beach Blvd.

It most recently operated as the Copper Top restaurant, which Don Nicol thinks closed in February, based on a Folio newspaper left in the building.

The Nicols bought the property in July and are starting renovations.

“We finally closed on the property three weeks ago and we started steam-cleaning the place,” Nicol said Thursday.

Nicol said the couple was considering a second location in Murray Hill when they learned The Homestead building was available.

The owners called him, and he and Debbie became involved in the deal in March. With a five-year lease renewal at the existing site coming up in September, “the timing is perfect.”

TacoLu has about 155 seats in its 3,200-square-foot space, with parking challenges.

The new TacoLu will have inside restaurant space for about 160 patrons and patio space for 40. The downstairs is about 5,000 square feet, he said. And there’s more parking.

The Homestead property has about 2,500 square feet on the second floor with an apartment, storage and an office. He’s not sure what to do with the living quarters.

With the lease not up until March, Nicol said he’s not in a big hurry to rush the new restaurant’s opening. He expects the move could be mid-October or early November.

He said the existing restaurant could close on a Sunday night and the new location could open the following Tuesday.

Nicol said the Homestead building is 100 years old, and began as a log cabin. It’s been renovated and expanded over time.

Painting, flooring, a sound system, security and other renovations are in the works, including a mural on the patio wall.

“The bones of that place are spectacular,” he said. Previous owners “did such a great job that there is really not that much to do.”

One change will be removal of the copper accents, but not the bar. “The copper top bar is staying,” Nicol said.

He wondered if anyone has a barber chair he could use, recalling the old days of upside-down margaritas at the bar there. “I am kind of kidding, but it would be fun,” he said.

Nicol said the restaurant employs 75 people, mostly part-time, and is adding staff for the expanded location.

Then, there’s the ghost that former Homestead patrons and staff say is a friendly presence. They say it is the spirit of Alpha Paynter, who operated a boarding house there.

Nicol said he and Debbie were told to greet her upon arrival and to bid farewell when they leave.

“My wife is quite excited about that part of it,” he said.

The Nicols have two children, Henry, 10, and Lucy, 7.

“They can’t wait to go upstairs and hang out with Alpha Paynter,” he said.

Nicol – a former partner in the Sticky Fingers restaurants – and Debbie started the one-and-only TacoLu. The menu focuses on freshly made tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas and salads.

Nicol said he would “tighten up” on the menu with the move and find a way to pay homage to The Homestead.

Pepsi expanding plant

Pepsi Beverages Co., at 5829 Pepsi Place off Interstate 95 and Bowden Road, plans to add cooler and storage space. It’s a $731,089 project and the building permit application says it will used to store packaged Tropicana products. The City issued the permit Thursday.

The property is owned by Bottling Group LLC of Somers, N.Y. Plans show the operator as Pepsi Beverages Co., called PBC.

New Dick’s Sporting Goods building out in North Jacksonville

Plans show the Dick’s Sporting Goods opening at 14964 Duval Road in the Parkway Shops at River City Marketplace will be the single-level prototype.

The store at Parkway Shops in North Jacksonville is shown on plans as a 44,375-square-foot store. The build-out is listed as a $900,000 project by J. Raymond Construction Corp. of Longwood.

The Dick’s Sporting Goods annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission states that the Pennsylvania-based chain’s primary prototype store is a single-level store of about 50,000 square feet.

The prototype two-level store is about 75,000 square feet for trade areas “that have sufficient in-profile customers to support it.”

Kernan 7-Eleven opening date

Plans show the 7-Eleven store planned at southwest Kernan and Abess boulevards will start construction Oct. 15, be completed Jan. 23 and open Jan. 30. It’s a $1.5 million construction job.

Foreclosure rates up

The CoreLogic research firm reports that the rate of Jacksonville area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 8.66 percent in June, up 0.13 percentage points compared with June 2011, when the rate was 8.53 percent.

Jacksonville’s June rate was higher than the national foreclosure rate of 3.27 percent.

Jacksonville’s mortgage delinquency rate also rose. In June, 13.9 percent of all mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent, up from 13.48 percent in June 2011.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

356-2466

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