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- 2013 - January - 22nd -

Nordstrom Rack permit pending at St. Johns Town Center

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Nordstrom Rack appears closer to opening in St. Johns Town Center. The City is reviewing a building permit application for construction of the shell structure to house it.

Contractor James C. Hudson Jr. Construction Co. of Chattanooga, Tenn., is shown as the contractor for the $1.5 million, 34,934-square-foot building at 4924 Big Island Drive. The interior build-out would be approved under a separate permit.

The store could open later this year, based on Nordstrom announcements Jan. 9 that the company will open Nordstrom Rack stores in Naples and Atlanta in the fall. Nordstrom has not confirmed the Jacksonville location.

A spokeswoman said Monday the company had no announcement about Jacksonville.

The Jacksonville site is in the Markets at Town Center, part of the St. Johns Town Center development at Butler Boulevard and Gate Parkway in Southside.

Pine Hill Markets Operating LLC of Atlanta owns the Markets at Town Center property.

Site plans for the property also show the Brio Tuscan Grille, which has opened, and two more buildings — an unidentified 4,000-square-foot retail building and a 7,659-square-foot restaurant that appears to be the site for former Bistro AIX executive chef Tom Gray's new venture.

Rocca Restaurant LLC, a company led by Gray, paid $1.7 million in December for property in the Markets at Town Center. Mortgage documents show the property address is 4972 Big Island Drive, which would be near the Nordstrom Rack.

The single-story Nordstrom Rack will be developed near the site where a two-level, 124,000-square-foot full-line Nordstrom will be developed in the St. Johns Town Center.

Seattle-based Nordstrom plans to open its first full-line Jacksonville upscale retail store in fall 2014. Nordstrom Rack is the off-price division.

It's common for a Rack store to operate in the same city as a Nordstrom. Spokesman Colin Johnson, saying he was not responding to the question of a Rack opening in the Markets at Town Center, said in December that "it's very common that we have Racks in close proximity to where we have a full-line store."

The Jacksonville-based England, Thims & Miller engineering firm is shown on site plans as the Nordstrom Rack project engineer. The project design firm is shown as Phillips Partnership of Atlanta.

The Daily Record reported in mid-December that site development plans were filed with the City and the St. Johns River Water Management District for the Nordstrom Rack.

The Markets at Town Center is next to St. Johns Town Center and is separately owned. The Markets at Town Center include Ulta, West Marine, Beard's Jewelry, Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Best Buy and other retailers and restaurants, including Brio Tuscan Grille.

Brio Tuscan Grille occupies Parcel 8. Parcel 9 will feature the 4,000-square-foot building; Parcel 10 is shown as the 7,659-square-foot restaurant; and Parcel 11 is the Nordstrom Rack.

St. Johns Town Center is co-owned by Ben Carter Properties and Simon Property Group, which also has ownership interests in The Avenues and Orange Park malls.

The Jacksonville Nordstrom Rack announcement could be imminent.

On Jan. 9, Nordstrom Inc. announced plans to open a 30,000-square-foot Nordstrom Rack at the Mercato in Naples. It also announced plans to open a 36,000-square-foot Nordstrom Rack in Atlanta at the Perimeter Expo shopping center. Both are expected to open in the fall.

Nordstrom operates nine full-line and eight Rack stores in Florida, including a location at Waterside Shops in Naples. "We're fortunate to have lots of customers living in South Florida and hope this new store will make it more convenient for our Naples customers to shop both our full-line and Rack locations," said Geevy Thomas, president of Nordstrom Rack, in a news release.

Nordstrom describes Nordstrom Rack as the off-price retail division of Nordstrom Inc., carrying on-trend merchandise from Nordstrom stores and Nordstrom.com at 50 to 60 percent off original Nordstrom prices.

Nordstrom Rack also offers a wide selection of apparel, accessories and shoes from many of the brands carried in Nordstrom stores. The items are purchased specially for Nordstrom Rack, with most at savings of 30 to 70 percent off.

Johnson said Nordstrom Rack began in the basement of the company's flagship downtown Seattle store in 1973 as a clearance department. He said it later moved to a standalone location a few blocks away and last year, the downtown Seattle Rack store was moved across the street from the full-line store.

As Nordstrom expanded across the country, the Rack stores did too.

"With over 100 stores throughout the U.S., Nordstrom Rack is a fun, fast and easy-to-shop destination where style meets savings," Nordstrom.com says.

The motto is "the ultimate treasure hunt."

Nordstrom operates 240 stores in 31 states, including 117 full-line stores, 119 Nordstrom Racks, two Jeffrey boutiques, one treasure&bond store and one clearance store.

In September, eight years after it first confirmed it was seriously looking at Jacksonville, Nordstrom announced it planned to open a two-level, 124,000-square-foot store in Jacksonville. It will anchor a new wing on the southwest side of the open-air St. Johns Town Center lifestyle center. The wing is planned between Brooks Brothers and Louis Vuitton.

According to Nordstrom, the company believes opening a Jacksonville store at St. Johns Town Center "will put it in an ideal position to serve customers throughout the Northeast Florida region."

"We've had our eye on Jacksonville for a long time, so it's gratifying for us to now have this opportunity to open our doors at St. Johns Town Center," said Erik Nordstrom, president of stores, in the September news release.

"We're fortunate to have loyal customers in Jacksonville and excited to be able to serve them better with a store at the First Coast's top shopping destination," he said.

While the full-line Nordstrom store planned for Jacksonville is listed on the website, a Rack isn't.

Not confirming the location, Johnson said in December: "We are hopeful everything can come together in a way that we could take care of more customers in Jacksonville and we are keeping our eyes open for opportunities as it relates to the Rack."

Nordstrom was founded in 1901 in Seattle as a shoe store.

Gate plans for Emerson Street store

Construction plans for the Gate Petroleum Co. store at 3150 Emerson St. show a 3,986-square-foot store at a project cost of $900,000. Auld & White Constructors LLC is listed as the contractor on the building permit application. Jacksonville-based Gate has not commented on the plans. It operates a smaller store near the new site.

The Daily Record previously reported Gate would buy 2.28 acres of a 9.57-acre tract to develop the store, according to plans filed with the City. The existing Gate, at 3230 Emerson St., is about 2,400 square feet on a half-acre. The building was constructed in 1969, property records show.

Pandora at Town Center

The City is reviewing plans for Pandora to open in a corner of the Artsy Abode store at St. Johns Town Center.

The permit shows Dodd Construction LLC of Keystone Heights as the contractor for the 4,108-square-foot interior renovation at a cost of $60,000. The location is 4764 River City Drive, No. 107.

The City approved four sign permits for the project Friday at a cost of $1,675.

The Pandora.net site says Pandora designs, makes and markets hand-finished and modern jewelry from genuine materials. It is sold in more than 65 countries on six continents through about 10,000 points of sale, including more than 800 concept stores. It is based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

It was founded in 1982 and has more than 6,000 employees worldwide, including 4,000 in Gemopolis, Thailand, where the company makes its jewelry.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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