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- 2013 - July - 17th -

City reviewing plans for reconstruction of East Arlington Publix store

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Publix Super Markets Inc. customers in Jacksonville's East Arlington area might soon see the Cobblestone Crossing store taken down and a new, larger store built in its place.

The City and the St. Johns River Water Management District are reviewing plans for reconstruction of the Publix at 2771 Monument Road.

The new store will be 53,785 square feet, about 9,000 square feet larger than the existing store, plans show.

The Daily Record first reported about the potential redevelopment Jan. 17.

In April, the City rezoned the 13.35-acre center to increase the maximum allowable commercial space.

The Daily Record reported in January that shopping center owner Cobblestone Sub LLC of Aventura was negotiating with Publix to rebuild the store on-site.

Cobblestone Sub LLC manager Daniel Halberstein said then that if the deal takes place, the project would be developed in 2014.

"Most likely if this does happen, it will happen sometime in 2014," he said. No other tenants would be affected.

"We definitely don't want to hurt the neighborhood and the tenants," he said, adding that developers are trying to make sure "if the project happens that it happens quickly."

Halberstein said in March the negotiations were in the final stages and he hoped to have the lease signed in the subsequent month or two.

"Then we proceed to rebuild," he said. He could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

Halberstein said construction would take about seven months, depending on regulatory and building approvals.

Cobblestone Sub LLC applied Jan. 2 to the City for a concurrency reservation certificate and mobility fee calculation certificate to tear down the existing 44,595-square-foot Publix grocery store and build a new 54,244-square-foot store at the site. The certificates were issued Jan. 9.

The latest plans show a 53,785-square-foot store.

Publix has operated at the Cobblestone Crossing shopping center since it was built 27 years ago.

The concurrency and mobility application shows a new building, an addition and an accessory building would be developed.

"The existing building is being replaced with a new building that is 9,649 square feet larger than the existing building. The new building will be used for the same shopping center use," states the application.

Plans under review by the City and the water management district show a 9,190-square-foot increase.

The project agent is engineering and planning firm England, Thims & Miller Inc. The architect is Alleguez Architecture Inc. of Coral Gables.

The developer is Brandon Partners of Orlando. Stephen Brandon, the contact for the project, was not available for comment.

Halberstein declined in January to disclose the investment costs of the project, but said "it will be pretty sizable."

He said the project would include renovations of the center's façade.

Cobblestone Crossing was developed in 1986. Property records show it comprises five buildings and is valued at $8.23 million for tax purposes.

One of the five buildings is the Publix, valued at $1.36 million.

A preliminary site plan filed with the application does not show that any occupied existing retail space is affected other than the Publix store itself.

Halberstein has said the expansion would take three vacant spaces next to Publix.

"Publix had looked into moving the store somewhere else," Halberstein said, but he said that did not work out and Publix began talking with Cobblestone Sub LLC.

Halberstein said Publix has been operating on five-year lease options and the current lease does not expire for a couple of years. A rebuilt store would trigger termination of the current lease and a new 20-year lease would begin, he said.

Halberstein said in January that Cobblestone Crossing was 92 percent occupied and there were discussions with tenants he could not disclose for the remaining 8 percent.

Publix did not respond to an email for comment.

Coach to increase capacity

New York-based Coach Inc. issued a statement that the interior expansion at its North Jacksonville distribution center is designed to increase capacity for stronger volumes.

The City approved a permit last week for a $2.39 million pick area platform expansion for Coach at its Jacksonville International Tradeport distribution center.

Intracoastal Builders Corp. is the contractor for the project at Coach's 506,156-square-foot operation at 1 Coach Way at the North Jacksonville business park.

Coach is a leather purse, shoes and accessories manufacturer. Its Jacksonville distribution center was built in 1995.

Andrea Shaw Resnick, senior vice president of investor relations and corporate communications, said in an email that Coach is in a quiet period in advance of reporting its fiscal year-end results later this month, but wanted to provide a statement about the permit application.

"Coach is investing in automation and a mezzanine at our Jacksonville distribution center to increase capacity and throughput to serve the increased business volumes," Resnick said.

She said the project would be completed by mid-September.

Duval housing permits on the rise

Single-family residential building permits soared 47.1 percent in Duval County in the City's third fiscal quarter, up by 171 permits to 534, compared to the third quarter the year before. The area excludes the Beaches and Baldwin. The City Building Inspection Division reported that all building permits issued rose 13.9 percent, by 684 to 5,605. All permits, including those other than construction, rose 14.7 percent, by 2,334 to 18,187. The percentage of building inspections performed rose 35.4 percent, by 5,173 to 19,787. All inspections increased by 27.8 percent, by 8,984 to 41,302.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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