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- 2014 - June - 20th -
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The vacant site at 5221 University Blvd. W. is owned by Home Depot, which appears to be planning a development there.

Home Depot requests regulatory review, but says it has no plans for University store

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

While a spokeswoman for The Home Depot said Friday the company has no plans to develop its site at University Boulevard West and Interstate 95, the company has taken regulatory steps necessary for development.

“Though we own the land and have researched the possibility of opening a store at University and I-95, at this point, we have no plans to open a store in this location,” said Catherine Woodling, manager of corporate communications for the Atlanta-based company.

Home Depot bought the land in August 2007 but didn’t develop it.

Development plans surfaced this month when Home Depot agent GreenbergFarrow of Atlanta applied June 6 to the city for a mobility fee calculation certificate.

Those plans show a 137,000-square-foot Home Depot store and garden area on the 10.67 acres at 5221 University Blvd. W. The property’s 2014 market value in progress is $2.28 million.

A site plan filed with the city with the June 6 application shows a 107,950-square-foot Home Depot with a 28,118-square-foot garden center.

The expedited mobility fee calculation certificate was issued June 13. No mobility fee was calculated for the project because it received credit for previous uses on the property.

The Florida Times-Union reported Feb. 6, in response to a reader question, that Home Depot demolished a Red Carpet Inn, Super 8, International House of Pancakes, a shuttered adult cabaret and a garage that were on the property. The newspaper said Home Depot spokeswoman Meghan Basinger said the company did not plan to build a store on the site.

The site plans filed with the city by GreenbergFarrow were initiated in 2006 and most recently update May 22. The mobility fee certificate is valid for a year but can be extended.

GreenbergFarrow is a planning, development, architecture and engineering firm. GreenbergFarrow.com says the firm has been providing architecture, engineering and site development services for The Home Depot since the chain’s founding.

District City Council member Don Redman said Thursday afternoon he wasn’t aware of any renewed plans, but said constituents had been asking about Home Depot’s intentions since the land purchase in 2007.

Redman said a development would provide investment and jobs to the area, which is in District 4. “That whole area needs a lot of help,” he said. “It means a lot for our district.”

Geneva Henderson, executive vice president with Lat Purser & Associates, a commercial real estate services firm, and a veteran Jacksonville retail broker, said a Home Depot decision would mean the chain saw a void in the market area.

“The fact they never built anything was tied to the economy, so that’s excellent news for that part of University Boulevard. It needs new blood,” she said when told of the potential project.

Henderson considers the market area to stretch from University Boulevard to San Marco and north across the St. Johns River into Riverside. “It’s a five-minute drive from Riverside,” she said.

She also said to expect fast-food restaurants, a bank and other retailers to build on the edges should Home Depot build. Outparcel for-sale signs are posted on the property by Clint Murphy with Murphy Land and Retail Services Inc.

HomeDepot.com shows at least a dozen Northeast Florida stores in the five-county metro area, including at least seven in Duval County.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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