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Panera 2.0 could be $1.3M investment

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Panera Bread will renovate all 17 Jacksonville-area cafes into its 2.0 concept, which could be a $1.33 million investment based on the first nine projects permitted.

St. Louis-based Panera is investing more than $700,000 so far in converting nine of its Duval County restaurants to its 2.0 concept, which focuses on technology upgrades and access as well as café redesigns to improve customer service.

Last week, the city issued its ninth permit for Panera Bread to renovate one of the company’s newest locations at 1440 Hendricks Ave. in San Marco.

St. Louis-based Panera Bread has at least 17 restaurants in Northeast Florida. The average cost for the first nine is $78,744.

Spokeswoman Mandy Burns said Friday she could not provide specifics about the timing for the upgrades.

The renovations allow diners to take a more hands-on approach when it comes to ordering. In April, the company unveiled Panera 2.0, a series of integrated technologies to increase capabilities for digital ordering, payment, operations and consumption “to create an enhanced guest experience for ‘to go’ and ‘eat in’ customers.”

In June, Panera Bread Co. announced it secured a five-year, $100 million loan for general corporate purposes, including the Panera 2.0 rollout.

Panera Bread said in April it expects to roll out the full suite of its 2.0 elements to substantially all cafes over 36 months.

DeSoto Square Mall draws $33.75M bid

A Bradenton shopping center owned by the buyers of Regency Square Mall was auctioned last week. The auction for DeSoto Square Mall closed Thursday with the highest bid at $33.75 million.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that on the same day, the retail center’s premier anchor, Macy’s, announced it would close.

The newspaper said the identity was unclear about the highest bidder in the non-absolute auction or if the current owners will accept the offer.

A commercial specialist told the newspaper that if the mall was sold and developed with residential and some commercial outparcels, the deal could be a game-changer for Manatee County.

The newspaper reported that analysts believe the potential buyer will likely transition it from retail to other uses.

The Herald-Tribune reported the 680,271-square-foot mall was listed for sale at auction by its owners, Great Neck, N.Y.-based Mason Asset Management, a month ago.

Mason bought the mall in 2012 from Simon Property Group for $24.6 million.

Meanwhile, Macy’s told its DeSoto Square employees Thursday that the 132,000-square-foot department store, which opened in the mall in the 1970s as a Burdines, will close. The store employs 127 and most will be offered positions at the Mall at University Town Center 10 miles away.

Macy’s filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification with the state Thursday that it would lay off 131 employees between Sept. 30 and Oct. 13.

Mason Asset Management is a partner in the group that bought Regency Square Mall in February. Regency Square and DeSoto Square are Mason Asset Management’s major properties in Florida.

Mason is known for buying distressed, bank-owned and off-market properties.

Regency Square is 1.6 million square feet, much larger than DeSoto Square.

Regency Mall Realty LLC, a joint venture of Namdar Realty Group LLC and Mason Asset Management, bought Regency for $13 million.

The mall is anchored by JCPenney, Sears, Belk and a Dillard’s clearance center. Occupancy had fallen to 37.9 percent by year-end 2013.

However, in the six months since Mason bought Regency, new stores have opened and more are expected, although there are questions about the future of Belk there because a site has been cleared for a new Belk several miles east of the Arlington mall.

BofA to market Downtown drive-up site

Bank of America intends to market the 50 W. State St. site Downtown where it will close its drive-up banking facility at 2 p.m. Nov. 7.

The location offers drive-up teller service, an ATM and night drop.

It notified customers last week that it continues to operate nearby facilities at 50 N. Laura St. on the Northbank and 2011 San Marco Blvd. on the Southbank.

The West State Street operation opened in 1998. It’s a 1.08-acre site.

Retail on the rise

• Express Oil Change is building a location at 15202 Max Leggett Parkway. It’s a $350,000 project.

• Disney Store is renovating space at St. Johns Town Center in the new Nordstrom wing. It’s a $348,728 build-out. Nordstrom opens Oct. 10.

• Salvation Army is putting up signs at its new Arlington location at 9119 Merrill Road, in the Big Lots-anchored center. Look for “Salvation Army Family Store” and “Salvation Army Donation Center.”

• Q Auto is putting up ground and wall signs at 10564 Philips Highway, the former Coggin Toyota at the Avenues dealership. The dealership built a new location at 11340 Philips Highway. Both the Toyota dealership and Q Auto are owned by Duluth, Ga.-based Asbury Automotive Group Inc., which chose Jacksonville and Tampa for its first Q Auto standalone used-car locations.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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