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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Feb. 14, 201312:00 PM EST

Freshfields Farm Produce & Meat Market nearer construction


Derek Wagner, director of marketing for Orlando-based Freshfields Farm, said that pending permitting approvals, construction and renovations for its Jacksonville location could be completed for a fall opening.

The City continues to review plans for the Freshfields Farm Produce & Meat Market at 5555 University Blvd. W., the former Liberty Furniture site.

"We are hoping to firm some of that up in the near future," Wagner said.

Freshfields Farm wants to create a 22,300-square-foot market at the 4.2-acre site. It would remove part of the existing building and construct a new addition as well as a future addition.

The site is at University Boulevard and Spring Park Road. Acamas Civil Engineering is the engineer.

As the Daily Record reported in October, Freshfields Farm will sell only what its name implies – produce and meat, according to plans filed with the City.

A letter from Acamas Civil Engineering states that there will be no dairy, dry goods or other items found in a traditional grocery store.

The landscape architect is Janet O. Whitmill and the general contractor is shown on plans as Williams & Rowe.

Plans also show a proposed tractor display and picnic tables at the front of the building.

As the Daily Record has reported, University & Spring Park LLC, which was formed in April 2012, bought the property from Liberty Furniture Co. in May for about $1.48 million. Liberty bought it in 1997 for $1.5 million.

Property records show it carries a taxable value of almost $1.21 million.

Partners in University & Spring Park LLC and in Freshfields Farm Inc. include David, Jacquelyn and Jordan DeLoach of Orlando. David DeLoach is the manager of Freshfields Jacksonville LLC.

University & Spring Park LLC filed its articles of organization with the state in April and Freshfields Jacksonville LLC filed in May.

According to, the business began in 1973 in Orlando as a small meat market. It added a produce department in 1981 and then expanded again in 1983, 1999 and 2001. It said it changed the name of the business in 2008 from "Momm's Meats Popp's Produce" to "Freshfields Farm."

The Orlando location, at 400 E. Compton St., is open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, although hours change on some holidays.

It is closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Wagner said the Orlando operation has about 115 employees. He estimated employment would start at 60 at the Jacksonville market.

The website describes Freshfields Farm:

"We receive truckloads of fresh beef, chicken, pork, seafood and deli meats daily. Unlike conventional 'super' stores, nearly all of the meat we sell is hand-cut and packaged right here in our store the same day it's received," the website says.

"We don't have distribution warehouses common to traditional supermarkets, which reduces the time it takes for fresh meats to get from the farm to our store. Besides the obvious benefit of having a longer shelf life, no warehousing also means no distribution trucks, which gets product to you faster and is friendlier to the environment," it says.

The Freshfields Farm website said nearly all of its produce comes directly from growers or the packaging plant. "By eliminating middlemen, not only do we add days of shelf life to your produce, we also keep the prices low," it said.

Liberty Furniture closed in 2011 after 87 years in business, operating first on Adams Street Downtown and then on San Jose Boulevard before opening at the University Boulevard location in 1986.

It remained in the same family, with Bea and Marvin Sherman being the most recent owners, according to a notice from the company upon the closing. Mattress Smart then operated there, but that has closed.

Normandy Commons

The City has approved construction for the 9,723-square– foot Normandy Commons building at 6690 Normandy Blvd. at a project cost of $593,000.

Crabtree Construction Co. is the contractor.

Separately, a building permit application shows plans for Concentra urgent care at 6690 Normandy Blvd., No. 101.

The plans show a $550,000 build-out in 8,343 square feet of space. It shows interior tenant alterations of existing space for an urgent care facility.

A St. Johns River Water Management District application indicates a 10,000-square-foot multitenant commercial building is planned.

Almond Engineering is the project engineer. Plans were prepared for property owner Normandy LLC, whose managing member is Nan Ping Tsai Chen.

The website shows two urgent-care locations in Jacksonville at 1036 Dunn Ave., Suite 10, in North Jacksonville and 7764 Normandy Blvd., Suite 24, in West Jacksonville.

"As the largest provider of occupational and urgent medical care in the U.S., Concentra offers these services, as well as physical therapy and wellness services, from more than 330 walk-in clinics in 40 states across the country," says the website.

"Our medical centers are staffed with board-certified doctors and licensed physical therapists, along with mid-level practitioners and other medical professionals who have the experience necessary to meet the occupational and urgent care needs of employees and the general public," it says.

Concentra is a subsidiary of Humana Inc.

VyStar buys First Guaranty building in Riverside

VyStar Credit Union bought the former First Guaranty Bank and Trust Co. of Jacksonville property at 760 Riverside Ave. for $1.5 million. Records show VyStar bought the property from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which was appointed the receiver for First Guaranty.

Records show First Guaranty bought the property, in two parcels, in 1997 from The Florida Medical Association Inc. and the American National Red Cross.

Records show the two-story, 13,500-square-foot building and property carried a 2012 taxable value of $1.85 million.

The Daily Record reported in October that property records showed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. had recently sold several former First Guaranty Bank and Trust Co. properties, including another to VyStar at 10903 Baymeadows Road for $1.64 million.

The Daily Record reported in January 2012 that federal regulators shut down First Guaranty Bank and Trust Co. of Jacksonville and sold all eight branches to CenterState Bank of Florida. CenterState said First Guaranty's eight offices would reopen as branches of First Guaranty Bank and Trust Co., a division of CenterState Bank.

However, CenterState did not buy all of the branches, according to its latest quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"The Company also exercised its option, pursuant to the FDIC purchase and assumption agreement, and did not purchase six of the eight branch real estate locations of FGB," it said.

"It has purchased two of the offices and consolidated the remaining six branches into the remaining two existing branches, which have approximately 75 percent of FGB's deposits as of the acquisition date, during the second quarter. The two office locations were purchased at current market value based on current appraisals," it said.

CenterState Bank Market President Gil Pomar said CenterState decided to close six of the offices, turning five over to the FDIC. A sixth that had been leased from private owners also closed.

He said CenterState closed the smaller offices simultaneously with opening the larger Southside market headquarters office at 7077 Bonneval Road in Southpoint.

Pomar said CenterBank now has three Jacksonville branches, including two former First Guaranty offices at 1234 King St. in Riverside and at 2922 Corinthian Ave. in Ortega.

First Guaranty had been saddled with bad loans and losing money for several years. The Fant family, which had run the bank since its founding in 1947, thought it found a way to keep operating as an independent bank with a deal announced in November 2011 to sell the seven branches to South Carolina-based CertusBank N.A. That deal would have allowed First Guaranty to continue in operation with one branch in Arlington.

Before the deal, which required regulatory approval, could be completed, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. stepped in and closed it.

CenterState Banks Inc. is headquartered in Davenport and operates through 55 branches in 18 Florida counties.

More plans

The St. Johns River Water Management District is reviewing plans for:

• A 22-unit housing complex in Jacksonville Beach on a 0.57-acre site at Ninth Avenue South and Second Street South. Eckstein Investments LLC of Paducah, Ky., is the property owner and developer. The Touring Co. Inc. is the engineer and Boatwright Land Surveyors Inc. is the surveyor. The three-story complex will consist of parking on the ground level and housing on the upper two floors.

• D.R. Horton Inc. proposes to develop the Baymeadows Business Park by relocating a 2-acre golf course retention pond to develop 7.83 acres of commercial property. The overview says the Baymeadows Business Park is a 5.8-acre parcel next to Baymeadows Road between Baymeadows Circle East and Baymeadows Circle West. The address is 7981 Baymeadows Circle W. The current property consists of an existing golf course pond and putting green as well as a golf-cart path and master pumping station. A paving and drainage plan indicates two proposed buildings and a proposed restaurant. J. Lucas & Associates Inc. is the project engineer.

• The Diocese of St. Augustine proposes construction of a church campus for St. Patrick's Catholic Church in North Jacksonville on 13.76 acres next to the existing rectory site.

Bankruptcies start slow in 2013

If the 612 bankruptcy filings in January in the Jacksonville Division of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Middle District of Florida continue at that pace this year, the area could see the lowest number of filings since 2007.

Bankruptcy filings in the 16-county division averaged 501 a month in 2007, rising to 701 monthly in 2008, 929 in 2009 and reaching a record 953 a month in 2010. Average monthly filings dropped to 793 in 2011 and 693 last year.

Meanwhile, the 612 filings in January were more than the 578 filings in January 2012 and the highest number since 785 in October.

In 2010, consumers and businesses filed at a monthly rate topping 1,000 during five months and filed between 900 and 1,000 petitions in three other months.

March has been the month of the most filings the past several years.

Idea Integration leases in Flagler Center

Duke Addison, president and CEO of Addison Commercial Real Estate Inc., announced that he and Steve Orman of Addison Commercial represented Idea Integration Corp. in tenant negotiations for a 14,410-square-foot lease in the Lakeside One building at 12724 Gran Bay Parkway W. Ross Carrier of Flagler represented the landlord, FDG Flagler Center LLC.

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