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The updated rendering for Gate Petroleum Co.'s new Gate Express Carwash venture.
Jax Daily Record Friday, Jan. 27, 201712:00 PM EST

Gate buys six sites for car washes


Gate Petroleum Co. said six sites have been acquired for its initial push into the market for its Gate Express Carwash venture.

Another 11 sites are in various stages of review. Gate owns some of the sites, some could be bought imminently and others are under contract or a letter of intent, said spokeswoman Misty Skipper.

Gate Express Carwash will debut in late spring or summer with two locations.

One is in Southwest Jacksonville at Interstate 295 and Collins Road and the other is in St. Johns County at Nocatee Parkway and Davis Park Drive.

Both are near Gate convenience stores and gas stations.

While many Gate stores feature car washes, the new design is for stand-alone developments. Not all will be next to Gate stores.

The other three acquired Duval sites are at Beach and Hodges boulevards, Monument Road at the Kendall Town retail center, and Florida 9B and Philips Highway, Skipper said.

The Monument Road site is across the street from a Gate store and the company has plans for a convenience store at the Philips Highway location.

In St. Johns County, Gate Express has a site in the new Durbin Park, which Gate Petroleum is developing.

Skipper said permits are in process for the first two stores, while a zoning variance is sought for the Beach Boulevard location.

Skipper declined to say how much the private company expects to invest in each car wash.

Gate executive Hill Peyton is leading the car wash development as other express-wash competitors prepare to enter the market.

“We think the car wash business is going in this direction … and we want to be the first ones in this market to do it,” Peyton said in October when the venture was announced.

The 11 pending sites are throughout Jacksonville; in Middleburg in Clay County; and in Ponte Vedra Beach and elsewhere in St. Johns County.

While not one of those 11, Gate also is pursuing plans for a car wash at 5180 Baymeadows Road.

The Jacksonville-based company applied for a zoning exception to operate a car wash at the former site of a bank at Baymeadows and Old Kings roads.

Gate wants to develop a 4,375-square-foot car wash on the almost 1-acre site. The application shows the property is owned by First-Citizens Bank & Trust Co. in Raleigh, N.C.

Skipper said Gate will not buy that site until the zoning exception is approved.

In another step, BFC Property Holdings Inc. registered its fictitious name with the state for Gate Express Carwash. BFC is based at Gate’s corporate headquarters at 9540 San Jose Blvd.

Skipper said BFC, which stands for “Better, Faster, Cheaper,” is Gate’s wholly owned subsidiary for the car washes.

Gate said in October it will build and operate more than 20 free-standing express tunnel Gate Express locations throughout Northeast Florida.

They will feature a 125- to 145-foot tunnel system that can accommodate five to seven vehicles at a time and provide a wash in less than 4 minutes. Customers don’t have to leave their cars.

When through the wash, a customer can pull the vehicle into a bay and use a free vacuum.

Pricing starts at $5 and all washes include the free vacuum. Monthly membership packages also will be available, Gate said.

The car washes will operate 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Food notes

• The developer of the proposed Chipotle Mexican Grill in Regency isn’t being assessed a mobility fee because it is taking over the former Pier 1 Imports site at 9395 Atlantic Blvd. It won’t be creating any net new traffic, the city determined. The 79-seat, 2,271-square-foot restaurant is proposed on less than an acre where Pier 1 will be taken down.

• While not identified, a fast-food restaurant with a drive thru is proposed on vacant land south along Normandy Boulevard west of Chaffee Road South. The 4,000-square-foot building would be developed on less than an acre.

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