Artists’ mural to present “Arlington” at the 67-year-old retail plaza renamed College Park.
Look for a face-lift followed by renovation at Town & Country Shopping Center.
Now called College Park, the center at northeast University Boulevard and Arlington Expressway will gain a mural that spells out Arlington.
“The mural was an important first step to improving a highly visible beacon in the Arlington community,” says a news release from JWB Real Estate Capital, part of JWB Companies.
Work starts this month and the murals are scheduled for completion in early March.
JWB Real Estate Companies commissioned eight Jacksonville artists for The Wall at College Park.
The eight-panel mural next to the expressway will span about 6,500 square feet for “Arlington.”
Each panel will represent the artist’s style and viewpoint.
The wall is on the side of the building leased by Legacy Ministries.
Artist Nicole “Nico” Holderbaum is coordinating the project and contributing her art to one of the panels. She intends to host a festival when the mural is completed.
The other seven participating artists are Christopher Clark, Tatiana Kitchen, Elena Ohlander, Martin “Tilin” Torres, Steven Teller, Ansley Randall and Anthony Rooney.
Holderbaum has directed and organized art and music events as well as mural productions that include Color Me Kona, The Landing Walls, Paws Park Murals, King’s Teen Murals, Duval Gems and the We Rise Festival.
JWB says street art beautifies outdoor spaces, inspires positive change and facilitates growth by attracting visitors and residents.
It said The Wall at College Park will showcase local talent and create an Arlington destination, including visitors looking for a film or photography backdrop.
“The increased traffic will support local business and the neighborhood at large,” JWB says.
JWB Real Estate Companies LLC, led by Alex Sifakis, bought the 67-year-old center in August for $5.08 million.
Sifakis said his group intends to renovate the center after the mural installation.
“JWB will renovate the plaza to bring the façade up to current standards of décor, update the landscape and renew signage across the site,” the release says.
Details will be released in the coming weeks, it says.
“JWB believes that this neighborhood deserves revitalization and invested in the College Park center … as an important first step in partnering with the community to highlight the value Arlington brings to our city,” the release says.
The property is part of the Renew Arlington Community Redevelopment Area, which the city hopes to assist with rejuvenation.
Jacksonville University is a leader in the redevelopment efforts.
Sifakis said Feb. 8 that the College Park name seemed to fit with JU, which is less than 2 miles north. “Also, we are going to be working with JU to activate the space,” he said.
Sifakis said his group hopes to play a significant role in Renew Arlington.
“College Park is the front door to Arlington and has been designated a Catalyst site in the Arlington CRA, and we are committed to making sure any project we undertake over there to be in the best interests of the neighborhood,” he said.
Sifakis said his group is working on signage, which probably will be installed with the renovations this year.
He said the center is about 50% occupied. It is anchored by Advance Auto Parts, Dollar General, DaVita Kidney Care and Legacy Ministries Worship Center.
Property records show Town & Country, Arlington’s first retail plaza, was developed in 1953 and then expanded. Sifakis said it comprises about 182,000 square feet of space on almost 19 acres at 903 University Blvd.
Town & Country was built between 1953 and 1979, with McDonald’s added in 1984, property records show.
JWB Property does not include the separately owned McDonald’s and the service station at the front of the site along University Boulevard.
Town & Country is at the eastern base of the Mathews Bridge and about 3 miles from Downtown.
Town & Country Shopping Center Inc., led by President Leonard Setzer, sold the property to 903 University Blvd LLC, led by JWB.
DLP Lending Fund LLC of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, issued an almost $6.1 million mortgage to JWB to include financing for construction or rehabilitation of the property.
Sifakis is president and one of four owners of JWB Real Estate Capital, which he formed with Gregg Cohen, chief marketing officer, in 2006. CFO Adam Rigel and CEO Adam Eiseman also are owners.
Jacksonville University President Tim Cost said in an email the school has had “good and constructive conversations” with Sifakis over the past few months.
"We respect and appreciate the investment and excellent work of Alex Sifakis and JWB Real Estate Capital in Arlington,” Cost said. “His development of College Park is certainly consistent with our university’s ongoing commitment to revitalizing Arlington - its safety, neighborhoods and commerce.”
Cost praised the shopping center’s public art and said art also is being planned at the university’s main entrance at University Boulevard and Merrill Road.
“It will take thoughtful planning and respectful engagement with the local Arlington community over the coming months and years, and we continue to believe strongly in Arlington as our home neighborhood,” he said.