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Jax Daily Record Friday, Jul. 31, 201512:00 PM EST

Pablo Plaza shopping center getting $18M makeover; PetSmart and Whole Foods to be tenants

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by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

As it prepares to add Whole Foods as a grocery anchor sometime in the next six years, Equity One Inc. announced an $18 million makeover of the Pablo Plaza shopping center in Jacksonville Beach that will also include PetSmart as a junior anchor.

Equity One announced the renovation project as it reported its second-quarter earnings late Wednesday.

“Pablo Plaza is in need of a makeover and it’s getting it,” property manager Kevin Hollenbeck said Thursday.

Equity One bought the property, which was built in 1973, for $19.3 million in 2010 and it is valued on the company’s books at $18.4 million, according to its annual report. So the company is spending nearly as much on the renovation as the value of the center.

The 146,491-square-foot shopping center at the intersection of Third Street and 23rd Avenue South is 79 percent leased, according to Equity One’s second quarter report.

Current anchor tenants include Marshalls, Home Goods and Office Depot.

Office Depot sublets its space from Publix Super Markets Inc., which holds a lease that expires in November 2018, according to Equity One’s report.

Publix moved out of that space in 1995 when it opened a store in the South Beach Parkway center south of Butler Boulevard along Florida A1A.

Whole Foods Market Inc., which operates a store in Mandarin, announced in May it had signed a lease to open a store in Pablo Plaza but not until 2021. However, it would be able to move in once the Publix lease expires in three years.

“I would think it would be sooner than that (2021),” Hollenbeck said.

But Equity One is not waiting for Whole Foods. Hollenbeck said renovations should begin this fall, including the space for PetSmart.

PetSmart has seven other Jacksonville area stores, according to its website.

Both Whole Foods and PetSmart have signed leases. Hollenbeck said other new tenants are in the works, but he can’t name them because the leases are not yet signed.

However, he said the company expects a large national chain restaurant to take over an outparcel in front of the main shopping center and a smaller chain restaurant to move into the space vacated by Jason’s Deli, which closed its Pablo Plaza restaurant last year.

Equity One owns 124 properties in 11 states, including 101 retail properties.

Besides Pablo Plaza, Equity One owns five other shopping centers in the Jacksonville area.

The largest is the 307,873-square-foot South Beach Regional center on the north side of Butler Boulevard on Third Street. The center, with anchors including Trader Joe’s, Home Depot and Stein Mart, is 97 percent leased.

Equity One’s portfolio also includes the 104,687-square-foot Atlantic Village shopping center in Atlantic Beach that is 98 percent leased, anchored by LA Fitness and JoAnn Fabrics.

Hollenbeck said Pablo Plaza has been the “little stepchild” sitting between Equity One’s other two Beaches centers, but the company is ready to change that.

“We’ve got big plans for that center and it needs it,” he said.

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