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Toney Sleiman spent much of Saturday at a United Way of Northeast Florida benefit at his Atlantic North shopping center, where a Belk department store and Earth Fare grocer are planned.
Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Oct. 2, 201312:00 PM EST

Sleiman envisions 'town center'


Developer Toney Sleiman envisions his property at northwest Atlantic and Kernan boulevards as a major retail center.

"It'll be the next St. Johns Town Center," said Sleiman, a prolific developer who owns the land at three of the four corners of the intersection.

He compares the potential of his property to the success of the 240-acre St. Johns Town Center retail and housing development at Butler Boulevard and the Interstate 295 East Beltway.

The Atlantic and Kernan property, now called Atlantic North but shown on plans as the Marketplace at the Fountains, has about 40 acres under development now, including plans for a new Belk department store and Earth Fare organic foods grocer. It would be the first Earth Fare in the market.

Sleiman says he owns 100 more acres at Atlantic North, stretching west to CarMax, that will be developed as he secures tenants.

"I'm going after everybody," he said about retailers, restaurants and other tenants.

Sleiman said he would develop the property in stages. "When I get somebody I like, I will put them in there."

Atlantic North has Academy Sports + Outdoors and LA Fitness. Belk plans to build at the western end of the center, while the Earth Fare is scheduled to occupy a store next to Academy.

Four more stores are planned that will complete the center, from Belk on the west to LA Fitness on the east.

The southeast corner of Atlantic and Kernan is anchored by BJ's Wholesale Club and the southwest property is anchored by Walmart and Kohl's.

"If you want to be in that market, I own all three corners," he said. "It's a nice position to be in."

Sleiman said he has just two parcels remaining available at the southwest site, while seven are available at the northwest Atlantic North property.

Atlantic North could be renamed, Sleiman said, playing with the "marketplace" name.

He expects fast-food and restaurant chains to be among the tenants interested in the site. "Look at the traffic count on Atlantic Boulevard. There are 100,000 cars a day," he said.

Sleiman said a couple of the new stores in Atlantic North will be new to the market, but declined to identify them.

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