Chipotle considering former Pier 1 site in Regency area

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A year after Pier 1 Imports told customers it would close its Regency area store, plans are emerging for site redevelopment as a Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Property owner Propier Inc. applied to the St. Johns River Water Management District to demolish the Pier 1 at 9395 Atlantic Blvd. and build a restaurant for Chipotle.

The 8,550-square-foot Pier 1, which closed in February, would be replaced by a 2,271-square-foot Chipotle.

The 79-seat restaurant and parking would go up on the 0.75-acre site.

Chipotle operates seven Duval County locations, according to its website.

Pier 1 said a year ago it made a strategic decision to close the Regency store in late February. The company, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, has five other stores in the area.

The closing was another retail departure in the Regency area, after Hobby Lobby, Bed Bath & Beyond and World Market closed.

This year, Outback Steakhouse closed its restaurant in Regency Park across Atlantic Boulevard from the Pier 1 site.

There also were openings. Ollie’s Bargain Outlet opened in June in Regency Park and Pollo Tropical opened a location nearby in July 2015 on the site of a former Hess station between Chick-fil-A and Chili’s.

As of Sept. 30, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. operated 2,129 Chipotle restaurants in the U.S. and 27 more internationally.

Chipotle is a fast-casual, fresh Mexican restaurant that sells burritos, bowls, tacos and salads.

CNNMoney reported in October that Chipotle continues to grapple with dropping sales and customer questions a year after a nationwide E. coli outbreak at Chipotle. said Chipotle customers and investors don’t see the restaurant as the golden brand it was before the outbreak, although customers are coming back.

The company closed stores for a day in February to focus on food-safety issues.

Tesla preparing for Philips showroom

Tesla Motors Inc. is rolling through the process of opening a showroom at a service center it operates at 7818 Philips Highway.

The Planning Commission signed off Thursday on a zoning exception for retail sales and outside display for a showroom at the site.

The building is divided between a business area and a service area. The architect says there will be no outside display parking.

A December site plan shows two display cars inside.

The service center, which opened recently, comprises about 13,700 square feet while the business office is almost 2,750 square feet and the sales space is about 1,700 square feet.

Tesla also operates a showroom at St. Johns Town Center.

In August, Tesla applied for a permit to renovate 18,180 square feet at Philips Highway for the service and sales center.

Plans showed Tesla, based in Palo Alto, Calif., will operate an electric automobile repair, sales and service center.

MBH Architects of Alameda, Calif., is the architect.

The building is at the front of Perimeter Commerce Park.

Tesla, incorporated in 2003 and traded publicly, designs, develops, makes and sells high-performance fully electric vehicles and energy products. It operates subsidiaries in North America, Europe and Asia.

EastPark Wawa nearing construction

Now that it’s 2017, Wawa likely will start construction of its first Northeast Florida gas stations and convenience stores.

The Pennsylvania-based company said in June it would open at least five Northeast Florida locations by the end of this year.

Just before New Year’s Eve, site plans were filed for Wawa at southeast Beach Boulevard and Central Parkway in EastPark. It is planned on 2.64 acres.

EnVision Design + Engineering LLC is the civil engineer and Cuhaci & Peterson of Orlando is the architect.

Wawa also has applied for permits to build at 4866 Gate Parkway in The Crossing at Town Center and at 6787 Wilson Blvd. in West Jacksonville.

Permit applications were filed Friday to demolish structures on the Wilson Boulevard site in preparation for Wawa’s construction.

All of the stores are 6,119 square feet.

Other identified sites are one in East Arlington and two in Clay County.

Wawa Inc. said it wanted to open 30-40 stores in Northeast Florida over time.

At a cost of at least $5 million in each location and 40 jobs per store, the company is looking at an investment of $150 million and a job base of 1,200 in Northeast Florida for the first 30.

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