San Pablo on tap for Florida Cracker Restaurant

A former tire shop at northwest Beach Boulevard and San Pablo Road is slated for restaurant conversion.
A former tire shop at northwest Beach Boulevard and San Pablo Road is slated for restaurant conversion.
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Florida Cracker Restaurant, an extension of the Florida Cracker Kitchen in Brooksville, is in development at Pablo Station at northwest Beach Boulevard and San Pablo Road.

Robert Tilka, vice president of strategy with ServStar Management Group, said today it will serve breakfast and lunch and is the first Florida Cracker in Jacksonville.

He said about 10 are possible through franchising throughout Florida. He said sites have been scouted for the next two or the in Northeast Florida.

Tilka said there is no firm opening date for the Pablo Station location, but said it could be within 45 days.

“It’s a great concept,” he said.

Plans show that the group will redevelop a former tire store on the property.

A building-permit application shows the contact as Tilka.

ServStar Management Group is a bar management company whose properties served include the three Hoptinger’s area locations, Surfer [The Bar] and The Shim Sham Room in Jacksonville Beach, Scarlett O’Hara’s in St. Augustine, and three locations for Dos Gatos.

Plans call for conversion of a 3,647-square-foot metal building that housed the tire shop for a 177-seat restaurant, according to a letter by the Genesis engineering firm filed with the St. Johns River Water Management District.

An existing car wash at the site will be converted into storage.

HHH Management Inc. is the landlord. Real estate director Donald Rosenthal said Wednesday that the restaurant was going through permitting at the former Tires Plus location. He said the tire shop closed early last year.

Rosenthal said the property drew a lot of interest from automotive users, but the landlord was looking for a different type of tenant.

Permits are in review.

In addition to an exemption verification sought with the water management district, the city is reviewing site plans and a permit application.

The permit application is for Flint Construction Services Inc. to demolish the interior of the property at 14329 Beach Blvd. It shows 3,000 square feet of interior space and 1,000 square feet of exterior space.

The city issued an electrical permit Feb. 13 for Happy Cat Electric Inc. to perform a safety inspection because the power had been off for more than a year.

Power is needed to clean the building to prepare it for being rented, the permit said.

Site plans show the property is on 2.19 acres and the restaurant proposes patio seating as well as indoor dining.

Bellwether could open next week

Bellwether, Jonathan Insetta’s newest restaurant, was open Wednesday for family and friends “so we can practice up and be ready to open to all next week!” said a sign in its window.

The 120-seat Bellwether is in the 100 North Laura building Downtown.

Insetta said Wednesday no opening date next week has been set.

The website calls Bellwether a “casual yet sophisticated restaurant” that “will offer an eclectic mix of timeless fare for lunch and dinner.”

The menu includes snacks; soups and salads; sandwiches; burgers that include a vegetarian beet burger; and lunch entrees such as wild Georgia shrimp and grits.

Insetta is president of Black Sheep Restaurant Group Inc., which includes Orsay in Avondale, Black Sheep Restaurant in Five Points and BLK SHP in Intuition Ale Works near the sports complex.

Downtown parking lot sold to Llorens

Miami-based investor Ramon Llorens bought the 2.78-acre parking lot at Hogan and West Bay streets near the parking garage his group owns at One Enterprise Center. Through Amkin Hogan LLC, Llorens paid $4.5 million for the property on May 11. He bought it from Aston Properties Inc. of Charlotte, N.C.

City Council to review incentives for Macquarie

City Council will review fast-tracked incentives for Macquarie Holdings USA Inc. to expand at Riverplace Tower on the Downtown Southbank and create 50 jobs.

Bill 2017-388, which will be introduced Tuesday at council, is a resolution for a development agreement with the city, Macquarie Holdings U.S.A. Inc. & Macquarie Global Services USA LLC to support the expansion.

The city would pay up to $50,000 as its 20 percent share of a Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund over five years starting in 2018.

The state would provide up to $200,000 comprising its 80 percent share of the requested QTI refund.

Macquarie would create 50 jobs at an average wage of $55,720 by year-end 2018. The refund would not be paid until the jobs were created and taxes were paid.

The salary is lower than the average $56,160 a year discussed May 8 at the Mayor’s Budget Review Committee.

Macquarie proposes to add 30 jobs this year and 20 next year.

Macquarie intends to invest at least $1.7 million in IT equipment, furniture and tenant improvements.

The Australia-based financial services company opened in Jacksonville in February 2016 on the fifth floor of the Southbank tower at 1301 Riverplace Blvd. It will expand onto the fourth.

Pending the incentives, Macquarie will locate its Corporate Operations Group to the building. The unit is a shared services center that provides human resource and business services to support Macquarie’s global operations.

Macquarie employs 102 people at an average wage of $64,356, according to a fact sheet.

The city and state approved an incentives package in 2015 for the company’s initial opening of a global shared-services office

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