Restaurants negotiating at Boulevard Crossing; Ikea temporary parking lot plans

Former Kmart site to start redevelopment by spring; McDonald’s there to be replaced.

Developers expect to start site work at Beach and University boulevards by spring to redevelop the former Kmart site into Boulevard Crossing.
Developers expect to start site work at Beach and University boulevards by spring to redevelop the former Kmart site into Boulevard Crossing.
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Site work should begin by early spring on Boulevard Crossing, a redevelopment of the former Kmart site at northwest Beach and University boulevards.

Jacksonville developer Jeff Conn said Friday construction should start by late summer on what will comprise four buildings totaling about 30,000 square feet of space.

That includes a new McDonald’s to replace the one on the site, he said.

Conn and his groups — Boulevard Crossing LLC and Boulevard Investors LLC — don’t own the Kmart building.

He said Friday he had no further information about the status of that structure but said previously he will be developing the property.

The center will be called Boulevard Crossing. Plans filed with the St. Johns River Water Management District show the closed Kmart and other structures will be removed and the site redeveloped among four parcels.

Three parcels appear to be a 10,100-square-foot building, a multitenant structure of 6,790 square feet and the McDonald’s. A fourth is shown as “future.”

Conn said he has serious letters of intent from a few food tenants, but declined to identify them. He also said there will be retailers other than restaurants.

“That land has been sitting there for so many years. It’s obviously a great infill site with lots of traffic flow,” he said.

Kmart closed five years ago.

Conn said traffic flows west into Downtown in the morning and east in the afternoon, providing a steady stream of potential customers.

The property is about 4 miles east of Downtown in an area developed with retail stores and dominated on the southeast corner by Memorial Hospital and Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital.

Conn said that provides a “great daytime population.” It also is near many neighborhoods.

Conn, a principal and co-founder of NAI Hallmark Partners, is president of Boulevard Crossing LLC.

Boulevard Crossing LLC paid almost $1.9 million in October 2014 for about 8 acres at 5751 Beach Blvd.

Conn said his groups own the bulk of the large parking lot while the Kmart building is held by another owner.

Boulevard Crossing LLC is led by Conn and Vice President Alex Coley, also a co-founder and principal of Jacksonville-based real estate company NAI Hallmark Partners.

Conn also is the agent for Boulevard Investors LLC, which bought more property at the site Aug. 31 fronting Beach Boulevard, including the McDonald’s, for $365,000.

The Water Management District application for an environmental resource permit shows the project at 8.84 acres.

A preliminary site plan for Boulevard Crossing is included with Mobility Fee Calculation Certificates sought by Boulevard Crossing LLC.

The city calculated a mobility fee of almost $35,500 to support the transportation impacts of the larger building and $56,573 for the smaller.

The plan shows the property would comprise four parcels, starting west of the existing Piccadilly Cafeteria, which is not part of the project.

Conn said there is plenty of retail interest in the site. Kmart closed its 108,341-square-foot store in 2012. There also is 36,563 square feet of retail space. The structures were built in 1969.

Property records show the entire site to be 13.5 acres.

Ikea ensures ‘plenty of parking’

Ikea spokeswoman Latisha Bracy said the additional parking the company arranged for the Nov. 8 grand opening is necessary.

“In addition to the permanent 950 on-site spaces, we plan to secure nearly 1,000 additional spaces temporarily for the grand opening period,” Bracy said.

“This will ensure that Ikea Jacksonville will have plenty of parking for grand opening activities,” she said.

Plans show that Ikea will use almost 11 acres for temporary excess parking and will use shuttles to transport customers to the store.

Bracy said Ikea is “thrilled with the success of our recent store openings in the U.S. and the smoothness by which Ikea has been able to handle” the number of customers shopping over grand-opening weekends.

In a filing with the St. Johns River Water Management District, the company’s agent said it needs about 1,000 temporary spots nearby for the first three months after its opening.

A request for an administrative deviation from the city Zoning Code states even more — up to 1,100 spaces.

Ikea, a popular home-furnishings store, will open at 7801 Gate Parkway at northwest Gate Parkway and Interstate 295.

Ikea wants to use temporary spaces on vacant land owned by Ash Properties on the other side of I-295 at southwest Gate Parkway and Baymeadows Road East.

The 290,000-square-foot Jacksonville Ikea is the Swedish company’s fifth store in Florida and its 46th in the U.S.

The temporary parking lot will maintain the same business hours as Ikea during the three months and will operate seven days a week.

Ikea will open at 9 a.m. Nov. 8. Its regular hours will be 10 a.m.-9 p.m. daily, while its restaurant operates 9:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

After three months, the off-street lot will be restored to its previous condition, according to the written justification filed with the deviation request.

The vacant property is within a business park development that is not built out.

The deviation requests a reduction in minimum landscape requirements for the temporary parking field.

Ikea plans:

  • A stabilized surface suitable for driving and parking that will be removed after three months, as well as temporary fencing and lighting for the parking lot during operation.
  • A traffic maintenance plan for vehicles entering the temporary parking areas as well as for the shuttle service to the store. That could include message boards and signage.
  • A third-party parking vendor will manage on-site parking traffic and shuttling customers and employees from the lot.



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