Boutique Hotel, Parking Garage Added To Old Neptune Beach Kmart Site Plan

Jul 11, 2018

Plans for the old Neptune Beach Kmart shopping center have taken a new turn.

After running into community objections, the developers have redone the site plan for 500 Atlantic to include a boutique hotel, parking garage and fewer apartments.

TriBridge Residential and TLM Realty have posted the new plans, which reduce the number of residences from 199 to 175.

The boutique hotel would have to up 74 rooms, and nearly 20,000 additional square feet of commercial space has been added. TriBridge Residential is discusssing who would operate the hotel with several groups but doesn't have a hotelier to announce yet.

The parking garage would also be available for public use and is being described as a natural extension of the nearby Beaches Town Center.

“The parking deck is what we called wrapped on three sides by a combination of the boutique hotel and residential units. So the only side that’s exposed is actually exposed to the adjacent building where the Lucky’s shopping center is,” said TriBridge Residential Principal Katherine Mosley.

Updated renderings showing the hotel and garage aren't available yet, according to Mosley.

The project also includes retail, restaurant and commercial offerings.

The developers say the site plan changes are being made in response to feedback from the community and Neptune Beach city officials.

“These revised plans – which no longer request any [zoning] variances and which include all residential above commercial space and a parking garage that will be available to the public – show our commitment to enhancing the Beaches with a walkable development where residents and visitors can live, work and play,”  said Mosley. "Throughout our planning process, we have listened carefully to resident concerns and have factored those issues that the Neptune Beach community feels most strongly about into our design." 

But the revision does not seem to have quelled fears among a group of nearby residents, who remain vocal opponents of the redevelopment. A post in the Facebook group Neptune Beach KMart on July 8 said, "Go back to the drawing board, Tribridge. We say, If It is Too Dense, It Makes No Sense for Neptune Beach." 

If approved, 500 Atlantic will also include a multi-purpose trail that connects Lemon Street with Jarboe Park, the Beaches Branch Library and surrounding neighborhoods.

The Bemarmi buildings would also be repurposed. The current concept includes a food hall and cultural entertainment facility.

Last month, 500 Atlantic and the Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre announced the theatre group was moving to the complex.

The theatre company has been renamed All Beaches Experimental Theatre (the ABET acronym stays the same) and will be temporarily housed in the same building as Lucky’s Market until the project is developed.

TriBridge Residential says the complex will have design continuity with existing Beaches Town Center architectural and landscape standards.

The updated plan will be presented at the Neptune Beach Community Development Board meeting on July 18 at 6 p.m. at Fletcher High School.

A recent post in the opposition Facebook group says, "EVERY BODY SHOW UP TO THE CDB MEETING ON JULY 18TH !!!! OUR NUMBERS IN ATTENDANCE WILL SHOW THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BOARD (CDB) HOW SERIOUS WE ARE ABOUT SAYING NO TO THIS PROJECT."

TriBridge has also developed the Bluwater Apartments in Jacksonville Beach, the Cottage at North Beach in Atlantic Beach and is currently building The Jaxon in the St. Johns Town Center area. The Jaxson is expected to open before summer’s end.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.