Developer: San Marco Project With Potential Publix 'Is Moving Forward'

With Publix Super Markets Inc. renovating stores around Jacksonville and preparing to open more, including its first area GreenWise Market in Nocatee, the topic naturally surfaced.

What’s up with the East San Marco project and the Publix that is supposed to anchor it?

“East San Marco is moving forward as we speak,” Regency Centers Corp. Senior Communications Manager Eric Davidson told our Jacksonville Daily Record news partner on Tuesday.

“Although we don’t have a specific start date to announce the details are currently being ironed out between all stakeholders,” he said in a statement.

Davidson said Publix remains committed to the project.

East San Marco has been 16 years in the making. The site remains vacant at 1532 Atlantic Blvd. and Hendricks Avenue. Signs continue to announce its upcoming presence.

In April, Regency Centers Corp. Chairman and CEO Martin E. “Hap” Stein said the project, once envisioned as a retail and multifamily development, will be just Publix and shops and restaurants.

“It’s going to be a terrific shopping center that’ll be very favorably received by the neighborhood and what the neighborhood needs,” Stein said in April after Jacksonville-based Regency Centers Corp.’s annual meeting of shareholders. Regency is a national shopping center owner.

“It will be a very positive addition to a great neighborhood in the San Marco area,” he said.

That was six months ago. Stein said then that construction should start within the year and be completed a year after that.

East San Marco remains the name “for now,” he said, but the multifamily element was no longer part of it.

Stein said Regency Centers would develop, own and manage an estimated 50,000 square feet of retail space comprising the 30,000-square-foot Publix and about 20,000 square feet of shops and restaurants.

Publix has been committed for more than 10 years.

“Our position hasn’t altered since we signed the lease over a decade ago and remain committed to the project,” Publix spokesman Dwaine Stevens said in April.

He said Wednesday the company’s position has not changed.

East San Marco has had stops and starts since 2002.

It most recently was planned for a more than $60 million project to include retail space, parking garages and 266 apartment and townhouse units.

The developer terminated its involvement just before the scheduled March 6, 2017, closing to buy the property from Regency Centers.

The developer intended to buy the land, develop the project and sell the retail space to Regency Centers.

Regency Centers said after the developer decided to pull out that it would continue the project but did not provide details.

The project also was part of a City Council-approved planned unit development.