The Neptune Beach City Council’s rejection Monday night of a proposed mixed-use development on Atlantic Boulevard at Third Street doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the controversial 500 Atlantic project.
TriBridge Residential had asked for a special exception for the commercially zoned property.
The plan was to replace a now vacant Kmart with apartments, shops and a parking garage. But, Neptune Beach City Councilman Fred Jones didn’t see it as a very good one.
“There was a concern about density,” Jones said. “There was some concern about design and I think consistency with the comprehensive plan.”
Jones said the developer could file a legal appeal or ditch the mixed-use idea altogether and court another big store like Walmart. That’s what the property’s already zoned for, so it wouldn’t need city approval.
"Something’s going to happen on that parcel, and maybe this can be sort of a catalyst for everybody to come together and say, 'You know, let’s look at our comprehensive plan, let’s look at our land development code a little more holistically,' and that there’s a sense of a unified vision about how we want things to redevelop.”
A spokeswoman for TriBridge Residential said no one from the company was available for an interview by this story's deadline.
In a statement emailed to WJCT, though, she said, "TriBridge Residential and TLM Realty are disappointed with the vote but remain committed to revitalizing the blighted site of the former Kmart and transforming it into a vibrant mixed-use community that will benefit the entire Beaches region. We will be proceeding with options for development that do not require approval from the Community Development Board or the City Council. We appreciate everyone who has taken the time to provide constructive feedback, and we will continue to incorporate as much as possible into our proposed development."