Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Changes Coming as Developers Buy Mayport Land

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Changes Coming as Developers Buy Mayport Land

Article excerpt

Byline: Drew Dixon

MAYPORT -- The quaint fishing village charm of the community by the mouth of the St. Johns River may be changed by developers seeking to build new structures and draw new visitors to the area.

Mayport Waterfront Partnership Chairman John Meserve said Tuesday several developers are now taking interest in the Mayport village area and the concept of maintaining an old fishing village character may not be exclusive.

Meserve told the partnership that various developers want to purchase large tracts of land in and around the village, although few closings have occurred. Meserve also acknowledged deed disputes and ambiguities in ownership may slow down the process of purchasing the properties. Still, the rush is soon to come on revamping the residential and nautically influenced area.

"Everybody I've talked to wants to keep the shrimp boats here," Meserve said. "But it's going to change and some people aren't going to like it."

Much of the development interest is in the Mayport village area but not limited to that, Meserve said after the meeting. Developers are also interested in the Mayport Road area east of the village.

Vestcor Co. has bought a piece of property in Mayport village, one of the first sizable developers to buy land in that area, Meserve said.

"They're a major developer in Jacksonville," said Meserve, who is also the mayor of Atlantic Beach. The company is noted for revitalization projects and investments in new apartment buildings in downtown Jacksonville.

Meserve said with developers such as Vestcor involved, there will be inherent changes to the village character but the Waterfront Partnership will try to maintain the foundation.

"We want to maintain a character of a fishing village, but if you look at the waterfront, it's all vacant land and a lot of buildings need to be torn down. They're going to want to put in things that attract people," Meserve said.

"The character to some degree is going to be changed. What we want to do is not lose the character of the whole village," said Meserve. "There's 70 or 80 families that live out there, it's a nice quiet place. …

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