Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Developer Begins Work on St. Johns Shopping Venue; Lakeside Promenade Will Be One of Several to Remedy the Area's Dearth of Retail

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Developer Begins Work on St. Johns Shopping Venue; Lakeside Promenade Will Be One of Several to Remedy the Area's Dearth of Retail

Article excerpt

Byline: DIANA MIDDLETON

A new upscale shopping center will break ground in St. Johns County next month, one of the first in a planned spate of retail for the area bordering the World Golf Village.

Lakeside Promenade's first phase of construction is a small development at just 18,000 square feet. But it's among the area's first retail centers, said Larry Walshaw, founder of Business Condos USA, the company developing the project. And according to developers, the trickle of retail is sorely needed in the area bordering the World Golf Village.

Lakeside Promenade's first phase will be opposite from the World Golf Village. The first phase will house seven businesses (among them a Japanese restaurant and a cigar bar cum upscale liquor store). Unlike most retail centers, business owners will own, not lease, their storefronts.

Construction is expected to be complete within eight months of the ground breaking, the first in a roster of 10 buildings that Walshaw will build around a man-made lake. The center will include medical and real estate company offices, in addition to retail stores and restaurants.

It's just one of the retail centers set to pop into the areas adjacent to the World Golf Village. Among the other projects is the Esplanade, a large open-air mall expected to be completed in 2010 in the Northeast quadrant of the intersection of International Golf Parkway and I-95.

The mushrooming retail may be a response to the burgeoning population. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, residents are flocking to the area: Between April 2000 and July 2005, population in St. Johns County jumped 31.2 percent (compared to an 11.3 percent increase for Florida as a whole). Rooftops are also increasing in the St. Johns area, with 69,964 housing units recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2004.

But despite that growth, retail has been slower to catch up, Walshaw said.

"This is one of the fastest-growing quarters in Northeast Florida," he said. "But housing developments don't have the services for the people that live there. Where can you go to eat? There's only Caddyshack [at the World Golf Village]. …

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