Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wal-Mart Reviewing Site at Hodges

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wal-Mart Reviewing Site at Hodges

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Brune Mathis, Times-Union senior business writer

The proposed Hodges Pointe Plaza at southwest Beach and Hodges boulevards might land a Wal-Mart Supercenter as its anchor store.

And it might have a neighbor.

Across the street, at southeast Beach and Hodges, there are talks with developers for another so-called big-box user, possibly a SuperTarget or else another large retailer.

First, let's look at Hodges Pointe. From what we understand, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has been reviewing the proposed 42-acre project for a supercenter that would replace the smaller Wal-Mart discount store at Beach Boulevard and San Pablo Road.

Wal-Mart has been expanding or relocating its Wal-Mart discount store operations into supercenters, which feature general merchandise as well as a full line of groceries. It also has been developing supercenters in new market areas.

The Hodges Pointe land is owned by a trust led by George H. Hodges Jr. and under contract to developer Jacksonville-based Sleiman Enterprises.

Jacksonville lawyer Karl Sanders, who represents Wal-Mart in zoning matters in Northeast Florida, said he could not comment, "other than to say that Wal-Mart is negotiating with Sleiman for potential siting of a supercenter at that location."

Speculation has circulated since July that the proposed 375,000-square-foot retail center could be anchored by a 220,000-square-foot supercenter.

However, Sleiman must adjust the plans or negotiate a fair-share contract to reach an agreement with the city to develop the project. Last summer, the city found insufficient traffic capacity at the site.

Developer Toney Sleiman said that he was working on the concurrency issues and the fair-share. "We are still going forward," he said, although he had no comment about Wal-Mart. …

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