The grocer will lease the space it left in 2006 as developer JWB Real Estate Capital arranges financing for the shopping center’s redevelopment.
After 17 years, Winn-Dixie intends to return to Arlington next year to College Park, the former Town & Country Shopping Center at northeast University Boulevard and Arlington Expressway where the supermarket operated for years.
Winn-Dixie is a banner of Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers.
President and CEO Anthony Hucker said March 3 that the College Park Winn-Dixie is an opportunity for the company.
The opening allows Southeastern Grocers “to expand in our hometown and return to the area to provide a unique grocery shopping experience for the Arlington community.”
“We plan to make a significant investment in the store to support the revitalization of the community and will welcome more than 100 associates to provide needed jobs and ensure our new customers receive remarkable service,” he said in a statement.
Jacksonville-based JWB Real Estate Capital is redeveloping the 69-year-old retail plaza.
Part of the 18.27-acre site is being cleared for an apartment project while the center’s parking lot and facade are being replaced and upgraded and the parking lot
“It will be a really amazing catalyst for the neighborhood,” JWB President Alex Sifakis said of College Park.
He said his group is bringing infrastructure and amenities to the Arlington area.
“It’s already a great neighborhood, but the community has been asking for these types of amenities,” he said.
Sifakis said Winn-Dixie is a key piece of the College Park revitalization.
Redeveloping and financing
Property records show Town & Country was built between 1953 and 1979. It comprises about 189,000 square feet of space.
The property is part of the Renew Arlington Community Redevelopment Area, which the city hopes to assist with rejuvenation.
Through 903 University Blvd LLC, JWB paid almost $5.1 million for the property in August 2019.
Sifakis told Arlington business owners in July 2021 that the group intended to provide food options at the shopping center in response to neighborhood requests.
That included a grocery store. While Sifakis would not identify the company, it would lease space previously occupied by Winn-Dixie.
For food options, Sifakis also talked about the shipping container food court and entertainment complex that will be built on-site, next to the new apartments. JWB also wants to bring restaurants to the inline center.
Sifakis said in July the center is 45% occupied, not counting the grocery center space leased for storage. When the grocery store moves in, occupancy rises to 72%.
The largest current tenants include Dollar General, Advance Auto Parts, DaVita and Legacy Ministries. McDonald’s and a service station on the site are separately owned.
The first sign of renovation was art.
Jacksonville artists created an eight-panel mural in early 2020 on the side of the building facing the expressway.
In June 2021, the Renew Arlington Community Redevelopment Agency board approved an almost $1.31 million code compliance grant to the new owners, as well as a $2 million infrastructure development grant payable up to $400,000 annually over five years.
The city approved a permit in June 2021 for Reliant Roofing Inc. to re-roof the center at a cost of $1 million.
The city approved a permit Jan. 5, 2022, for commercial contractor ShayCore LLC to renovate the facade at a cost of $4.5 million.
Sifakis said March 4 that his group will close on $18 million in financing this week with Local Initiatives Support Corp. Jacksonville and RBC Bank through the federal New Markets Tax Credit Program, and with VyStar Credit Union.
The New Markets Tax Credit Program is designed to helps economically distressed communities attract private capital by providing investors with a federal tax credit.
Investments made through the program are used to finance businesses, “breathing new life into neglected, underserved low-income communities,” says the U.S. Treasury Department.
Under the program, investors receive a tax credit for making equity investments in certified Community Development Entities, which in turn use the proceeds to make loans and investments in businesses, real estate projects and community facilities in low-income communities, says LISC.org.
Sifakis said the cost to develop the first phase of College Park is $18.5 million, paid for by the financing, the city incentives and JWB’s cash.
“It’s been a great experience working with the city, LISC, VyStar and City Council member Joyce Morgan,” Sifakis said.
The first phase includes the parking lot renovations and facade work, which are underway. Sifakis expects the first phase completion in September.
Colliers International Senior Director Matthew Clark and associates Sam Middlekauff and Olivia Steinemann are the leasing agents.
The facade redesign, parking lot and landscape improvements, ADA compliance and upgraded LED lighting systems will be completed in the third quarter.
The first phase will create two building pads for the second phase, which will consist of a shipping container food court and a multifamily project of 82 market-rate apartments among two three-story buildings in the parking lot corner at the expressway and University Boulevard.
Sifakis said the second phase should come online 12 to 18 months after completion of the first phase.
Sifakis said previously that the College Park name seemed to fit with Jacksonville University, which is less than 2 miles north.
He said JWB will donate space at the shopping center to JU and a few nonprofits.
JU will lease 1,000 square feet for $1. It is deciding on a few plans for using the space.
Tne nonprofit Suited For Success Jacksonville Inc. will lease 2,000 square feet of space for $1.
It provides job training and a new wardrobe to men in need. The organization received a CNN 2021-22 Champions for Change award.
Its mission is “to empower men seeking employment and reentry back into the community by providing interview suits along with personal and professional development service.”
Source: Jax Daily Record