Plans are currently in place to convert the old Augusta Evans school property at the intersection of Florida Street and Old Shell Road into a shopping center anchored by Publix, a developer said.
John Argo, with MAB American Management, confirmed that if all contingencies are met Publix would anchor the shopping center that would also include fast casual dining establishments, like Panera Bread and a relocated G. Harvell clothing store.
Argo said Publix would make up part of a first phase of development that included a four-building complex. Although, Argo still needs to pursue all of the necessary approvals on the city level, he said construction on the first phase could begin this summer or fall. The development could be completed as early as next summer.
A second phase of the development across Old Shell Road where two commercial buildings and a residential building currently sit would consist of either townhouses, or a mixed-use development featuring retail space and loft apartments, Argo said.
Argo said the developer would be responsible for street and road improvements, including a widening of North Florida Street to two lanes with a center turn lane. The project would also require resurfacing of portions of Old Shell Road and Florida Street at the developer’s expense, Argo said.
He held an informational meeting Monday night near the site of the proposed development. He said more than 200 residents showed up to learn more. Argo said the point of the meeting was to be as open and transparent as possible.
The transparency of the project has previously been questioned by residents living near the proposed development. A Facebook page has even been created on the topic.
The project will also require a zoning change from residential, where the school was located, to business, which would be reviewed and voted on first by the Planning Commission before the City Council is given final approval.