A developer has proposed to open a new location for the fledging Southern Grounds Coffee at the Shoppes of Avondale. Edward Jones, through Avondale Sogro LLC, purchased the 7,424 square foot, non-contributing building at 3562 St Johns Avenue in November of 2018 for $763,000. The property owner is now seeking a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA-19-22465) to demolish the current building and replace with a new 8,700 square foot building that would house a 187 seat Southern Grounds location and two additional retail spaces- one a market and another an art gallery.

This building would be torn down, with a new building to be constructed in its place if plans are approved

A rendering of the proposed building that would replace a dated storefront along St Johns Avenue

The developer is also seeking an Administrative Deviation (AD) for parking relief. As the new structure would be built within the same footprint as the existing building, there is no feasible way that the new development could accommodate the addition of 26 on-site parking spaces that would be required by the existing zoning code. As parking is a hotly debated issue within the Riverside Avondale Historic District, Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP) has met with the developer regarding the plans to build the first new structure within the Shoppes since Mellow Mushroom was completed in 2014 at 3611 St Johns Avenue. Thus far, RAP’s position is one that “does not oppose the building’s demolition provided there is an approved COA for the new building to be commenced immediately, along with adequate accommodation for adjacent retailers and pedestrians during the construction process.” In regards to the parking deviation being sought, “RAP thus far has advocated for the owners to bring an offsite parking solution to serve employees at a minimum. RAP feels that this kind of solution is strongly needed in the Shoppes of Avondale, as the need for offsite or alternative employee parking was identified in prior parking studies.” It should be noted that the application has been recommended for approval subject to certain conditions by the City of Jacksonville’s Planning and Development Department.

*The site plan for the proposed mixed-used building in Avondale. *

Southern Grounds is a popular business that has been expanding its footprint throughout neighborhoods around Jacksonville, with plans to develop more. Jones and business partner Mark Janasik have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship by bringing new life to walkable neighborhoods through the Southern Grounds flag. Ned is the real estate developer, purchasing and renovating buildings that house Southern Grounds, and Mark is the proprietor who actually operates each store.

Pictured: The Southern Grounds location along Atlantic Blvd in San Marco

For instance, Jones purchased 1671 Atlantic Blvd in San Marco in June of 2016 for $340,000, and invested more than $700,000 to convert the space into a 3,600 square foot, 60 seat indoor/outdoor coffee shop and full service restaurant by June of 2018. The San Marco location is the first of many commercial properties being redeveloped along Atlantic Boulevard that will ultimately link popular San Marco Square with the suddenly booming Kings Avenue corridor now that roadway construction has added direct interstate highway access to San Marco, St. Nicholas and Phillips Highway.