JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Nearly 18 months after a Jacksonville developer announced that Panera Bread would return to San Marco as part of a new retail project, work is finally under way according to First Coast News' partner The Florida Times-Union.
In recent weeks, construction crews have been seen doing some preliminary work at the 1440 Hendricks Ave. site, but with a building permit issued Thursday, work is expected to begin in earnest on a 4,000-square-foot shell building that Panera is expected to occupy. The permit also shows plans for a 1,200-square-foot patio.
In November 2011, developer Ed Ash told the Times-Union that Panera was slated for a new 4,000-square-foot building that would be built as part of his larger, 11,000-square-foot San Marco Train Station project located on Hendricks at the railroad crossing.
In February 2012, crews demolished two small, architecturally insignificant buildings on the site, making way for Panera. The larger, red-brick, century-old former utilities building remains and will be renovated for other retail and restaurant operations.
Panera left its former location - just two blocks away at 1615 Hendricks Ave. - in December 2009 after nearly a decade when it chose not to exercise a five-year lease renewal option. Hurricane Grill & Wings and Jersey Mike's Subs have since opened in the spot.
According to Ash, the new San Marco Train Station development will include on-site parking for 80 cars - significantly more than Panera's previous location along a crowded stretch of Hendricks that's home to four other restaurants in addition to Hurricane Grill and Jersey Mike's.