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New project would construct the tallest modern buildings in St. Augustine, transportation hub, apartments and more

It would be at one of the the main gateways into downtown and historic area.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The northwest lot on the corner of U.S. 1 and King Street has been in the Broudy family for decades. His family renovated a grocery store on that corner in the 1970’s.

Now, the family’s liquor store is there.

As the corner has changed, so has traffic in downtown St. Augustine. 

Property owner Barry Broudy told city leaders that last week. "Parking is near impossible," he said. "I don’t even come into town on the weekend."

Broudy is proposing a project that would redefine the look of this intersection and possibly traffic in the city.

After meeting with city leaders, he is proposing a development with a parking garage, apartments, transportation hub, and retail. St. Augustine Planning and Building Director Amy Skinner told First Coast News the project fits into the city's long term mobility plan in different ways, such as the idea of parking garages on the periphery of downtown.

Skinner said, "So that people can park there and if they work downtown or shop downtown, they park once and can use other modes of transportation to get around. So hopefully there will be a convenience aspect."

Conceptual drawings show a walkway high above U-S 1 for people to cross into downtown.

Skinner said while the developer and the city like that idea, "It’s up to the Department of Transportation."

The property sits next to railroad tracks that could connect commuter rail to Jacksonville.

The project’s buildings would be the tallest the city has so far allowed, at 75 feet or about seven stories tall. That’s taller that even nearby hotels. Only historic buildings are that tall.

"It throws off the atmosphere of the city," St. Augustine resident Lauren Giber said. "You can’t tell me that doesn’t change the spirit of a neighborhood. You can’t tell me it doesn’t add add more traffic. It does."

Some St. Augustine residents – such as Biber say – the project may bring some good things. But "I think there’s a lot of questions that need to be answered."

Some of those include: Will this lessen or add to traffic? Will people really park out of downtown instead of driving in? Three years ago, this same project planned for workforce housing. Will it still have that?

The city’s planning and zoning board approved the project, and now the city commission will decide what will become of this corner lot.

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