NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla — There’s a big change coming for two popular Neptune Beach destinations.
Jacksonville Jaguars Owner Shad Khan announced Friday his business Iguana Investments has plans to buy Lemon Bar, the Seahorse Oceanfront Inn and other nearby properties.
Many beach visitors say they have mixed emotions and don’t want the change to cause businesses in the Neptune Beaches Town Center area to lose its local charm.
“I think the concern is what is going to happen to the hotel and Lemon Bar and what is going to become," visitor Michael Sharp said.
Lemon Bar is known as a local favorite in Neptune Beach and resident Michael Sharp says he doesn’t want to see it get taken from the community.
“We want to keep the Lemon Bar," said Sharp. "If it becomes a boutique hotel that's okay for business and tourism, but it won't be good for locals. I think that is going to be the concern.”
Khan says plans for the property are still under development, but he envisions its future will be similar to what exists today, a boutique hotel, restaurant, parking and other public amenities.
In a statement, current property owner Kathy Cole says:
“We poured much of our heart and soul into the Seahorse Oceanfront Inn over the past many years, and we’ve certainly enjoyed the journey knowing the properties have meant so much to the Jacksonville community. Now it’s time to pass the torch.”
Visitor Rufus Pennington says he is optimistic about the change.
“I do hope Mr. Khan finds a way to keep the character of our little area here intact that would be really nice," Rufus Pennington said.
The purchase of the Neptune Beach properties is the first project beyond the downtown area for Khan and Iguana Investments.
We reached out to the current owners of Lemon Bar and Seahorse Oceanfront Inn but did not get a response.