St. John's County, FL. An Example of the Worst Kind of Big Box Sprawl In America
Just what Florida needs: another 700,000 s.f. of retail sprawl.
That’s the equivalent of 12 football fields, plus three times as much blacktop for parking lots. Located in St. John’s County, near the ocean, the project bears the pretentious name “The Pavilion Durbin Park.”
A well-known sprawl developer, Gatlin Development, which has often encountered strong community opposition, is building a huge big box project anchored by Walmart and Home Depot. In ten years, this project will be irrelevant. Online shopping, virtual reality, and drone deliveries will make these big box stores look like dinosaurs in the Ice Age.
“This is an area that will continue to grow for the next 20 years,” the developer told the St. Augustine Record, which made no effort to quote anyone concerned about such sprawl. “When you look from the river to the ocean and from St. Augustine to (Interstate)-295, 60,000 homes are planned there now. And there’s plenty of room to double that or triple that.” The developer astonishingly admitted the worst: “This is another city, just about, is St. Johns County for the future.”
The article quotes another self-serving developer as saying the county “has been primed for a major influx of retail choices after having little to choose from since residential growth started in earnest about 20 years ago.”
More than 1 million more square feet of retail/restaurant/entertainment space planned , plus two 120-room hotels, office space and multi-family residential components. The development is approved for almost 1,000 homes.
“When the houses come, the retailers need to be there. This is an area that is under retailed. You’ve got plenty of houses but you don’t have the services to back up the demand for it.” the developer said.
What you can do: Its hard to say which is worse: the development itself, or the mindless newspaper that printed the story, complete with a video of a fly-over of the site produced by the developer. Nice bit of free PR for the project, and not a single word of dissent in the story.
To see more about Gatlin development's controversial history, search this data base by the developer's name.
To see the original story about this nightmare of a big box project, which is a 1990s style development, go toL