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St. Johns Town Center may continue growing

Developer looks to build stores, offices, hotel, apartments nearby

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Commercial activity around St. Johns Town Center may expanding some more. Developer Preferred Growth Properties wants to build stores, offices, a hotel, apartments and condos on 45 acres nearby.

But what will that do to traffic congestion that's already there? The developer promises to address those concerns.

Preferred Growth's proposal has already been submitted to the city of Jacksonville for review. The improvements it wants to make include widening congested Gate Parkway and Town Center Parkway, an intersection that's busy just about any time of the day.

Additional stores, and restaurants has brought more traffic to the Town Center and there haven't been any major road improvements since the Town Center opened.

"It actually can be frightening," said shopper Meredith Schwarz. "I turn off Butler, and then turn right and there's frequently people rushing to come in the other direction."

The 45 acres being developed is adjacent to the center where all the businesses are today. Preferred Growth's proposal will create an easier traffic flow at the intersection of Gate Parkway and Town Center Parkway -- an intersection known for delays.

The developer wants to create dual lanes at that intersection, allowing a continuous right turn from Gate Parkway onto Town Center Parkway. The bike path that runs along Town Center Parkway will be widened and connected to Skinner Lake Drive.

Shoppers look forward to the improvements.

"I'm sure it's going to be hard with so many people to do construction, too, but it'll definitely help a lot to have more lanes, especially coming in here," said shopper Marley Opila. "More people are coming in here than going straight on Gate Parkway."

The plan is to also improve traffic flow inside the Town Center. The project is looking to add 500,000 square feet of retail space, 100,000 square feet of office space and 500 multifamily residential units on the land nearby.