ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – When Buc-ee’s indicated in February it was moving forward with a new location near World Golf Village, the hope was to break ground sometime over the past few months.
But with development plans still taking shape five months later, construction has yet to begin on the proposed mammoth gas station featuring a 53,000-square foot convenience store and 104 gas pumps.
Now the gas station isn’t expected to open its doors for at least another year and a half.
"We have not finalized all necessary development plans to allow us to begin construction," Buc-ee’s general counsel Jeff Nadalo told News4Jax via email Monday. "We likely will not open until 2021."
The new Buc-ee’s location is destined for a large property set aside for mixed-use development near the intersection of International Golf Parkway and World Commerce Parkway in St. Johns County.
The 14-acre plot of land hasn't seen much change since Buc-ee's first unveiled its plans. There are no Buc-ee's signs posted anywhere in sight and the land still needs to be cleared before work can begin.
Yusuf Ali, who lives in World Golf Village, thought the 2020 timeline was unrealistic from the start.
"There is no way in God's earth that they're going to be able to open in that timeframe with the amount of work that they have to get done, especially when they haven't even started," Ali said.
Mitch, a resident who spoke with News4Jax but would only provide his first name, said he's looking forward to what a major business like the service station could bring to the area down the road.
"I'm excited for it to be here," he said. "You know, it's a gas station, who's excited about a gas station? But it is jobs and maybe it will bring some other businesses with it."
News of the delay might give some peace of mind, for now anyway, to the 2,000 people who signed a Change.org petition opposing the development, citing traffic concerns and a worse quality of life.
“There is no need for a (fourth) gas station in the (World Golf Village) area,” Cynthia Colalillo, one of the petitioner’s signers, said. “This area is not a ‘rest stop’ for travelers. It is a residential community.”
Added Cindy Vaugh: “I am all for development that will benefit our area; however, I feel that this will degrade our property values and cause immense traffic problems.”
Even though the county has already signed off on a master development plan, Nadalo said the development remains in the planning phase. It is unclear how soon construction will begin.