St. Johns Town Center

Simon Property Group

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The St. John’s Town Center is a 207+ acre mixed-use village community in Jacksonville, Florida that boasts over 1,400,000 square feet of retail space, a large variety of restaurants and over 350 urban, multi-family living units. Its open-air mall attracts both local and regional shoppers with stores like Microsoft, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Apple, and luxury collections like Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton.

In 1999, ETM was contracted by Simon Property Groupand Atlanta based developer, Ben Carter, to provide a range of engineering services including:

  • Civil Engineering DRI
  • Local Development Team Leader
  • Design and Permitting services

 

ETM provided master planning, design and permitting services for what is known today as “Town Center Parkway,” a 1.5 mile, six lane divided roadway between Gate Parkway and what is now SR 9A. The services included:

  • Roadway design
  • A master stormwater plan
  • The design for 2 waterway bridge crossings
  • The design for 6 signalized intersections.

DRI & Rezoning the property

Because of the size and scope of the proposed project, part of ETM’s role was to prepare and file a Development of Regional Impact (DRI) application with the state of Florida and obtain approval as part of the planning process.

A DRI is known as, “any development which, because of its character, magnitude, or location, would have a substantial effect upon the health, safety or welfare of citizens of more than one county… [the designation may also] be based upon whether the development is significantly impacting state and regional resources and facilities.”

Since the proposed Town Center would certainly impact the regional resources and have a substantial effect on the surrounding population, having the city designate the project as a DRI was a very important first-step. 

The property also needed to be re-zoned as a PUD (Planned Unit Development), which gave the property developers the necessary zoning permits to develop the property into a mixed-use community that included stores, restaurants and residential spaces on the same land.

ETM worked closely with the community planning board of the City of Jacksonville, to rezone the property as a PUD and pave the way for the rest of development.

Building the Infrastructure

The planning for the Town Center began just after a commitment from the County to expand St. John’s Bluff Rd. into what is today SR 9A (I-295 Outer Beltway). This was a much needed part of building the mixed-use community, but it was obvious an additional roadway would be needed between Gate Parkway and St. John’s Bluff to provide traffic infrastructure for the mall.

 

ETM provided master planning, design and permitting services for what is known today as “Town Center Parkway,” a 1.5 mile, six lane divided roadway between Gate Parkway and what is now SR 9A. The services included:

  • Roadway design
  • A master stormwater plan
  • The design for 2 waterway bridge crossings
  • The design for 6 signalized intersections.

ETM also provided master utility design, including the design of water mains, sanitary sewers, a regional sewer lift station, and sanitary sewer force mains.

In addition, ETM permitted the project with the Florida Department of Transportation, the City of Jacksonville, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the St. Johns River Water Management District.

 

ETM also provided master utility design, including the design of water mains, sanitary sewers, a regional sewer lift station, and sanitary sewer force mains.

In addition, ETM permitted the project with the Florida Department of Transportation, the City of Jacksonville, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the St. Johns River Water Management District.

Designing the Open-Air Mall

Today, the Town Center’s open-air mall is a huge attraction for shoppers and retailers. The palm tree lined walkways, outdoor speaker systems, and landscape architecture make it every bit an enjoyable experience. Combine those elements with the months of great weather in Northeast Florida, and you have a destination.

While its design is now a focal point, it was once a contested issue by some who felt that the unstable weather in Jacksonville could lead shoppers elsewhere. When development finally began, the Town Center became the first open-air mall in Northeast Florida.

Landscape

One of the final steps for ETM was assisting in the design of the site’s landscape, giving the property a unique and beautiful feel that is more like a village than a shopping center. The landscape also serves to aesthetically create a sense of uniformity throughout the property.