Despite months of picketing, demonstrations, and protests in opposition of the vacant commercial property located at the intersection of May Street and San Marco Avenue, becoming the site of a 7-Eleven convenience store with 12 gasoline pumps, Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m., Historic City News confirmed that the property has been sold.
Wally Devlin’s Sarasota based First City Development, LLC, sold the property to Dallas-based 7-Eleven, Inc., according to the records of the St Johns County Clerk of Court; reportedly for $800,000. The transaction closed on April 7th; the deed was not recorded until April 10th. According to the records of the St. Johns County Property Appraiser, when First City Development purchased the property on August 1, 2005, Devlin paid $1,800,000 for the property.
This has to be the worst news possible for the homeowners like Matthew Shaffer in Nelmar Terrace, and those other residents who live or work east of the Vilano Beach Bridge and travel into St Augustine. Shaffer was a fixture when the proposal, and subsequent appeals, made their way from Mark Knight’s office in the Planning and Building Department, to hearings before the Planning and Zoning Board, Historic Architectural Review Board and finally to the full City Commission.
Knight denied the application for 7-Eleven, giving rise to the appeals — largely based on an oversized driveway and turning radius on San Marco Avenue that did not conform to the entry corridor guidelines. The applicant told the city commission that FDOT had established the width of the driveways in the interest of pedestrian safety, but still the city would not budge. New entry corridor guidelines expected to pass Monday evening; prohibiting gas stations altogether from building on San Marco Avenue and the other entrance corridors, will have no effect on this application since it is already in progress.
Nonetheless, 7-Eleven appears to have had a change of heart and is now willing to concede the four modifications needed to approve their application. Knight’s office is processing the updated application at this time.
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