Plans to reconstruct the old Kmart in Neptune Beach still giving the community mixed feeling

KMART redevelopment plans move forward

Plans are moving forward to redevelop an old Kmart in Neptune Beach into a hotel, restaurant and retail space.

The building has been sitting empty since 2016; the city has not approved the construction, but developers are still prepared to move forward with the project.

Some neighbors in the Neptune beach community including Frank Kleese are happy about it, while others feel the opposite.

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“Everywhere you look these days around Jacksonville there’s always some building going up,” Kleese said.

Neighbor like Jessica Meringolo said she would like to see more local businesses but she said part of the plans are concerning.

“I’d like to see it used as a parking lot and have a business that brings more money to the community. I’d have to say parking around here is extremely difficult as it is,” Meringolo said.

She said she likes the size of her community now and she worries more bodies would bring more traffic, and she believes more traffic could cause more chaos.

“We have a community of wonderful people that are out walking, biking, walking dogs, kids and that many more cars makes me a little nervous,” Meringolo said.

Developers have not confirmed how long the project could take if it’s approved.

But Kleese said he’s looking forward to the change.

“Anytime we have a chance to improve, I enjoy that, so I’m looking forward to It. It’s more employment for people, which is good. It’s what we need,” Kleese said.

The proposal needs to be approved by Neptune Beach City Council before construction can begin.

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