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Article By: Jessica Palombo
The massive Overland Bridge construction project on I-95 in downtown Jacksonville is set to wrap up in a couple of months.
Modern Cities co-founder Ennis Davis said a new exit at Atlantic Boulevard is expected to spur development around San Marco and St. Nicholas.
Davis says the exit will be the first gateway into the two neighborhoods in 60 years. It could make the area, where Atlantic Boulevard, Philips Highway and Kings Road converge, into “the next Brooklyn,” referring to the recently developed area across the river.
The effects are already on display in the Daily’s convenience store at Atlantic Boulevard and Philips Highway, as well as in a planned mixed-use development, including a restaurant, just east of the railroad tracks on Atlantic Boulevard in San Marco.
And with the new exit’s opening, lots more residential and commercial growth is expected in the near future.
Among the planned projects: A former 17-acre car dealership on Philips Highway is the site of a mixed-use development with retail space and more than 600 apartments.
And Davis said, with all that residential growth, another industry will be close on its heels: self-storage. Two projects just north of the new interchange are expected to add hundreds of self-storage units visible from I-95.
Davis said self storage is an exploding industry nationwide, with $1 billion in construction projects underway across the country. Jacksonville is a major growth market, not yet oversaturated like Chicago and other cities are.