Panera Bread has filed applications with St. Johns County to open a location in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Karen Taylor, a St. Augustine land planner representing Panera, said the proposed location of the restaurant is in the Ponte Vedra Point Shopping Center, where Pet Supermarket, Tire Kingdom and Beach Diner currently stand. The proposal and site maps indicate that the Panera will be freestanding and situated along A1A where parking is now available.
Taylor explained that the company has filed a major modification to the Fairfield at Ponte Vedra Planned Unit Development (PUD) to allow for the addition of a 3,100 square-foot “out-parcel” restaurant. For the Panera to be added, the overall square footage within the PUD would need to be increased by 2,932 square feet for a total of 77,754 square feet, or an additional 1,754 square feet beyond original approval.
According to a letter from Taylor to the county, the overall number of parking spaces would decrease from 390 to 342, which she said would still adequately cover the shopping center and the new Panera.
Taylor said Panera has also filed an architectural application concerning colors, design, landscaping, signage and building materials.
The land planner said the major modification will most likely take another six months to complete. She noted that she just recently filed the applications on behalf of Panera Bread and is waiting on the county’s comments, which are due Jan. 4.
After the comments section of the process is complete, the applications will first go before the Palm Valley Architectural Review Committee (ARC) for recommendation of approval or denial. Taylor expects this ARC hearing to take place in January. Teresa Bishop, planning division manager for the Growth Management Department of St. Johns County, said that timeline is probably optimistic. She thinks the ARC hearing will take place in February.
Following the ARC review, the applications will go before the Planning and Zoning Agency (PZA) for recommendation of approval or denial and then the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) for final deliberation. Bishop estimated that these hearings will occur in the spring or early summer of 2018.
If the applications are ultimately approved, Taylor estimates that construction will start in late 2018, with completion targeted for spring of 2019.