Pensacola, Florida
Saturday February 24th 2018

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New Year, New Stuff

A current snapshot of Pensacola’s development boom
By Rick Outzen and Brooke Webber

From the steady sound of hammering on the new Pensacola Bay Bridge to the cranes that dot the skyline downtown, it seems like construction is happening just about everywhere in Pensacola.

That growth and progress isn’t showing any sign of stopping in 2018. In fact, more projects could be on the horizon. Dee Dee Davis, executive vice president of NAI Halford, said Nashville developers see Pensacola as an emerging market.

“Finally, we are getting legitimate out-of-state developers interested in Pensacola,” she told Inweekly. “Nashville developers are making inquiries because the players are sensing that market may be nearing saturation.”

Much of the growth, except for the bridge, is coming from private investors. Inweekly met with developers, architects and realtors to pull together this update on the various projects either near completion, under construction or almost off the drawing board.

DEVELOPMENT DETAILS
Southtowne Apartments and Urban Core Office Building
It might be hard to gauge the progress from walking by, but renters have officially begun moving into the Southtowne Apartments on the side closest to Tarragona Street.

“We had a bunch of move-ins during one week of December,” said Quint Studer on “Pensacola Speaks” last Wednesday. “Somewhere around the third or fourth week of January, they’ll release another 50 apartments for occupancy.”

He added, “What we’re really trying to do is get the courtyard done by the end of this month or early February.”

Studer said Southtowne will have two restaurants and three retail spaces. Urban Core will have one restaurant on the ground floor.

He said, “It’s sort of neat, too, because they’re three very distinctly different restaurants and one of them is a relocation in Pensacola. One of them is a relocation from Gulf Breeze into Pensacola. That’s sort of unique. The other one is a brand new pretty high-end restaurant. That’s great for this community.”

One Palafox Place
Bobby Switzer, managing member of One Palafox Place, said everything is rented on the ground floor of the new mixed-use community except for one 1,000 square-foot space on Palafox in the breezeway.

“Everything is pretty much rented,” Switzer said. “Downstairs there is Bluejay’s Bakery, Fiore, Wilfrid’s Barber and Fine Goods, Gray Boutique and Frios Pops that just opened. Plus the Armored Frog has a furniture showroom with custom handcrafted pieces.”

Switzer said new places still to come include Constant Coffee and Tea (who is starting their space’s renovations), Global Grill’s a new restaurant called Urban Swinery (which will have a global concept to their food, wine and beer), Ride Society (which will offer spinning), and Express Mobile Tech (a phone repair store). There are also plans for a new bar and restaurant.

Switzer said the first and third floors of the building that once housed Virginia College will have Trustmark Bank and Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance.

Galveztown
You might have noticed that old YMCA is no longer standing on North Palafox. In its place will soon be Galveztown—which will include residential lots, a restaurant space and office building.

Developer Fred Gunter told Inweekly that the public will see progress at his Galveztown development within the next few weeks.

“We have contracted with Gulf Power to convert the site to underground utilities, so the power poles and overhead lines on site will soon be gone,” he said. “Upon completion, which Gulf Power has estimated at four-six weeks, we will be ready to begin selling the lots.”

The underground utilities will allow the reduction of prices for nine residential lots to the $165,000 to $175,000 range.

“In addition, we are offering a construction incentive of $20,000 to the first four buyers to close on their lot and commence construction within six months,” said Gunther.

The Warfield
Another mixed-use development, The Warfield, in the Seville Historic District on the corner of Intendencia and Alcaniz streets, is also set to begin construction this spring.

Larry Kuhn of Levin Rinke Resort Realty told Inweekly that three of the eight residential units have been reserved and the four commercial spots have been accounted for as well.

“The timeline is we begin demolition of the old building in March this year,” said Kuhn. “Once that comes down, we plan to begin construction. The project is estimated to take about 12 months to complete.”

IRIS
Dalrymple | Sallis Architecture is working on several projects and the renovation of the old Isis Theater location is one of them.

In March, Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) will move into the second floor of the building on the northeast corner of Garden and Palafox streets, above the Pensacola News Journal.

Scott Sallis talked with Inweekly about the history of the building, which once housed the Isis Theater.

According to the Florida Department of State archives, the building was built in 1914 by two Atlanta developers and housed a theater until 1951 when it was purchased by First Building Corporation and leased as the headquarters of the First Bank & Trust Company of Pensacola.

“Sadly during the many renovations, they covered up some of the beautiful work on the ceiling,” said Sallis. “We have uncovered much of it. This will be a very cool office space.”

University of West Florida
The University of West Florida Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering recently broke ground on a Laboratory Sciences Annex, which will be connected to the Life Sciences Laboratory on the Pensacola campus to provide additional space for classroom and wet research lab needs.

The $26.26 million, state-of-the-art facility, comprising 52,790 gross square feet, is being designed by local architecture firm Caldwell Associates and Perkins+Will, a global firm with a specialty in higher education science and technology. It will house 12 new teaching facilities for the University’s growing biology and chemistry programs.

Based on this semester’s headcount, more than 1,000 students in biology, biomedical sciences, chemistry and marine biology will be able to utilize the new facility once it is completed around  summer 2019. In addition to space, the facility will provide necessary technology upgrades and continued enhancement of the high-quality, hands-on educational experiences provided to STEM students at UWF.

“We are very excited about the new biology and chemistry teaching laboratories and the impact they will have on the quality of the educational experience for STEM students at UWF,” said Dr. Michael Huggins, dean of the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. “The Annex will allow for better engagement of students in a variety of laboratory experiences that will enhance student recruitment, retention and graduation rates.”

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RESTAURANT ROUNDUP
Because keeping up with new places to eat really is the best part of keeping up with real estate in general.

Just Opened
Globetrotter Street Food
There’s a new food truck parked on the patio behind Perfect Plain Brewing Co. and it has big plans for 2018.

For starters, Globetrotter Street Food is getting in the brunch game. Beginning Feb. 11, every other Sunday there will be a new brunch menu featuring Central Mexican Burritos, Honey Curry Chicken Biscuits, Waffle Cristo Sandwiches and vegan gyro options.

The food truck is owner Winston Evans second eatery. He also owns Khon’s on Palafox. He told Inweekly he has a lot of ideas for the new business.

Every other Tuesday there will be a pop-up taco night with specialty tacos such as Peruvian fish, bulgogi beef and vegan options.

Currently, the menu has several permanent items, such as Crispy Curry Frog Legs, Israeli Hummus and a Banh Mi Burger.

“I’m also going to do a special item from around the world every week,” Evans said.

Globetrotter Street Food sources all its ingredients locally. Evans said the frog legs come from Joe Patti’s Seafood and other menu items, such as the duck for the Duck Melt, comes from one of the local Asian markets.

Bluejay’s Bakery
Bluejay’s Bakery is getting comfortable in their new space at One Palafox Place and is getting ready for their official grand opening on Feb. 9.

“We are absolutely loving our new space in One Palafox Place,” owner and executive chef Justine Gudmundson-McCain said. “It’s great to be in such a central and adorable location and we are looking forward to the canopied courtyard that will be in the back.”

The soft opening of the bakery was on Small Business Saturday, and during the month of January they are open Wednesday-Saturday. The current menu consists of muffins, cupcakes, macaroons, cookies, brownies, truffles, tarts and cake pops, all in varying flavors.

Bluejay’s is devoting this month to new product experimentation.

“We can’t wait to roll out our latest item the ‘Cruffin,’” Gudmundson-McCain said. It will be a croissant served like a muffin with a custard filling. The bakery is also offering king cakes for Mardi Gras season, but they need to be pre-ordered at least a day in advance.

Coming Soon
SaBai Thai Café
SaBai Thai Café is that Gulf Breeze restaurant Quint Studer was talking about being part of the Southtowne development.

The new location will be on the ground floor and is expected to have their grand opening in May.

“If things stay on target, we should take possession in February,” owner Pam VanNess said. “From that point we’ll have 90 days to build-out, decorate and refine all the food prep and dining areas.”

The new SaBai Café will be a 32-seat restaurant that will open across the street from the Saenger Theater and The Cabaret. They will serve classic Thai food in a contemporary atmosphere.

VanNess said the menu will have fewer dishes than are offered at the Gulf Breeze cafe. “This should allow us to streamline the kitchen process and focus on quality.”

Non-Thai dishes will be removed from the menu and chef’s specials selection items will be offered on rotation weekly.

The architectural designs for the restaurant have not been officially approved by all parties, but all submitted plans focus on modern Thai décor with a metropolitan vibe, VanNess said.

The Pie Bar
Construction has officially started on the new patio for the Pensacola Pie Bar right next to World of Beer. The new restaurant will offer pizza-by-the-slice and give Pensacola another late-night dining option. No official date has been set for the grand opening but owner Scott Zepp told Inweekly “we’re still shooting for the first quarter of 2018.”

Ever’man Cooperative Grocery and Cafe on East Nine Mile Road
General Manager William Rolfs said they have exciting plans for the new location and that they are working hard to get the second store opened.

“We are still in the architectural planning phase of the project. There are many details that have to be considered for a project of this size,” he told Inweekly.

Rolfs said they are working with their architect and a local general contractor to design the best store they can to serve the north side of Pensacola.

“We are hoping to be able to start construction late in the first quarter of 2018 or maybe early in the second quarter,” Rolfs said. “The project should be completed early in the first quarter of 2019.”

Relocating
SOUTH MARKET
South Market in Pace is coming to downtown Pensacola and is set to open behind the Pensacola Bay Brewery within the next few months. Owner Holly Hays said the new restaurant will be at the location of the old Cigar Brewery.

Hays said her new restaurant will have the same focus as the Pace location and will include signature cocktails and classic American cuisine. The menu will feature some of the best-selling items at the Pace location and will have new menu options as well. “There will be a better-suited kitchen for higher volume,” Hays said.

South Market will be partnering up with Pensacola Bay Brewery to offer music in the patio area.

“We will have expanded outdoor seating and yard games because it’s on a nice courtyard in the historic village,” Hays said.

Rumors and Buzz
In 2017, Michael Carro, CCIM, was named the number one producer for SVN Florida and third nationally. He is the managing director for the Pensacola market with SVN|SouthLand Commercial. Carro is known as the commercial real estate broker for the restaurant industry. He founded The Restaurant Realty Network and therestaurantrealty.com.

Most real estate transactions are confidential until the leases are signed, but Carro was willing to sit down with Inweekly and share some of the restaurant deals in the works for 2018.

Concepts coming to Downtown Pensacola:
An Italian restaurant—Currently “redlining a contract.”
An artisan bakery —”A group from Michigan are looking at a location in the North Palafox area.”
An oyster house

New additions coming soon to Al Fresco:
Southpaw Cajun Express
Slim’s Philly Cheesesteak

Chains:
Dairy Queen—”They are making a big push in Pensacola and across the Panhandle.”
Shrimp Basket —”They’re looking for another location downtown.”
Schlotzsky’s Deli—”They have new construction near University Parkway.”
Foosackly’s—Coming soon to Nine Mile Road area too.