FL - At Jacksonville’s Beaches, COVID-19 Shelves Several Planned Projects While Others Move Forward
The staccato of pounding hammers and screech of power saws still can be heard at Jacksonville’s three beach communities as construction workers build hotels, restaurants and retail shops.
But the sound — signaling multi-million dollar development projects — isn’t as loud as it was before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, city and business leaders say, as some projects have been put on hold — or dropped altogether.
Among the high-profile projects developers have put the brakes on are Jacksonville Beach’s Angie’s Subs expansion and Neptune Beach’s Saltwater Row retail center.
The pandemic has made more than a few business owners, developers and investors skittish, said Jacksonville Beach Mayor Charlie Latham.
“Everybody's taken a punch in the stomach financially, all the local businesses,” Latham said, noting that lenders are being very cautious right now. “Lenders are like, ’I'm sure we're going to be fine, but I'm going to hedge my bet and hold my cash for a little while until we get through the worst of [COVID]’,” Latham said.
But other major Beaches hotel and retail developments continue moving forward despite the pandemic. Such developments, Latham said, are very important not only to Jacksonville Beach, but also to neighboring Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach and even Jacksonville.