Ballard Designs to lease closed Blackfinn restaurant in The Markets at Town Center | Jax Daily Record | Jacksonville Daily Record

Ballard Designs signed a lease to convert the former Blackfinn Ameripub in The Markets at Town Center, relocating from an inline space at the nearby St. Johns Town Center.

The Atlanta-based home-decor furnishings, design and accessories store intends to renovate the closed restaurant in 2022 and open in the first quarter of 2023.

“The Jacksonville market has always been a very popular market for our guests. Now they’ll get to see even more product, in a new setting and still with our exceptional standards of excellence,” said Dominic Milanese Jr., senior director of retail for Ballard Designs.

Milanese said Nov. 8 that Ballard Designs will move from about 9,000 square feet it leases at  10275 Buckhead Branch Drive, No. 101. 

The Blackfinn space at 4840 Big Island Drive will be renovated into a 12,000-square-foot store that will allow Ballard Designs to dedicate about 1,000 square feet to showcase its outdoor furniture and decor, he said.

Milanese declined to disclose the renovation cost but said it would a multimillion-dollar project.

Ballard Designs said it signed a lease to renovate the closed Blackfinn Ameripub at 4840 Big Island Drive in The Markets at Town Center.

The Shopping Center Group partner and Senior Vice President Stephanie McCullough and Vice President Kelly Pulignano represented The Markets at Town Center landlord, Hines, in the lease deal.

Milanese said the Ballard Designs St. Johns Town Center store “has been a really great location.”

He said the move will coincide with the lease expiration.

“The existing store has been in the same space for close to 15 years,” he said.

“Moving gives us the opportunity to show our product in a new way.”

He said Ballard Designs will work with a new layout and fixtures “while staying relevant and sharing a more evolved space, much like our clients do with their own homes.”

Milanese said Ballard Designs started as a catalog company and created an online presence. It began expanding into stores about 15 years ago, and Jacksonville was one of its first.

In 1997, it joined Cornerstone Brands, which includes Frontgate, Garnet Hill and Grandin Road. In 2007, Cornerstone became part of  Home Shopping Network Inc. In 2017, QVC bought Ballard, the sister brands and HSN and re-branded as Qurate Retail Group.

The Qurate Retail Group includes Zulilly.

Milanese said Ballard Designs has 16 locations with the closest to Jacksonville in Tampa.

The home furnishings and décor industry has benefited from the impact of people working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic that began in March 2020.

The new Ballard Designs store will dedicate about 1,000 square feet to showcase its outdoor furniture and decor.

Milanese said Ballard Designs has seen an increase in business but has been doing well for decades.

“We have been a very successful business for 40 years, even before COVID,” Milanese said.

He said Ballard Designs has been looking at expanding and renovating its retail locations.

He also said that Ballard Designs has been able to maintain a good position with its inventory while other companies face supply-chain challenges.

Milanese said 90% of its upholstery is made in the United States, avoiding having stock stuck on ships at ports.

He describes Ballard Designs’ products as a traditional style that also remains innovative and current. Its website says it is known for its distinctive European influence.

Ballard Designs offers customized furniture.

“We are a one-stop shop for the home,” Milanese said.

That includes upholstery, sofas, chairs, dining sets, buffets, hutches, home office furniture, bedding, tabletop accessories, cookware, wall art, lighting and more.

Blackfinn closed Oct. 14, 2018. It leased the almost 9,700-square-foot building from landlord Hines.

Property records show the building was developed in 2010. Its interior space is 9,620 square feet but the gross area is 12,320 square feet, comprising the total square footage of all building areas.

For Ballard Designs’ initial store in Jacksonville, the city issued a building permit Oct. 2, 2007, for a $1.04 million build-out for 10,346 square feet of space for that store.

Milanese said the lease at The Markets at Town Center is for about 10 years.

The city is reviewing a permit application for U.S. Construction Group of Mullica Hill, New Jersey, to demolish the interior space at Blackfinn at a cost of $85,000. 

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