Actually, they are pretty similar. 3rd Street is a linear commercial strip just like St. Johns. The blocks on either side of 3rd are residential....just like St. Johns. The only difference is, is that most of Jax Beach is autocentric.
The block directly behind MM at the beach is commercial save for 2 structures across the street which are rentals of some type. In Avondale houses back directly across the alley from the proposed MM.
The block behind the MM beach location is 4th Street, which is residential. However, the MM block is fully commercial. To be precise, the MM beach location is an outparcel for a shopping strip behind it on the same block. However, overall, it is a linear commercial strip with residential on the surrounding blocks. The major difference is the beach strip is autocentric. A shopping center with an outparcel would fit that definition.
You take everything MM says as the gospel. Do you even listen to neighbors? 10 pm to 2 am happy hour isn't neighborhood friendly.
As for the poster who said
I typically try and stick with the extents of zoning and context. With these things serving as a starting point, I then try find logical compromises. Here, we're talking about reuse of a property that has been commercial since the beginning of the community's existence. If there is dislike of the commercial product, address the zoning that allows it, not the product.