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- 2012 - November - 23rd -

Cummer Museum plans campus improvements

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens plans to announce a $4 million campuswide beautification and improvement project at its 829 Riverside Ave. riverfront property.

Museum Director Hope McMath said Wednesday the project will be rolled out over the next nine months and more information will be released at a Dec. 5 news conference to announce the total initiative.

"The long-term goal of this overall project is to create a high quality, historically and artistically significant Cummer landscape that fully integrates the arts, gardens and education as well as increases visitation and visibility," McMath said.

The City has been reviewing plans for improvements to the Cummer property. Commercial plan review documents show the project consists of three areas of the campus:

• Improvements to the existing parking lot on the west side of Riverside Avenue.

• Improvements to the existing front area on the east side of Riverside Avenue.

• Improvements to the existing upper tier of the Olmsted Garden.

Plans show demolition work at the parking lot, the upper Olmsted Garden and to the frontage.

Plans also show the frontage area will include a wood deck, brick paving and new brick wall.

Connelly & Wicker Inc. is the engineer.

McMath said a bulkhead project is the first step to the restoration of the historic Olmsted Garden and costs about $380,000. She said the Olmsted restoration is part of the overall campus beautification that will total about $4 million.

"We are starting the all-important infrastructure of the bulkhead and then will move quickly into several phases of work, the details of which will be announced in early December," she said.

A building permit application under review shows Elkins Constructors Inc. as the contractor for a $1.63 million project that includes architecture improvements to the front lawn and parking lot, including structural features and site lighting.

The overall project is referred to as exterior renovations and improvements to the grounds and gardens.

The property owner is the DeEtte Holden Cummer Museum Foundation Inc.

The Cummer, at its cummer.org website, previews the projects.

"Exciting changes are taking place on The Cummer's campus," it says.

"Over the next year, the museum is embarking on a landscape enhancement and Olmsted Garden restoration initiative. This project not only encompasses the restoration of the Olmsted Garden, a riverfront fragment from the estate of Waldo and Clara Cummer that is located just north of the Italian

Garden, but also the renovation of the entire Riverside Avenue portion of The Cummer campus," it says.

"During this phase of construction, the museum's parking lots will be refurbished and the entire campus will be unified by landscape. The Cummer campus will become an important bridge between Riverside and Downtown", it says.

The Cummer announced work on the first phase of "The Cummer's Olmsted Garden Restoration and Landscape Enhancement Project has begun."

It said an examination of the Olmsted Garden bulkhead found it was in poor condition and beyond repair.

"With the help of civil engineers Connelly & Wicker Inc. and structural engineers Atlantic Engineering Services, approvals for the new Olmsted Garden bulkhead have been received from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the St. Johns River Water Management District," says the website.

It said Elkins Constructors has prepared the site for the team from Coleman Construction to start work. Work on the bulkhead is expected to last nine weeks.

It said the project has been partially financed by a state historic preservation grant.

The state website shows the Olmsted Garden bulkhead replacement received a $50,000 matching historic preservation grant. The grant is a fiscal 2013 project for the year that began July 1.

Coggin Toyota plans in review

Site development plans are under review for Coggin Toyota at the Avenues.

Developer Coggin Cars LLC proposes a two-story auto dealership on 10.3 acres at southwest Philips Highway and Greenland Road. Coggin Cars LLC is based in Duluth, Ga. The ownership group is Asbury Automotive Group of Duluth.

Velcon Group Inc. of Port St. Lucie is the engineer.

Plans show an almost 72,000-square-foot project comprising sales and office space, a service area, a parts area and a covered service reception area.

A pending building permit application shows Coggin Toyota at the Avenues as a $5 million project.

The new dealership is at 11340 Philips Highway. The property is shown as vacant and previously was developed as a light-industrial manufacturing facility that was demolished.

Coggin Toyota now operates at 10564 Philips Highway.

Mike Davidson Ford renovating

The City is reviewing building permits for Mike Davidson Ford to renovate its 9650 Atlantic Blvd. dealership. Plans show a $425,000 project. The ownership is Mike Davidson Properties LLC and the contractor is Elkins Constructors Inc.

Foreclosure rates decline

The CoreLogic research firm reported foreclosure rates in Jacksonville decreased in September over September 2011. The rate of Jacksonville area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 8.69 percent for September, down 0.02 percentage points from 8.71 percent in September 2011. Foreclosure activity in Jacksonville was higher than the national rate of 3.25 percent

Also in Jacksonville, the mortgage delinquency rate rose over the year. In September, 13.9 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared with 13.78 percent in September 2011. The U.S. rate was 6.69 percent.

Weekly conventions

Visit Jacksonville reports several events are booked this week and next week, bringing about 350 delegates to Northeast Florida. Events include:

• Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Loan Origination

Essentials, Monday-Thursday, Crowne Plaza, 28 delegates.

• University of Florida College of Medicine Jacksonville, Department of Pediatrics, Residency Interviews, Wednesday-Thursday, Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Southbank, 12 delegates.

• Biomet Microfixation LLC, Biomet Teambuilding Event, Thursday-Friday, Omni Jacksonville Hotel, 12 delegates.

• Florida Department of Health, Board of Nursing Home Administrators, Thursday-Friday, Renaissance World Golf Village Resort, St. Augustine, 30 delegates.

• Florida Department of Health, Board of Osteopathic Medicine, Friday, Hyatt Downtown, 50 delegates.

• Portfolio Recovery Associates, December Retreat, Hyatt Downtown, Dec. 2-5, Hyatt Downtown, 60 delegates.

• Graduate School USA, Executive Leadership Program, Dec. 2-7, Hyatt Downtown, 160 delegates.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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