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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Mar. 29, 200612:00 PM EST

Big Southbank plans

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

by Max Marbut

Staff Writer

Jorge Perez, founder, chairman and CEO of The Related Group of Florida, was in Jacksonville Tuesday to announce a major new mixed-use urban development project for the Southbank.

Perez said the San Marco Riverwalk Village will include four, 48-story towers combining residential and retail plus a fifth building dedicated to restaurants, retail and office space, a marina and a public riverwalk.

“It’s very hard to find opportunities like this,” he said. “Jacksonville is one of the best business cities in Florida. Finding this large piece of land on the water next to one of the most upscale neighborhoods and being able to contribute to both that neighborhood and to the Downtown development is like a dream come true for us.

“Our company specializes in large-scale mixed-used developments that offer us an opportunity to really contribute to changing the urban fiber of a city. We like to do developments that are catalysts for further development of a city. In terms of location, Jacksonville is as cool as you can find.”

Since 1979, The Related Group has built and managed more than 55,000 residential units in Florida. The company’s current development portfolio includes projects valued in excess of $10 billion and in 2005 reported sales of more than $3.2 billion.

The first step, Perez said, will be to build a sales office in the next three months.

“If everything goes well, we could be under construction in a year,” he said.

The project will involve relocating the Chart House when construction of the second building begins and ultimately demolishing the Radisson, but Perez said he doesn’t expect that to happen for at least five years.

He also revealed that he inked an agreement to build a 200-room Courtyard Marriott to replace the Radisson. He expects to break ground on the new Marriott next year.

When asked about rumors that Donald Trump might be involved either as an investor or an owner, Perez replied, “Donald and I have already talked about this. I need to assess whether it’s the type of project that he might contribute some value to. If he does, he could very well become one of our partners here.”

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