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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Nov. 23, 202111:30 PM EST

City Council approves $31.59 million incentives deal for One Riverside

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Fuqua Development Group plans to buy the former Florida-Times Union property in January for a $182.2 million mixed-use redevelopment.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

The Jacksonville City Council on Nov. 23 approved a $31.59 million incentives package for One Riverside, the redevelopment of the former Florida Times-Union site in Brooklyn. 

Atlanta-based Fuqua Development LLC and partner TriBridge Residential propose a $182.2 million project with a grocery store, retail uses, restaurant and apartments.

The 15-0 vote authorizes property tax breaks, a forgivable restaurant loan and a parkland buyback to support the multiphase development.

The project along the St. Johns River involves development of the 13.42-acre west portion of the 18.43-acre property in two phases.

The plan also would restore McCoys Creek and add about 4.95 acres for public park and submerged lands for river access on the east side of the property.

Council members Garrett Dennis, Kevin Carrico and Joyce Morgan were absent for the vote. 

The Council’s vote comes after the Downtown Investment Authority board endorsed the terms in September.

The stairs from the St. John River to One Riverside. The developer plans to complete the purchase from the Morris family of Augusta, Georgia, in January.

The package

The largest portion of the city support is tax breaks. The city offered Fuqua $28,419,169 in Recapture Enhanced Value grants — a 20-year, 75% refund on the increased property taxes.

The refund comprises:

• Phase 1 retail: $2,757,711

• Phase 1 residential: $17,347,914

• Phase 2 mixed-use: $8,313,54

The agreement dedicates city right-of-ways to the developer valued at $545,000 and a mobility fee credit of $160,651. 

According to a site plan dated Oct. 11, the project’s first phase comprises 271 apartments and more than 45,000 square feet of retail space, including a grocery store, a seven-level parking garage with 502 spaces and additional surface parking.

The second phase would not break ground until at least 2025 and relies on the city to complete rerouting McCoys Creek, which runs under the site.

That phase comprises two mixed-use buildings along the restored creek. It would include about 15,000 square feet of retail space; a riverfront restaurant; a multifamily residential building with 125 units; and parking.

Council also authorizes the city to add $1.719 million toward purchasing the park upland and submerged land to the $6.04 million it already plans to spend. 

According to a legislative summary filed with the bill, the extra park money would meet what the DIA says is the riverfront park parcel’s $7.76 million appraised value. 

DIA CEO Lori Boyer said Nov. 23 that $6.04 million in the park purchase agreement will be paid from dollars previously approved by Council as part of the McCoys Creek restoration project. 

The former Florida Times-Union buildings would be demolished to make way for the development.

The money will be recouped through estimated cost savings achieved by rerouting the creek. The developer wants the city Department of Public Works to move this segment of McCoys Creek about 100 feet to the east. 

Boyer said the previous plan would have required the city to build access bridges and roads to comply with the Florida Department of Transportation right-of-ways.

The access would have allowed people to reach the future creek green way and Emerald Trial that will run along the creek, but also increased the project cost. 

The Council also agreed to a last-minute amendment requested by Fuqua to extend its deadline to close on the property purchase to Feb. 4.

Boyer said the developer plans to complete the purchase from the Morris family of Augusta, Georgia, in January.

In exchange, Fuqua lowered the supplemental park money by $112,000.

The restaurant planned at One Riverside.

The restaurant

During the DIA negotiations, Fuqua and TriBridge agreed to add a riverfront restaurant to the first phase in exchange for the city agreeing to add a  $750,000 forgivable loan.

During the Council Transportation Utilities and Energy Committee meeting Nov. 15, Council member Randy DeFoor commended the DIA board, staff and Boyer on negotiating a riverfront restaurant for the first phase.

“Our river is our largest resource,” DeFoor said. “If you look at some of the cities we like to try to compare ourselves to, whether it be Tampa or Greenville (South Carolina) or Austin (Texas) or wherever it might be, you’ll notice it’s all based on either a creek or a river.”

The city will require Fuqua and its partners to make a minimum $163.99 million private investment in the project to receive the city financing. 

What’s next

Designs for the first phase will need final approval by the Downtown Development Review Board before the project can break ground. 

The board voted unanimously Nov. 11 to award the design preliminary approval and gave the final OK for the site plan on both phases of the project. 

TriBridge said it will develop the residential component in the second phase. That project will need DDRB approval after the city completes the McCoys creek improvements, expected in 2023.

The site plan for One Riverside.

 

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