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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jun. 8, 202109:00 PM EST

Council approves $99 million RD River City apartments, College Park rezoning 

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Miami-based developer Related Group will receive incentives of $18.27 million for the Downtown Southbank apartment and restaurant project.  
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

The Jacksonville City Council advanced two private mixed-use, multifamily developments June 8 on the Downtown Southbank and near the Arlington Expressway. 

Council unanimously approved a redevelopment agreement and $18.27 million in taxpayer incentives for Miami-based Related Group’s plan to replace River City Brewing Co. at 835 Museum Circle on the Southbank with a minimum 325-unit, eight-story apartment building and restaurant.

The Council also voted 18-0 to rezone 903 University Blvd. in Arlington to Planned Unit Development with conditions for JWB Real Estate Capital to renovate and redevelop the former Town & Country Shopping Center into College Park.

RD River City Brewery apartments

The $99.16 million proposed Southbank apartment development will include a free-standing, nearly 5,000-square-foot restaurant fronting St. Johns River Park and Friendship Fountain and a 500-space parking garage.

The developer plans to buy Maritime Concepts’ interest in the city-owned property and buy out the remaining 77 years of the company’s long-term land lease. Maritime owns the existing restaurant.

The 19-0 vote awarded Related a 75%, 20-year Recapture Enhanced Value Grant, which could refund up to $12.99 million of the parcel’s property tax growth. 

The remaining public incentives package has $5.277 million in completion grants for the restaurant and site infrastructure work; improvements to the 29-slip public marina; increased maintenance on the adjacent park; and city lease revenue loss.

Before the vote, Council member Rory Diamond noted that Related worked with the Downtown Development Review Board’s recommendations to redesign the  project when its plans were not “getting a lot of warm and fuzzies.” 

“When Related does one deal they tend to do a whole bunch of other deals right after it,” Diamond said.

“Getting it to Jacksonville is an enormous coup for us.” 

JWB Real Estate Capital plans to renovate and redevelop the former Town & Country Shopping Center into College Park.

College Park 

According to documents filed with Ordinance 2021-0196, JWB plans to repurpose the site with apartments, a food-court park, redesigned parking areas and a shopping strip with retail, restaurant and office spaces anchored by a grocery store.

JWB plans to build two, three-story apartment buildings at College Park with a total 90 units and about 72,000 square feet.

An amendment to the bill approved June 8 and recommended June 2 by the Council Land Use and Zoning Committee requires the developer to install a minimum 6-foot-high, 100% opaque fence or wall and signage to restrict off-site alcohol consumption between the food court and the adjacent gas station and McDonald’s restaurant. 

The amendment restricts the College Park property to one liquor store which, if included in the redevelopment, must as part of a minimum 20,000-square-foot grocery store.

During the May 25 Council meeting, District 2 member Al Ferraro recommended the College Park rezoning be rereferred to the committee to address alcohol sales in the development, delaying the rezoning.

The center is at northeast University Boulevard and the Arlington Expressway. Built in 1953, it comprises about 200,000 square feet of space on 19 acres.

Council member Ron Salem abstained from the vote due to what he said was a financial connection with the developer.

 

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