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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Sep. 18, 201804:24 PM EST

Developer: Former Berkman Plaza II will be a ‘fun and exciting family-friendly resort’

Developer offers new details as it seeks for up to $36 million in city-backed financial incentives.
by: David Cawton Associate Editor

The group proposing to redevelop the former Berkman Plaza II property shared conceptual renderings for the project Tuesday, hours after the Downtown Investment Authority released a redevelopment agreement for up to $36 million in city-backed financial incentives.

In a news release, Barrington Development announced the Berkman II property would be its next project anchored by a 341-room hotel “and resort featuring ‘like themed’ restaurants and a Family Entertainment Center.”

“We are excited to bring Jacksonville a fun and exciting family-friendly resort,” said Barrington Development Vice President Cono Caranna.

He said the resort brand and hotel flag will be announced after final agreements are completed and signed, “but it is a brand that we are all very familiar with.”

He said it will not be a Margaritaville.

On Tuesday, Caranna said the complex will bring a family-friendly element Downtown.

“It’s also another amenity for the hotel, for families who want more to do for their kids than just hanging out by the pool,” he said.

Caranna said the resort will feature more than 200 arcade games, indoor attractions like ropes courses and a rock wall. Other outdoor amusement rides also are included.

Renderings show a Ferris wheel and other large amusement rides.

Caranna said those details are being completed and that the final product will be like other developments they’ve done across the country.

Also pictured is what Caranna called a water playground, which he said is just for hotel guests.

A marina along the St. Johns River shows a spot for the USS Charles F. Adams naval ship museum, which is planned to come to Jacksonville next year.

Caranna said the museum will have a separate ticket counter and is not part of the family entertainment center.

Renderings of the resort show a marina and a spot for the USS Charles F. Adams naval ship museum.

He said the resort’s amusement attractions won’t be like Dave & Buster’s or Adventure Landing.

“This is for the entire family,” he said.

The DIA meets Wednesday to review a redevelopment agreement that could provide up to $36 million in city financial incentives.

Included is a $20 million, 20-year Recapture Enhanced Value Grant; $8.2 million Operational Performance Subsidy; $3.25 million Redevelopment Completion Grant; and up to $1 million to offset known or perceived site environmental issues.

The city also plans to convey up to 3 acres at a cost of $584,000 per acre. Caranna said those plans are still being worked out.

Atlanta-based Choate Construction Co. sold the vacant and unfinished Berkman Plaza II property to 500 East Bay LLC in July for $4.75 million.

Caranna said that LLC will own the property and Barrington will develop at a cost of about $122 million. 

The 500 East Bay LLC is based in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, and registered with the state Feb. 26. Robert Odhe of Daytona Beach is the registered agent according to state records.

The city development agreement stated that developer MVJFL LLC has ownership of the land, and the term sheet names MVJFL LLC as the developer and applicant for the project.

Caranna said that is incorrect. He said 500 East Bay LLC owns the property and Barrington Development is leading the project.

MVJFL LLC, based in Niles, Michigan, registered with the state June 22.

Caranna said he did not know why MVJFL LLC was listed in the city's development agreement. The city was not immediately available for comment about that.

The DIA meets at 2 p.m. Wednesday on the eighth floor of the Ed Ball Building at 214 N. Hogan St. 

Work on the Berkman Plaza II stopped in 2007 after a construction accident at an adjacent parking garage.


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