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Jax Daily Record Monday, Aug. 16, 202103:50 PM EST

DIA committee approves Fuqua’s proposal for former T-U site

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The Downtown Investment Authority board is scheduled to review the $182 million multifamily and retail project along Riverside Avenue.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

The proposed $182.2 million redevelopment of the former Florida Times-Union campus along Riverside Avenue is moving forward.

The Downtown Investment Authority Strategic Implementation Committee voted unanimously Aug. 16 to advance the proposal for consideration by the DIA board of directors. 

The DIA board meets at 2 p.m. Aug. 18 at City Hall.

Atlanta-based Fuqua Development LLC is proposing One Riverside Avenue, a $182,214,847 project comprising multifamily residential with a parking garage, retail space, grocery store and surface parking.

The project name reflects the 1 Riverside Ave. address of the former Times-Union newspaper offices and production facility. The paper’s staff  has moved to Wells Fargo Center Downtown.

Under the proposal, city incentives would be no more than $30,844,140, comprising $28.4 million in Recaptured Enhanced Value grants, property transferred from the city to Fuqua and a mobility fee credit.

The plan includes multifamily housing and retail.

The proposed REV grants total $28,419,169 and provide a 20-year, 75% refund on the property’s real estate tax growth. They comprise:

• Phase 1 retail: $2,757,711

• Phase 1 residential: $17,347,914

• Phase 2 mixed-use: $8,313,544

The term sheet states the city’s investment represents 15.6% of the total project cost.

Fuqua proposes to develop the west portion of the property, about 13.42 acres, in two phases.

The first phase comprises an estimated 39,256 square feet of retail space, including a 23,256-square-foot national or regional brand grocery store and 16,000 square feet of other retail space; 271 units in two multifamily residential buildings; a five-story parking garage with 420 spaces and 195 spaces of surface parking.

Phase 2 comprises two mixed-use buildings along the restored creek with about 15,000 square feet of retail space; a riverfront restaurant; a multifamily residential building with 125 units; and parking.

Atlanta-based TriBridge Residential would be the co-developer for the multifamily component of the project.

The unit mix for the first 271 proposed units is shown as 165 one-bedroom units of 650 to 720 square feet renting for $1,600 to $1,900 a month; 102 two-bedroom units of 1,050 square feet at $2,900; and four three-bedroom units at 1,350 square feet at $3,000 a month.

Those are rents of $2.22 to $2.76 a square foot.

The Times-Union site features views of the St. Johns River and Southbank.

The second phase, 125 units, comprises one- and two-bedroom units at $1,500 to $2,600 a month, averaging $2.45 a square foot.

The proposal also includes the relocation and restoration of McCoys Creek and a public park adjacent to the residential and retail component.

DIA CEO Lori Boyer said the city has appropriated funds for the creek restoration. Fuqua’s proposal to include the park in its overall plan would save the city about $6.5 million, compared with the city’s plan for the creek restoration, she said.

The appraised value of the park land is $7.76 million assuming a clear title and the ability to develop. There is a title issue that may impact value and development capacity. 

The parkland is proposed to be acquired by Fuqua for $6.04 million, which reflects the cost savings to the McCoys Creek project. 

If the title issue can be resolved, the city will pay Fuqua a completion grant in the amount of the difference between the amount previously paid and the full appraised value, shown at $1.7 million on the term sheet.

According to the staff report, Fuqua Development has been the largest retail developer in the Atlanta area for the past six consecutive years.

Since 2012, the company has developed 22 projects in the Southeast totaling 2 million square feet of retail space, 5,000 multifamily units and office space. Six projects under construction or in development total an additional 1 million square feet of retail space, 2,000 multifamily units and office space.

In Jacksonville, Fuqua partnered with Jacksonville-based Regency Centers Corp. to develop the Brooklyn Station on Riverside center across the street from the Morris property. 

The center is anchored by The Fresh Market grocery store, which opened in 2014.

Fuqua was president of Sembler Company when it developed the Riverside Publix, which opened in 2002.

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