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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, May 2, 201809:10 AM EST

Hotel, retail, office project proposed for old Baymeadows golf course site

$15 million plan would piggyback on FDOT traffic improvement now underway.
by: David Cawton Associate Editor

Developers propose to transform part of the former Baymeadows Golf Club into a $15 million office, hotel and retail center called Baymeadows Park.

Joyce Development Group LLC of Jacksonville and property owner D.R. Horton propose to convert 5.8 acres near Interstate 95 into a 35,000-square-foot retail project and a 100-room hotel along Baymeadows Road.

Ohio-based RDL Architects Inc. is the architectural firm.

City Council member Danny Becton, who represents the Baymeadows area announced the project Wednesday morning.

“We’re looking to break ground this fall, and hopefully complete it by spring 2020,” Becton said.

“It used to be hole No. 13 for anyone who played the course,” he said.

The $15 million project would include a 100-room hotel along with restaurants, retail and office space. D.R. Horton’s original plan for the property was housing.

The mixed-used development will start as the Florida Department of Transportation continues to redesign parts of Baymeadows Road, along with making improvements to Baymeadows Circle West and Western Way, to improve traffic flow.

Joyce Development Group plans to build what Becton called a scaled-down version of the company’s other South Jacksonville project, Tapestry Park, to include restaurants, office space and retail.

Site plans show four buildings facing Baymeadows Road with a five-story hotel behind them. The project includes 315 parking spaces along with landscaping and other features.

The first building is 2,500 square feet and is designed for a coffee shop with a drive-thru lane. Although renderings of the project show placeholder signs similar to Starbucks, Becton said those details are not yet available.

Building No. 2 will comprise 10,500 square feet of restaurant and retail space on the first floor, with another 8,000 square feet on the second floor for offices.

Buildings No. 3 and No. 4 will each have 7,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

Toward the back of the property, site plans show a five-story, 100-room hotel. Becton said the development group has not identified a hotel partner.

Becton plans to introduce legislation Wednesday amending the property’s zoning restrictions to allow for a hotel.

He would not disclose any other potential tenants, other than to say the development will “appropriately support the 800 to 900 homes in the neighborhoods behind this project.”

“We want businesses that will fit the neighborhood and encourage those residents to interact with the area,” he said.

He listed “nicer” restaurants, dry cleaners and similar businesses as potential tenants.

John Joyce, principal with Joyce Development Group, declined to comment on the project Tuesday.

A new plan

The golf course closed in 2004 and redevelopment attempts have failed.

D.R. Horton purchased the property in 2005 from Bay Meadows Golf Club LLC for $15 million according to Duval County Property Appraiser records.

The company owns 140.5 acres of surrounding property and has plans to build more housing in the area.

Horton’s first plan to develop the golf course in 2005 included 1,200 condominiums, 200 single-family homes and an unspecified amount of commercial space.

That plan was met with opposition from neighborhood homeowners associations.

Former Mayor John Peyton vetoed a plan approved by council in which Horton would pay $7.1 million to mitigate traffic volume in exchange for approval for the new housing.

Since then, Becton said a few rezoning ordinances were passed to allow office and retail uses, but no other attempts to develop the land have proceeded this far.

After the last unsuccessful attempt in November, Becton said Joyce stepped in to offer a vision for the site.

“We started talking in December, began meeting in January and in February, we developed a site plan,” Becton said.

“The best part of this, is there’s no city money involved,” he said.

A rendering of buildings No. 1 and No. 2 shows a coffee shop sign similar in design to Starbucks, but no details on stores coming to the development have been released. The site plan shows four buildings and 315 parking spaces.

Traffic changes

The second component to the development piggybacks on a project to ease area traffic congestion.

FDOT is undertaking a $6.6 million safety and improvement project to add lanes, additional traffic signals, turn lanes and sidewalks along Baymeadows Road between Prominence Parkway and Southside Boulevard.

Part of the project will add a third westbound lane to Baymeadows Road between Baymeadows Circle East and Western Way.

A traffic light at Western Way will be relocated to Baymeadows Circle West to encourage drivers to use those lanes instead of driving between the Bank of America branch and the Arby’s restaurant.

In an agreement with the city, Horton also is bringing Baymeadows Circle West “up to city standards,” Becton said.

“That means curb improvements, sidewalks and lighting,” he said.

Horton also plans to build a new extension of Golfside Drive behind the hotel to connect Baymeadows Circle East and Baymeadows Circle West.

According to the FDOT website, the road project is scheduled to be completed by summer 2018.

FDOT spokesman Hampton Ray did not immediately return phone calls.

Site plan of the proposed mixed-use development at the former Baymeadows Golf Club.
Traffic improvements underway near the proposed development.


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