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An investment group seeks rezoning at Deerwood Park Boulevard and Gate Parkway for apartments, offices, commercial space and a hotel.
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jan. 26, 201712:00 PM EST

'Hub of the wheel' project in St. Johns Town Center area will include apartments, offices and hotel


A vacant site next to Deutsche Bank’s Gate Parkway main campus is in review for more of what already is planned or prevalent in the St. Johns Town Center area.

Up to 300 apartments, 25,000 square feet of office and medical space, 50,000 square feet of commercial space and 110 hotel rooms are envisioned.

“If you look at all of the activity around this location, there is no question in Jacksonville, Florida, that it is the area to live, work and play,” said developer Chris Morgan with the Cantrell & Morgan real estate company.

The almost 19-acre site is at southwest Gate Parkway and Deerwood Park Boulevard.

It is south of St. Johns Town Center, on the other side of Butler Boulevard.

Ordinance 2017-40 for the Gate Parkway Mixed-Use Village Planned Unit Development was introduced Tuesday.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to hear it Feb. 23, followed by its first hearing at City Council on Feb. 28 and the council Land Use and Zoning Committee on March 7.

Nine members of the Skinner family own the land, which is zoned Commercial Office and Industrial Business Park.

Sidlyd Investments LLC, managed by Cantrell & Morgan CEO Morgan and President Jim Loftin, is listed as the developer and owner of the project.

England, Thims & Miller Inc. is the planning and civil engineer, and the architect is Wakefield Beasley & Associates and others.

A conceptual site plan shows the square site lined with the Merchant and Medical Village office-commercial area at the north.

The apartments take up the southwest side of the site, with two Lakeside Village office-commercial developments to the east.

A traffic signal is proposed at the west end of the property along Deerwood Park Boulevard. A signal exists at the boulevard and Gate Parkway.

Morgan said Wednesday that pending the PUD approval, his group would like to buy the property and then start horizontal work this summer.

If that proceeds on target, some buildings could take shape by year-end, although he said it was too early to identify potential tenants.

Morgan said his group will offer the property for sale, ground lease or build-to-suit, based on user needs.

He envisions those users as being complementary to the neighborhood of businesses, residents and others who patronize the area.

“We think that we are going to be able to provide some services to that community that will benefit them and serve the traffic that is already there,” he said.

His group is willing to invest $1.4 million in traffic improvements at Gate Parkway and Deerwood Park Boulevard, he said. He said that will be part of the PUD agreement.

Morgan considers the site “the hub of the wheel.”

“I can’t think of another submarket that has everything going on like this particular area,” he said.

For example, Gate Parkway is the location for a new Hines mixed-use development, another Deutsche Bank building and the Ikea under development.

Morgan considers the Gate Parkway project to be in the position of offering complementary services to those at Town Center, but on the south side of Butler Boulevard.

According to the PUD application, of the 18.72 acres, the apartments could use 5 acres and the office, medical and commercial uses would take up 8.47 acres.

Lake and greenway, active recreation and open space would comprise much of the rest.

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