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Jax Daily Record Monday, Sep. 27, 202104:50 AM EST

Laura Street Trio developer wants to add multifamily phase by mid-2022

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SouthEast Development Group is pricing a 90-unit building adjacent to the historic Downtown structures.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

SouthEast Development Group LLC Principal Steve Atkins said he hopes to break ground on the multifamily second phase of the Laura Street Trio before renovations of the existing Downtown historic buildings are completed. 

SouthEast Development Group LLC Principal Steve Atkins

During a presentation Sept. 17 to the JAX Chamber Downtown Council, Atkins showed a rendering of the property as viewed from Adams Street. 

It shows a driveway or circular pedestrian walkway, for the Trio’s 145-room Marriott Autograph Hotel and a second phase multifamily tower.

After the presentation, Atkins said that SouthEast has been studying a 90-unit, 10- to 11-floor multifamily development for seven to eight months and could start work by late first quarter or early second quarter of 2022.

Atkins said remaining land on the  0.98-acre Trio property and the nearly 100% leased apartment units in the company’s The Residences at Barnett across the street justify a multifamily addition.

“We want to maximize to the extent we can, particularly given the location Downtown and the importance of that location,” Atkins said. 

“The logical next step would be to add a multifamily component given the open space, the opportunity and the strength of that market.”

The multifamily addition next to the Laura Street Trio would go in the vacant lot between the Bisbee Building and the Forsyth Street parking garage.

Atkins said SouthEast could take advantage of 10 to 11 months of remediation needed on the historic Trio buildings to build shared infrastructure for the multifamily project. 

“There would be a lot of efficiency in mobilizing simultaneously,” Atkins said.

“That would give us some flexibility in ramping up additional construction adjacent to the properties.” 

SouthEast expects the Trio renovation and eight-floor addition to take 24 months to complete after breaking ground by early November.

He added SouthEast considers the second phase as separate from the Trio adaptive reuse. There are no multifamily units in the historic buildings.

SouthEast is finalizing second-phase pricing in a market with rising construction and labor costs. 

Atkins said SouthEast is working with the same development team for the multifamily project as the Trio — Dasher-Hurst Architects, Danis Construction and investment bank Piper Sandler. 

“We’re trying to make sure the market is beginning to stabilize in terms of construction costs and we can make a fair assessment before we move forward.” 

A rendering of the multifamily second phase of the Laura Street Trio redevelopment viewed from Forsyth Street. The multifamily structure is at the right.

Atkins told the Downtown Council that plans for the second phase include ground-floor retail and services targeted at residents, like a dry cleaner.

He said construction would be “mindful and respectful of the historic buildings next door.” 

It would not “encumber” or be larger than the Trio’s two towers at Laura and Forsyth streets. 

The Florida Life Insurance, Bisbee and Marble Bank buildings that comprise the Trio were built between 1902 and 1912. 

They are historic and contributing structures to the Downtown Jacksonville National Register District.

Hotel operator Winegardner & Hammons Hotel Group of Cincinnati will run a restaurant and bar in the Marble Bank Building. The Trio will have an outdoor terrace bar in the hotel, ground-floor retail and a small grocery store.

The Jacksonville City Council approved $26.76 million in forgivable and deferred loans Sept. 14 to help finance the Laura Street Trio renovations.

Atkins said planning for the multifamily project is not far enough along to determine if SouthEast will ask the city for more financial participation.

The multifamily would be new construction. That would disqualify it for the Downtown Investment Authority’s historic incentives program used for the existing Trio. 

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