For almost two years, developer Peter Rummell has been calling his big idea “Healthy Town.”
Starting today, thanks to five people out of 1,150 contestants, it has a big new name.
“The District – Life Well Lived – Jacksonville” was the consolidated winning suggestion for the almost 30-acre Downtown Southbank riverfront property.
Rummell and business partners Mike Balanky and Michael Munz want to develop the site to create a place where residents can live “healthily in a cool mixed-use urban setting with multi generations,” according to a news release this morning announcing the name.
Munz said the five winners used a version of the word “district” in their suggestions. Their names will be released after they are notified and sign a release form.
Each will receive a year of free membership at The District’s “Base Camp,” which will serve as a focal point for the community.
Base Camp is an alternative to the traditional clubhouse or town center and is designed to include hardware, such as fitness equipment, and software, which provides access to wellness and informational resources.
The winners’ names also will be listed on the community cornerstone to be unveiled along with other public art work to be displayed around The District.
The online contest began this summer and ended in mid-October.
Of the 1,150 entries, Munz said 92 percent came from within Jacksonville ZIP codes.
A team including Rummell, Balanky and Munz narrowed the suggestions to 10.
They took those back to the initial focus groups formed to assist the efforts, and the word “district” kept repeating.
“We retested the names and then we tested the tag lines and the result is what you see,” Munz said.
“The District – Life Well Lived” can lend itself to any city in which the concept expands by attaching its name, as with Jacksonville. Munz said Rummell’s vision is to introduce The District to other communities after Jacksonville’s is established.
“The enormous level of interest that Jacksonville residents and the development community have shown for the project has reaffirmed that we are creating a model for future multigenerational lifestyle living that starts in Jacksonville,” Rummell said in the news release.
Munz won’t release the other names suggested, although he told JEA directors in September that a dozen uses of “Cowford” had been suggested, referring to the St. Johns River history as a cattle-crossing site.
JEA formerly operated a generating station on the site. Through Elements Development of Jacksonville LLC, Rummell and Balanky want to buy the property by April 27 and start horizontal ground work on it as soon as possible.
JEA approved a purchase price of $18.6 million.
Munz would not speculate on a construction timeframe until all of the approvals are in hand. Horizontal work could take a year.
Munz is president of the Dalton Agency’s PR and Social Media Group.
As a partner with Rummell in the RummellMunz consulting group, he also is partner in The District project.
On Nov. 17, the Downtown Investment Authority allocated development rights for 1,170 residential units, 200 hotel rooms, 288,500 square feet of commercial and retail space and 200,000 square feet of office space to be developed over three phases.
Munz provided a rendering with Tuesday’s release about the name.
The rendering shows a complex of buildings that includes condos, two apartment structures, two office buildings and a hotel.
A four-acre park fronts the St. Johns River, where developers are seeking approvals for a 125-slip marina.
The Riverwalk would extend along the property’s riverfront.
The ground floor of the apartments and the hotel will be retail space. Restaurants and bars would be near the riverfront and marina.
Munz said the apartments would be five or six stories, while the other buildings are in design.
Munz said the intent is to fully develop the project to meet the entitled rights. Phasing will be market-driven.
The partners envision at least two phases. The first would include one or both apartment buildings, the hotel, the riverfront and the retail, as well as the programming.
The group has completed its master plan and is working through financial due diligence. Munz said build-out will be close to $500 million.
He said developers are working on debt and equity financing and are negotiating to have letters of commitment in place.
They will not request public incentives for any vertical development, he said.
They will ask for infrastructure assistance from the city, such as for the extension of the Riverwalk and for roads.
Munz said the group still requires several approvals from the Downtown Development Review Board, the DIA and City Council.
He expects announcements soon related to the vertical developments.
When The District is operating, developers envision a community that promotes optimal health through exercise opportunities, wellness and other resources.
It also will offer dining and entertainment experiences for residents and visitors.
Half of the marina slips will be for residents and half for visitors. Water access also could include canoe rentals, kayak launches and perhaps paddle boats, along with a connection for the water taxi.
“We are going to get really creative in different ways people can access the river,” Munz said.
The Riverwalk will be connected to a boardwalk or walkway around the property.
Munz said walking that loop and then continuing along the Riverwalk to cross the Acosta Bridge, continuing to the Riverside Arts Market and returning across the Main Street Bridge to The District is a 7.9-mile walk or run.
Meanwhile, Healthy Town remains a part of the vernacular. Developers filed paperwork to seek a trademark for “Healthy Town” and several other terms used to brand the community.
Rummell coined that name at least by March 2014, when he publicly discussed his detailed vision for a residential community on the JEA site for all ages that focused on health of mind, body and spirit.
He said then that Healthy Town was more of a description than the ultimate name.
“Healthy Town is what we refer to as the concept for the development,” Munz said. “We didn’t want to drop that.”