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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Mar. 15, 201806:30 AM EST

Rummell: The District could land major HQ

Developer won’t say what firm is interested in Southbank site.

Developer Peter Rummell piqued interest Tuesday in a side note at his GrayRobinson Jacksonville Community Leader Forum presentation.

Rummell outlined his proposed healthy-lifestyle community, The District, with these basics: 

The 30-acre site on the Southbank, which would be bought from JEA, would include 1,200 apartments, condominiums and townhouses; about 150,000 square feet of retail space that could include a greengrocer and yoga studio; “the best bars and restaurants in Jacksonville on the river;” a 4-acre riverfront park; a 150-room AC Hotel by Marriott; and a 125-slip marina.

“Oh,” he added, “and we’re working right now with a major office user who will bring their headquarters Downtown.”

Rummell said there would be “a significant amount of office space,” which plans show would be 200,000 square feet.

After the presentation to about 125 people at The River Club, Rummell said he wouldn’t identify the company.

Peter Rummell

“You know who it is, but I can’t tell you. We don’t have a deal,” he said. “It’s tentative.”

Before starting the development, Rummell and partner Michael Munz need to complete financing, buy the land and earn Downtown Investment Authority and City Council approval.

Rummell said Tuesday they are scheduled to close in mid-July and would expect to start work then.

The project, The District – Life Well Lived, surfaced publicly four years ago. During an interview, Rummell said he wanted to create what he called “Healthy Town,” although he said that was more of a description than an ultimate name.

“The challenge of this is to make it interesting and make it fun and not let it become weird,” Rummell told the GrayRobinson group.

“I use that word on purpose. This can’t be the kind of place where you’re afraid to go have your glass of wine because you might gain four ounces. Or it can’t be the kind of place where you count the calories with the people at the table next to you,” he said.

Rummell said he’s seen those kinds of places. “They don’t work.”

The District must be a place with a mindset that encourages people to live and mix and have fun and be fun.

“But at the same time, it creates an environment that is intrinsically healthy living. That’s an interesting balance,” he said.

By the way, he said, “a glass of wine is part of my definition for healthy living.”]

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