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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Feb. 5, 202005:07 PM EST

Spandrel’s vision for The Ford on Bay site earns top score

The New York developer’s $136 million proposal tops The Related Group on design.
by: Mike Mendenhall Associate Editor

A New York-based development company’s $136 million pitch to redevelop the former Duval County Courthouse and City Hall site Downtown is the top choice of city scorers.

Spandrel Development Partners LLC was the unanimous pick of the three people appointed by the Downtown Investment Authority board to review bids for the site branded The Ford on Bay.

Spandrel proposes to build a two-phase 550-unit multifamily development with a grocery store and retail space of 50,000 to 74,000 square feet.

The Related Group, a developer based in Miami, proposed a smaller-scale development — an $80 million project with 350 multifamily residential units and 10,000 square feet of retail space.

The Ford on Bay includes the vacant 8.3-acre green space at 220 and 330 E. Bay St. and a third submerged parcel the DIA wants to become a public-private marina. 

Scores from DIA CEO Lori Boyer, DIA board member Ron Moody and city Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Stephanie Burch were released Feb. 5 after developers presented their visions Feb. 3 for the East Bay Street property.

The scoring average for Spandrel was 86.67 out of 100. The Related Group scored 69.33.

The bids were scored in six categories: the company’s experience and qualifications; the project’s economic benefit to Jacksonville; project design and development; financial proposal; the oral presentation; and bonus points. 

Spandrel scored highest in four of the six categories, but it was the developer’s design that put it over the top, averaging 42.44 to The Related Group’s 25.33.

The DIA set the scoring criteria with advice from real estate marketing firm CBRE Jacksonville, placing an increased emphasis on design including quality of building materials, retail space and residential density.

Spandrel’s proposal did not include an offer for the marina or a purchase price for the land. 

Company Principal Emanuel Neuman said in an interview after the presentation that Spandrel didn’t consider a marina economically feasible.

Spandrel has an office in Charleston, South Carolina, and mixed-use, residential and hotel developments in Tallahassee and in Savannah, Georgia.

The DIA’s Retail Enhancement and Property Disposition Committee will make a recommendation to proceed with or reject the two bids during its Feb. 11 meeting. 

A draft DIA resolution in the committee’s agenda packet shows it could recommend selling the property to one of the two companies. The resolution left blank the company name and proposed purchase price for the city-owned parcels.

The DIA board will consider the committee’s recommendation Feb. 19.

 The Related Group in Jacksonville

This is not the first time The Related Group has talked about developing in Jacksonville. 

Founder, Chairman and CEO Jorge Perez proposed a mixed-use development on the Downtown Southbank in 2006 that comprised four 48-story towers combining residential and retail uses plus a fifth building dedicated to restaurants, retail and office space, a marina and a public Riverwalk.

At the time, Perez said he’d spoken with then-real estate developer Donald Trump about the project. 

“Donald and I have already talked about this. I need to assess whether it’s the type of project that he might contribute some value to,” Perez told the Daily Record in March 2006. “If he does, he could very well become one of our partners here.”

The development did not take place. The land is the site of the proposed $600 million mixed-use development The District that could break ground later this year.

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