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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jan. 19, 202105:02 PM EST

The District takes step toward infrastructure construction with land sales

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A Preston Hollow subsidiary transferred ownership of 9.86 acres for parkland, roads and other improvements.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

Preston Hollow Capital LLC completed two required land sales of 9.86 acres to prepare the site of its $600 million The District for infrastructure and vertical construction on the Downtown Southbank.

Elements Development of Jacksonville, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Preston Hollow, sold 5.34 acres to The District’s Community Development District for roadway, sidewalks and other infrastructure, according to the development’s engineer, Kimley-Horn & Associates, and CDD management firm DPFG Management and Consulting LLC. 

The District CDD was established in October 2018. It’s a state-regulated extension of city government that allows developers and communities to secure financing for constructing, acquiring, operating and maintaining public infrastructure improvements. 

Elements sold the land to the CDD for $3.316 million Jan. 5, according to Duval County Clerk of Courts records. 

Ramiro Albarran, managing director at Preston Hollow, said Jan. 6 the sale is to prepare The District site for public infrastructure work and moves the company closer to shifting its focus to vertical construction on the development’s private parcels.

The CDD closed on $35.56 million in bonds Dec. 22 to pay for the site’s streets, sewer, parks and other needs.

In a Jan. 11 email, Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer said Elements also conveyed 4.52 acres to the city for four planned public parks in the development — three riverfront and one marshfront.

Elements was required to transfer ownership of the future parkland to the city to fulfill an obligation in its $56 million taxpayer-backed development agreement.

Up to $23 million of the city’s investment will go toward publicly owned infrastructure. 

The parkland was transferred to the city Dec. 30, according to a special warranty deed provided by Boyer.

Preston Hollow plans to start marketing the project’s retail, hotel, residential and office uses in early 2021. Albarran said in December that he expects public announcements at that time.

Albarran would not say in December if each component at The District will be contracted with its own developer, but he said the strategy is to overlap vertical construction with the infrastructure work as it is completed.

“The goal is to start doing some of the development in parallel and to not wait until every last tree has been planted and every paver has been placed,” Albarran said.

Preston Hollow assumed control of The District on Oct. 16 when it became title manager of project landowner Elements, previously owned by RummellMunz Equity LLC, according to documents filed with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations.

Preston Hollow helped Elements, under former co-leads Peter Rummell and Michael Munz, purchase the 32-acre site in July 2018 from JEA, which had cleared the former generating station.

Elements had a $20 million mortgage with Preston Hollow at that time, according to Duval County property records, then closed on the property.

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