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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Aug. 20, 202007:15 PM EST

The Hub Brooklyn wins DDRB conceptual approval

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A board member says the project could help the Riverside Avenue, Forest Street corner come “to life.”
by: Katie Garwood Staff Writer

Cronk Duch Architecture received conceptual approval Aug. 20 from the Downtown Development Review Board for a mixed-use development called The Hub Brooklyn, planned at southwest Riverside Avenue and Forest Street.

The board approved the design 6-0. Board member Frederick Jones was not present. Board member Joe Loretta presented the project, so he did not vote. 

“I think this is an example of a fantastic project,” said DDRB board member J. Brent Allen. “You have a very unique parcel that is just, in my opinion, been an eyesore for quite some time as you go into Downtown.”

Allen called it “a very, very outside-the-box idea that utilizes that parcel that really has been abandoned over the years. I’m happy to see it’s coming to life with a great project on top of it.”

There were some concerns from the board that there could be issues with trucks loading and unloading on Riverside Avenue in front of the property. Architect Joe Cronk said the May Street cul-de-sac in the back of the building could be used for that purpose. 

The application shows The Hub Brooklyn could include two food vendor buildings, outdoor courtyard seating, and a design studio with two rooftops for special events.

The Hub Brooklyn is across from the 220 Riverside apartment community and the future Fidelity National Information Services Inc. headquarters.

Plans show space for 201 seats. Of those, 163 are indoors or under cover.  

To proceed, the project requires final approval from DDRB.

Plans did not identify food vendor tenants but show they could be a coffee shop and street taco shop.

“The HUB is a quaint gathering place composed of open courtyards and covered patios,” a description of the project reads. “It’s a place to meet friends for coffee and artisanal fare, a refuge from the office grind, a spot to refresh after walking the Emerald Trail, perhaps cocktails and al fresco before the evening’s big event.”

The site is 0.21 acres. The building is projected to be two floors and about 11,000 square feet. Superior Construction Company Southeast LLC owns the property.

Several board members noted that the Park Street Road Diet project, which the board also approved, would play well into the development. It would be walkable from nearby residential developments that would be connected by the road diet’s widened walkways.

The Hub Brooklyn would be across Forest Street from the 220 Riverside apartment complex and the Vista apartments that are under construction. The site is next to the Forest Street parking garage and across Riverside Avenue from the future Fidelity National Information Services Inc. headquarters. 

The Park Street Road Diet project will redevelop the roadway between Forest Street and Stonewall Street.

Park Street Road Diet

Civil engineering firm Prosser Inc. received final approval for the Park Street Road Diet project, which will redevelop the roadway between Forest Street and Stonewall Street. 

The board approved it 7-0. 

The proposed improvement includes lowering the speed limit, adding bicycle and pedestrian accommodations and parking.

Prosser proposes reducing travel lanes from four to two, adding shade trees, providing continuity to the Emerald Trail and adding parking for adjacent businesses, according to the DDRB application. 

The plan would remove the traffic lights on Park Street between Pierce and Stonewall streets. 

“The Park Street redesign prioritizes the pedestrian and bicyclists over the car by focusing on reduced travel lanes, traffic calming, enhanced landscaping, prioritization on bicyclists and pedestrians, and designating pedestrian crossings,” the application reads. 

The Downtown Investment Authority commissioned a study that identified that portion of Park Street as an area where improvements could “initiate a dynamic revitalization process.”

Prosser is working with the DIA and the city to develop the street concept. 

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