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John Carey
Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Feb. 3, 201512:00 PM EST

Whitehall partner 'optimistic' about East San Marco project


John Carey, a partner at Whitehall Realty Partners LLC, said by email Monday he could not respond to questions about Whitehall’s potential involvement in developing the East San Marco retail and residential development until “we are at liberty to comment.”

“We remain optimistic the San Marco project will move forward soon,” Carey said.

Regency Centers Inc. Vice President Tom Fleming confirmed last week his group is “actively working” toward development of East San Marco. Fleming said no residential development partner or time frame was being announced.

The vacant 5-acre site at Hendricks Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard is designed for 280 apartments, up to 63,000 square feet of commercial space, including a Publix Super Markets Inc. store, the existing Wells Fargo bank branch and additional commercial space.

A deal last year called for Jacksonville-based Whitehall Realty Partners to buy the land at closing and develop the project, then sell the retail and commercial portion to Regency.

Last April, Whitehall Realty Partners withdrew from the deal, saying it could not line up the financing.

City Council member Lori Boyer, who represents the district, said last week she met with Fleming and understood that a deal was “looking very positive” and that Regency was working out legal agreements and other details.

She would not comment about speculation that Whitehall was re-engaged with the deal, referring questions to Regency.


Vistakon tank farm project tops $10M

So far, the investment by Jacksonville-based Vistakon into its proposed solvent tank farm in Southside is topping $10 million.

Investment in site work, plumbing, the foundation, the shell structure and the interior build-out is adding up, according to building-permit applications filed with the city.

Vistakon is a division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc. It makes the Acuvue brand of disposable contact lenses at its 69-acre campus at 7500 Centurion Parkway in Deerwood Park.

Gilbane Building Co. is the contractor. Construction is expected to be completed this year.

Spokesman Gary Esterow said previously the tank farm houses ingredients used to make Vistakon’s Acuvue brand of contact lenses, which have been manufactured at the site for decades. Vistakon wants to relocate its existing system to an alternative location on the campus. All the necessary environmental permits have been filed, he said.

He said the company does not disclose specific business or investment costs for such facility improvements.

Vistakon started development of the manufacturing plant, distribution center and research and development facility in 1993 and has been expanding since.

The two-story proposed tank-farm structure, at 8,000 square feet, not only boosts Vistakon’s investment but also its presence. The company’s campus will expand to almost 797,000 square feet. The company also leases space nearby for administrative offices.


$21M GSA office a step closer

Construction is another step closer for the $21 million General Services Administration office center in North Jacksonville expected to be completed in early 2016.

Duke Indiana Construction Limited Partnership, part of Duke Realty Corp. of Indiana, is the contractor for the almost $5.6 million shell building planned at 10426 Alta Drive. Interior build-out will be separately permitted.

A building-permit application was submitted Friday for the project, a two-story, 56,549-square-foot foot structure on 5.56 acres.

The building is being developed for the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which will use it for offices and related services in support of security at the Port of Jacksonville and its surrounding waters, according to the General Services Administration.

General Capital Acquisitions LLC of Milwaukee, Wis., won the GSA contract July 31 to develop the structure near the St. Johns River and the Blount Island and Dames Point marine terminals.

General Capital Vice President Steve Sirkis said previously that construction should start in February. The building will yield 46,014 square feet of rentable space. The Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection should take occupancy March 15, 2016, under a 15-year lease term.

Jacksonville-based Prosser Inc. is the civil engineer.

According to the GSA, the contract amount is $20,925,000.

The site is along the Interstate 295 East Beltway, north of Zoo Parkway/Heckscher Drive.

General Capital and Duke Realty also developed and built the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Flagler Center in 2012.


Anthem Lakes assisted-living center in review

The city is reviewing plans for the proposed Anthem Lakes assisted-living development in the Mayport area at 905 Assisi Lane.

Anthem Lakes LLC, led by Wayne, Carson and Heath McCall of Jacksonville and David Kirkland of St. Charles, Mo., submitted the plans. The limited liability company wants to develop the three-building project on 14.54 acres.

The project comprises a 73,962-square-foot, three-wing assisted living building, a 22,417-square-foot memory care building and a 1,700-square-foot sales and information center.

Kirkland said previously the $23 million, 119-unit Anthem Lakes is envisioned as a potential national model for veteran-friendly senior living. The retired president of St. Louis-based Allegro Senior Living said Anthem Lakes is not limited to veterans, but is positioned to serve retired or returning military.

It would offer assisted- and independent-living units as well as a building for memory-care and dementia residents.

Kirkland said construction should start in July for completion in 14 months. The site includes creek frontage and shoreline along a 4-acre lake.

The center will be 1.4 miles south of the entry to Mayport Naval Station and directly opposite the exit from the station’s commissary, which Kirkland said “clearly lends itself to a special outreach to veterans.”

The construction team comprises contractor Perry-McCall Construction, of which McCall is CEO; PQH Architects; JBC Planning & Engineering for civil engineering; and Janet O. Whitmill R.L.A. Inc. for landscape design.


Westside retail development in design

More retail development could be coming to West Jacksonville.

A 7.15-acre site at Normandy Boulevard and Herlong Road is being marketed for $1.1 million and is designed for 50,000 square feet of commercial space.

Colliers International Northeast Florida is marketing the property. A site layout plan shows the potential for five buildings on the five parcels — a two-story, 37,600-square-foot office building, four fast-food parcels and a tire store.

Colliers International broker Ronald McVay is the listing broker. He said the site could be sold in whole or in parcels.

The city issued a mobility fee calculation certificate in December.

The property is owned by Normandy & Herlong Center LLC, whose authorized members are McVay and Marco Tran. The manager is Honglan Tran. Normandy & Herlong Center bought the property in December, McVay said.

Meanwhile, McVay said he and associate Jason Hinson are talking with an “ale type” restaurant as well as a spa for the San Marco-area shopping center they represent at 1620-1630 Hendricks Ave.

McVay said the back parking lot in the popular and trendy area will be upgraded. He said the owners have invested in renovating the storefronts.

“It’s a good-looking project,” he said.

Owner Rettner Hendricks Realty LLC, based in Yonkers, N.Y., said in December 2013 it wanted to invest at least $300,000 in façade renovations for the storefronts.

The structures, built in 1947 and 1948, total more than 11,500 square feet of space and take up about 1.31 acres.

The storefronts are another link along Hendricks Avenue from the Southbank riverfront to the San Marco neighborhood retail center.

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