347 new apartments planned near St. Johns Town Center

Stanmore Partners has a contract on land near St. Johns Town Center to build 347 apartments called Ravella at Town Center. Stanmore's first project, above, is Ravella at Kingwood in Texas.
Stanmore Partners has a contract on land near St. Johns Town Center to build 347 apartments called Ravella at Town Center. Stanmore's first project, above, is Ravella at Kingwood in Texas.
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Houston-based Stanmore Partners is under contract to buy land near St. Johns Town Center for a 347-unit apartment community, sparking the first signs of development there for Preferred Growth Properties.

The project, called Ravella at Town Center Apartment Homes, would be developed at northwest Town Center and Midtown parkways on land Stanmore would buy from Preferred Growth Properties.

First, Birmingham, Ala.-based Preferred Growth Properties must complete its acquisition of 61.35 acres from the Arthur Chester Skinner III Trust. That deal is expected to close Jan. 28.

Jason Schlanger, managing director of multifamily for Stanmore, said the group is under contract to purchase the land for development and anticipates completing the deal in the second quarter next year. He declined further details.

Plans being reviewed by the city show a one-phase development on almost 6.6 acres between Town Center Parkway and Lake Meadowbrook. An entrance would be at the Midtown Parkway traffic light.

The land is now wooded and vacant.

Plans aren’t highly detailed yet, but they indicate a single, large building footprint with two courtyards and a seven-level parking garage within it. There also is a pool courtyard facing Lake Meadowbrook.

The city is reviewing the plans for Planned Unit Development verification as well as the concurrency capacity. England, Thims & Miller is the project agent and engineer.

Preferred Growth Properties would buy and own the land through PGP Jacksonville TC LLC. Preferred Growth is a subsidiary of Books-A-Million.

In May, the Skinner family designated PGP Jacksonville TC LLC as its successor within a Transportation Management Area development agreement in December 1998. That allowed PGP to apply for a conditional capacity statement. PGP authorized Stanmore Partners and its agent to apply for a companion concurrency statement.

Stanmore Partners’ website, stanmorepartners.com, shows three Ravella-branded projects, with one leasing, one under construction and one to start construction in January. All are in Texas.

For a sense of the Ravella plans, consider the new Ravella at Kingwood Apartment Homes in Kingwood, Texas. That is a two- and three-story rental community within the master-planned Village at Northpark.

Its 264 units range from 709 to 1,689 square feet in size and they comprise one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, including two-story townhomes with attached garages. Apartments.com reports rents range from $995 to $2,295 a month.

Units include wood-like flooring, granite countertops, custom cabinets with under-cabinet lighting, appliances and full-size washers and dryers.

Community amenities include a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse with a 24-hour fitness club, conference room, business center, latte lounge and game rooms.

There also is a pool with cabanas and fire pits, a “Dog Spaw” for pet grooming and a bike repair and storage shop site.

Ravella at Eastpoint in Baytown is a $36 million, 283-unit project that began construction in August. The $60 million, 318-unit Ravella Memorial Villages should start construction in January.

Those two projects average a cost of $157,943 a unit, which indicates the size of the Jacksonville project could mean a $54.8 million development.

Preferred Growth Properties can develop about 45 acres of the site it will buy. Permitted uses are up to 500,000 square feet of enclosed retail and commercial space, 100,000 square feet of office space, 400 hotel rooms and 500 multifamily residential units.

The company plans to pay for traffic improvements that will add turn lanes, access points and a trail for pedestrians, runners and bicycles.

Skinners preparing for more development

Construction in the St. Johns Town Center area means developers might need dirt to fill sites.

To make that available, the A.C. Skinner III Trust will construct a borrow pit off of Burnt Mill Road, which connects with Gate Parkway.

Chip Skinner with the trust said it intends to make use of the dirt to fill some of the sites it sells in the area, but it also would be available for other projects if it has the capacity.

The city and the St. Johns River Water Management District are reviewing plans for the 19-acre project.

Prominence to add parking near Southeastern Grocers site

Crocker Partners wants to build a 182-space parking lot at the Prominence office park on property across the street from Building 200, where Southeastern Grocers LLC is relocating its headquarters.

Josh Edwards, Crocker Partners vice president and regional asset manager, said Crocker is increasing the parking supply because of the continued demand by tenants.

Southeastern Grocers will relocate from West Jacksonville to Prominence, in Baymeadows, in the first quarter of 2016. It will lease an entire building, one of seven in the office park.

Southeastern Grocers has not said how many employees will relocate to Baymeadows from Westside and from other buildings around town. It said the majority of associates at the Store Support Center, Astor and Baypine offices will be moving, as well as some associates from the Baldwin office.

It appears the company might move at least a few hundred employees, considering Building 200’s proximity to the new parking lot and the available spaces it will have around the building.

The new lot will sit across Liberty Ridge Drive from Building 200 and is bordered by Freedom Commerce Parkway. Southeastern Grocers will move to 8928 Freedom Commerce Parkway.

Edwards said Crocker does not provide details about specific leases, so he could not comment whether the new lot would serve Southeastern Grocers or how many spaces are on the Building 200 site already.

He said the quantity of parking available for Building 200 was not a fixed number because Crocker Partners can allocate some parking areas to different buildings and tenants.

The lot’s site is about 2 acres, according to plans filed with the St. Johns River Water Management District.

Costco wants to expand Town Center store

Costco Wholesale wants to expand its St. Johns Town Center area wholesale store at 4901 Gate Parkway, plans with the St. Johns River Water Management District show.

Those plans indicate Costco wants to expand the building by 7,404 square feet next to its tire center. The more than 151,000-square-foot store was built in 2000 on more than 13 acres.

Plans do not indicate the reason or use of the expansion.

PJ Faria, a spokeswoman for Costco Wholesale Corp., said as a policy, the company does not comment about specific locations.

Meanwhile, the store also is remodeling its optical department at a proposed cost of $44,000, according to a building-permit application.

Aetna still reviewing sites

Aetna Inc. is renovating space at the building it anchors on the Downtown Southbank, but that doesn’t mean it’s stopped looking at other sites for relocation.

The city approved a permit for Prodigy Contracting Group Inc. to renovate 9,370 square feet of space for Aetna at the 841 Prudential Drive building it anchors.

Aetna spokesman Walt Cherniak said any work being done at the building is aimed at meeting current business needs. “It has no impact on our long-term real estate strategy in Jacksonville,” he said.

Aetna leases about 170,000 square feet in the almost 495,000-square-foot, 20-story tower. Its lease expires Aug. 31, 2017, and the company is reviewing other sites.

“We haven’t made any determination relative to our lease,” Cherniak said. “We’re continuing to explore all of our office options in the Jacksonville area.”

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