More than 'Project Rex' for booming Northside

Lake Mary-based Integra Land Company's planned Integra Riverside apartments will be architecturally similar to Integra Cove near Sea World. Built in 2014, it comprises 338 units and shared amenities such as a salt-water pool, pet spa and "bark park," ...
Lake Mary-based Integra Land Company's planned Integra Riverside apartments will be architecturally similar to Integra Cove near Sea World. Built in 2014, it comprises 338 units and shared amenities such as a salt-water pool, pet spa and "bark park," ...
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New jobs might need new housing, so in addition to selling property for the large Project Rex, North Jacksonville property owner Steve Leggett wants to turn almost 18 acres off Interstate 95 and Max Leggett Parkway into a 300-unit apartment complex.

RELATED: Council committee makes changes to increase chances with 'Rex'

After that, he wants to develop the adjacent 43 acres into medical uses, such as skilled nursing and assisted living, physicians’ offices and related services.

“There’s been a lot of activity,” Leggett said Monday. “It’s like the economy woke up.”

His North Jacksonville land is benefiting from the UF Health North medical office complex and hospital, as well as River City Marketplace, Parkway Shops and growth in population and jobs in the area.

It’s also about 3 miles northeast of the 180-acre site for Project Rex, widely believed to be a proposed 1,500-job Inc. fulfillment center.

All the activity is why Leggett decided to start work on 65 developable acres along Max Leggett Parkway, which is named for his late father.

The first phase of 22 acres starts this summer and includes the apartments and four lots in front of them that could be medical offices, a hotel and other outparcel uses.

Integra Land Co., based in Lake Mary, wants to develop the Integra Riverside apartments at Owens Road and Max Leggett Parkway, plans show.

Integra Land President David McDaniel said Monday his group intends to buy the land from Leggett simultaneously with breaking ground, anticipated this summer for completion toward the end of 2017.

Leggett’s second phase, expected to break ground about the fourth quarter, will depend on the economy, he said.

He anticipates build-out over a few years. His group is talking with senior living and assisted living centers, surgery centers, medical doctors and others.

McDaniel said the same as Leggett: The impetus for the development was the site’s neighbors — River City Marketplace and the UF Health North medical campus.

River City Marketplace and its Parkway Shops dominate North Jacksonville’s retail presence.

UF Health North opened its outpatient medical complex in February 2015 and is building a 92-bed hospital for completion next year. That complex is along Max Leggett Parkway within walking distance of the apartment site.

The site isn’t far from what could be the area’s signature distribution project of the year.

The almost 180-acre Project Rex, believed to be a fulfillment center for Inc., is expected to create at least 1,500 jobs by year-end 2019 just 3 miles southwest of the Integra site. Project Rex is planned at Duval and Pecan Park roads.

City Council is considering incentives on a fast track for the deal, which calls for 500 of the jobs to pay an average $50,000 a year.

Leggett said the decision to develop the 65 acres came before Project Rex, which he cannot discuss because of a confidentiality agreement. He said the land is under contract.

“The area has been growing and the needs are there,” he said.

Integra Riverside to be market rate

Integra Riverside LLC, led by McDaniel, filed an application with the St. Johns River Water Management District and submitted plans to the city for Integra Riverside.

McDaniel, who is aware of the Riverside neighborhood near Downtown, said he chose the “Riverside” name because of the site’s proximity to River City Marketplace and nearby waterways.

McDaniel said the company typically doesn’t release the cost of investments. He said the project will be a market-rate community.

Leggett said it will be a Class A gated community, “a very nice product.”

Site plans show 12 apartment buildings, eight garage buildings, a clubhouse and pool, mail kiosk, trash compactor and a maintenance building. They are designed to comprise 118 one-, 150 two- and 32 three-bedroom apartments.

McDaniel said unit sizes would be about 750 square feet for one-bedroom units, 1,100 square feet for two bedrooms and about 1,300 square feet for three bedrooms.

JBC Planning & Engineering Inc. is the engineer for the lots and the apartment site. Peacock Consulting Group LLC is the agent listed on the Water Management District application.

McDaniel has been an owner or developer in more than 80 apartment projects totaling more than 20,250 units developed since 1995 at a total construction cost of $1.2 billion, according to the site.

Integra could have company near River City Marketplace, another indication of market needs.

Atlantic Beach-based Tierra Linda Development LLC, part of The Klotz Group of Companies, applied for permits to build the 324-unit Lakeview at River City Marketplace on almost 34 acres at 12900 Broxton Bay Drive.

The city is reviewing the almost $25.2 million construction project.

Brad Coe, director of multifamily investment services for Colliers International Northeast Florida, said the target renters in the Integra area of the North Jacksonville market are workers who want to live closer to their jobs in a new Class A apartment community that offers high-end amenities.

North Jacksonville is a smaller apartment market of the area’s 11 submarkets.

“There just isn’t a lot of new development in that area,” Coe said, but the market has performed well with vacancy rates in the low 90 percent range and rents averaging 95 cents a square foot.

He said two other apartment communities in the River City Marketplace market were completed in 2008 and 2009. Both are about 96 percent occupied.

The North submarket is 7.8 percent vacant, compared with 5.8 percent in the greater Jacksonville market, he said.

Coe said Integra has been interested in the site for a while because of UF Health North, River City Marketplace and the businesses in the area.

The site also is near Jacksonville International Tradeport, a large industrial park west of I-95.

“They feel good relative to that area being able to absorb those units,” Coe said.

Project Rex is an additional driver, although a more recent one.

“It’s certainly not going to hurt anything,” Leggett said.

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