Demolition permits sought for the George Doro Fixture Co. block

Developer wants to transform property near 121 Financial Ballpark into apartments, retail.

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  • | 5:20 a.m. April 8, 2020
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By Karen Brune Mathis & Mike Mendenhall

Staff Writers

Rise Properties LLC applied to the city for permits to demolish properties on the George Doro Fixture Co. block to prepare for a proposed Downtown mixed-use and retail project called The Doro.

Realco Recycling Co. Inc. is listed as the contractor to demolish warehouse structures on the block bounded by A. Philip Randolph Boulevard and Adams, Lafayette and Forsyth streets.

Three permits show a job cost of $225,015 for demolition of structures at 128 A. Philip Randolph Blvd.; 102 A. Philip Randolph Blvd., the main George Doro building; and 951 Forsyth St.

Permit documents show Realco Recycling intends to use an excavator and attachments for the demolition. Debris will be disposed at the Old Kings Road Landfill.

The Downtown Development Review Board approved conceptual designs March 12 for Valdosta, Georgia-based Rise Properties to build a residential and retail development at the site. It needs final design approval before construction can proceed.

The George Doro Fixture Co. block bounded by A. Philip Randolph Boulevard and Adams, Lafayette and Forsyth streets.
The George Doro Fixture Co. block bounded by A. Philip Randolph Boulevard and Adams, Lafayette and Forsyth streets.

The DDRB canceled its meeting scheduled for April 9, due to social distancing measures for COVID-19. The May 14 meeting still is planned.

Jacksonville Properties I LLC proposes an eight-story, 247-unit mixed-use project at 102 A. Philip Randolph Blvd.

The developer said in March it has the property under contract. Matthew Marshall, vice president of development at RISE: A Real Estate Company, said then he anticipates Rise Properties will buy the property in May or June from Jacksonville real estate investors Farley and Paul Grainger.

He said Rise Properties hopes to break ground by the end of the summer and he expects a 22-month construction period, but that was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 1.63-acre property is next to Intuition Ale Works and Manifest Distilling, near the Downtown Sports Complex. 

 The oldest building on the Doro property dates to 1914, and more structures were added through 1954. 

Mapping Jax, a local historic preservation and Downtown revitalization group, brought 11 members to the March DDRB meeting to oppose the demolition. They asked developers to merge the oldest Doro Fixture building into the proposed new construction instead of demolishing it.

Downtown Investment Authority staff consulted with Christian Popoli, city planner supervisor for the Community Planning Division, Historic Preservation Section, for its report.

Popoli said the state Historic Preservation Officer at the Florida Department of State determined the Doro Fixture building doesn’t meet the criteria for Jacksonville’s Downtown National Register District.

The Doro block.
The Doro block.

The structure is not a locally registered landmark and doesn’t have historic structure protections.

DIA staff recommended conceptual approval for The Doro.

Rise Properties said it wants to incorporate a sense of history. The project architect said he worked textures, colors and materials from the original Doro Fixture building into the designs.

Project renderings show a seven-level parking garage and 4,875 square feet of ground-level retail, commercial and restaurant space.

The retail use at Forsyth Street and A. Philip Randolph Boulevard will face an outdoor area that Rise Properties calls “The Alley” between the south side of the development and Intuition Ale Works.

The eighth floor of the apartment building will focus on retail space and resident amenities. Plans show 2,652 square feet of outdoor retail space with a rooftop terrace for customers.

Marshall said Dec. 13 that the rooftop space would be an indoor-outdoor bar and lounge.

The top floor also has a terrace and resident amenity space with a swimming pool.

The development will be the first mixed-use residential project built in the Downtown Sports and Entertainment District.

Marshall said his company will seek federal and local tax incentives.

Rise Properties will apply for a city-backed Recapture Enhanced Value Grant, which rebates over 10 years the increase in ad valorem property taxes generated by the project, and Opportunity Zone funding.

The federal government designated Downtown Jacksonville’s Sports and Entertainment District an Opportunity Zone — a program created by the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

“The REV grant would be an important piece of this, making it financially feasible,” Marshall said.

The REV grant will need City Council approval.