- January 15, 2021
The projects, at a combined $18.55 million, would create a mixed-use block in Downtown’s North Core connected by a courtyard to JWB’s Seminole Building, home of Sweet Pete’s Candy Shop.
A staff report released May 6 recommends the review board approve both designs at its May 13 meeting.
The development plans by Brooke Robbins of Robbins Design Studio changed little since DDRB voted 5-0 in September for conceptual approval.
The design for the five-story Baptist Convention property at 218 W. Church St. includes a restaurant space on the basement and ground levels, two mercantile suites at the ground-floor entrance and 24 studio and one-bedroom apartments on the upper floors.
The three-story Federal Reserve Bank Building redevelopment at 424 N. Hogan St. includes a restaurant, business and banquet space, along with an exterior courtyard.
The final renderings submitted with the report show more detail on the buildings’ historic facades, which will be restored to their original look including the colonnade portico on the Federal Reserve building, according to the DDRB report.
The staff report says the redevelopment’s connecting courtyard meant for outdoor dining and events satisfies city design code requirements as a “semi-private urban open space.”
The project plans do not include rooftop amenities for diners, tenants or residents and JWB will not build a surface parking lot or garage for the development.
JWB Real Estate Capital, led by President Alex Sifakis, bought the properties in August.
The Baptist Convention Building was built in 1924 and designed by a prominent architect of the era, Henry John Klutho. The 26,500-square-foot vacant office building is in disrepair, according to JWB.
The 18,000-square-foot Federal Reserve building was completed in 1923, according to the staff.
Board member Craig Davisson noted in September that the building was designed by Henrietta Dozier, who was Jacksonville’s first female architect, according to the Jacksonville Historical Society.
Both structures are designated local landmarks. According to the staff report, the National Park Service and Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission both approved the project. JWB received its certificate of appropriateness to proceed.
The Downtown Investment Authority and Mayor’s Budget Review Committee advanced JWB’s request for $8.62 million in city-backed loans to renovate and restore the historic buildings earlier this year.
If approved by City Council, the DIA would use its Downtown Preservation and Revitalization Program to award JWB incentives comprising $3,596,630 in forgivable loans; $3,299,827 in Code Compliance Forgivable Loans; and deferred Principal Loans totaling $1,727,864, according to city documents.
The $1.727 million loan would be repaid over 10 years, according to DIA CEO Lori Boyer.
The budget review committee voted April 12 to allow DIA to send legislation to Council to approve the deal but, as of May 7, the bill has not been filed.