- April 14, 2020
The city Downtown Development Review Board will consider renewed plans by Corner Lot Development Group to adapt the historic Jones Brothers Furniture Co. structure and built an eight-story addition for apartments and retail use.
Plans released April 14 show The Jones at Hogan in Downtown’s North Core with 103 apartment units; a 143-space parking garage; two ground-floor retail bays; co-work office spaces; and a fifth-floor outdoor amenity terrace for residents.
The board is scheduled to vote April 21 on conceptual approval for the design.
The seven-story, 38,000-square-foot Jones Bros. structure was built at 502 N. Hogan St. in 1926 and was a retail furniture store until the late 1980s.
Project renderings by Bold Line Design LLC and plans by architect Robbins Design Studio include 29 studio and one-bedroom apartments in the historic Jones Bros. building. Bold Line Design is responsible for the new construction and Robbins Design Studio the historic Jones Bros. building.
The project’s eight-story, 145,000-square-foot addition would have 74 apartments and include the ground-floor retail along Church and Hogan streets.
According to the DDRB staff report and project renderings, parking will be on the second through fourth floors and the outdoor amenity terrace on the fifth floor will have space for outdoor grills and lounging and dining areas.
Corner Lot told the review board it intends to repaint and relight the historic Jones Bros. Furniture signs on the building, as well as repaint and tuckpoint the brick by removing old mortar from joints and replacing it, add facade uplighting and a new entry canopy.
“The new mixed-use development provides a recess next to the Jones Bros Furniture Building to honor its historical significance and signify a distinction between the two buildings,” the presentation says.
A staff report says the renovation plans for Jones Bros. were approved in 2020 by the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service, the agencies that regulate improvements to historic landmarks.
The staff recommended the review board award conceptual approval. Corner Lot will need to bring back a refined design for final approval before work can begin.
The players and demolition
Corner Lot CEO Andy Allen and Elias Hionides, his development partner on the project, have worked since 2018 to make a historic rehabilitation of the building possible and financially viable.
Hionides is vice president of real estate company and property manager Petra.
HALFF Associates Inc. is the project engineer and the developer is represented by law firm Driver, McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow.
To clear the property for the new construction, the developers want to demolish the former Farah’s Uptown Deli building at Hogan and Church streets.
According to DDRB staff, the former Farah’s Uptown Deli is not designated a local landmark but is listed as a contributing building within the Downtown Jacksonville Historic District.
The report says the developers will have to work with the Historic Preservation Section of the city Planning and Development Department to ensure the building meets all requirements for demolition.
Duval County property records show the 0.17-acre Farah’s Uptown Deli property is owned by Mandarin Emporium Inc. and the 0.13-acre Jones Bros. site is owned by OUR Properties Inc.
Those companies are controlled by Elias Hionides’ father, Chris Hionides.
The project also incorporates an adjacent 0.17-acre parcel on Ashley Street owned by the city.
A previous deal
A previous agreement between the city Downtown Investment Authority and ACE JAX LLC, co-managed by Allen and Hionides, called for the city to convey the vacant lot to the company.
At the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, DIA CEO Lori Boyer granted ACE JAX’s request for a force majeure suspension on its $2.25 million incentives deal approved in 2019 to renovate Jones Bros.
With the addition of the 74-unit, mixed-use building, that deal likely will need to be renegotiated.
Allen did not respond immediately April 14 for a request for comment on the latest plans, but he estimated in September 2021 it would be about a $30 million project.
Allen said then that Corner Lot intends to apply for Downtown Preservation and Revitalization Program incentives through the DIA to help finance the project.
Allen said his company also intends to seek a Recapture Enhanced Value Grant property tax refund from the city on the multifamily construction.