Whole Foods, Jones Bros. and Pratt Funeral Home designs up for city approval

The Downtown Development Review Board will consider plans for the retail, rehab and redevelopment projects.

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A Whole Foods Market in Brooklyn, a mixed-use rehab of the historic Jones Bros. Furniture Co. and long-term and Airbnb-style apartments in a historic Pratt Funeral Home in LaVilla are up for final design approval when the Downtown Development Review Board meets Dec. 8.

One Riverside 

After redesigning a portion of the building fronts, Atlanta-based Fuqua Development is asking the city review board to sign off on the look of the $250 million mixed-use One Riverside project’s first-phase retail component. 

The DDRB voted unanimously in October to advance the conceptual designs for the 40,000-square-foot supermarket and an 8,000-square-foot retail building at 1 Riverside Ave. in Brooklyn. 

The review board staff report released Dec. 2 recommends final approval after project architect Phillips Partnership and engineer Prosser submitted a revised plan to add “visual interest” to the west side of the project. 

A rendering of entrance to One Riverside as seen from Riverside Avenue.
A rendering of entrance to One Riverside as seen from Riverside Avenue.

Review board staff said the western elevation would be a “first impression” to the development’s entrance Downtown on Riverside Avenue. That’s where visitors will see cafe seating, which DDRB staff said would provide activation along the sidewalk. 

One Riverside retail designers also agreed to a landscape change that would “soften” the view from on-ramp for the Acosta Bridge of back-of-house services, including a loading dock for the grocery store and retail building.

One Riverside will be built at the former Florida Times-Union campus that was demolished this year.

Fuqua Development is developing the retail portion. 

The site plan for One Riverside.
The site plan for One Riverside.

TriBridge Residential LLC of Atlanta is developing the 270-unit first-phase apartments and riverfront restaurant, approved by the DDRB in December 2021. The city will develop a public park and restore McCoys Creek.

TriBridge officially broke ground on the first phase in September. Phase two will have about 125 apartment units as well as restaurant space. 

Fuqua Development of Atlanta bought the 18.84-acre One Riverside property Feb. 4 for $25 million. It sold 4.3 acres to TriBridge for $15.5 million for the apartments. The Northbank property is next to the Acosta Bridge.

The review board is scheduled to consider a special sign exception for the design of a monument sign at the entrance of One Riverside. 

Jones Bros. 

The review board’s staff recommended final approval for an adaptive reuse project to transform the historic Jones Bros. Furniture Co. structure and build a seven-story addition for apartments and retail. 

Corner Lot Development Group is leading the project that will restore and adapt the Jones Bros. building at 520 N. Hogan St. into 29 apartments, a residential lobby, co-work office suite and building utility space. 

The proposed new construction would include 148 apartments, 8,807 square feet of commercial space and 25 interior parking spots, according to the DDRB staff report. 

The latest proposal would double the number of apartments originally planned in the new construction. 

A rendering of the renovated Jones Bros. building at 520 N. Hogan St.
A rendering of the renovated Jones Bros. building at 520 N. Hogan St.

It also reduces the new construction height from eight to seven stories. 

Since the board’s conceptual approval in April, Corner Lot has scaled back plans for a multilevel parking deck to 25 ground-level spaces. 

According to the staff report, a majority of the parking has been relocated to an existing parking structure off-site.

This appears to have allowed the increase in residential density.

At the review board’s recommendation, Corner Lot also increased the amount of commercial space along Church Street. 

The northeast perspective of the renovated Jones Bros. building.
The northeast perspective of the renovated Jones Bros. building.

Corner Lot CEO Andy Allen estimated in April the project would cost $35 million to $40 million. 

Halff Associates Inc. is the project engineer and the project is designed by Robbins Design Studio and Bold Line Design. 

Corner Lot is negotiating with the Downtown Investment Authority to acquire an adjacent 0.17-acre parcel on Ashley Street owned by the city that is included in the building plans.

According to the report, Corner Lot received approval from the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission to move forward with demolishing the adjacent former Farah’s Uptown Deli at 502 N. Hogan St. to make way for the new construction. 

The seven-story, 38,000-square-foot Jones Bros. structure was built in 1926 and was a retail furniture store until the late 1980s. 

The Jones Bros. building as it now stands.
The Jones Bros. building as it now stands.

The city is reviewing a permit application for interior demolition and other repairs toward the adaptive reuse of the property at an estimated cost of $250,000.

Allen and Elias Hionides, his development partner on the project, have worked on the Jones Bros. plan since 2018. 

Hionides is vice president of real estate company and property manager Petra.

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.

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.

LaVilla Place

The board is scheduled to take a final vote on developer Eric Adler’s proposal to transform the former Pratt Funeral Home at 525 W. Beaver St. into 13 apartments and a restaurant.

Adler, owner of Silver Street Management, says his LaVilla Place project will “hearken to the spooky nature” of the former funeral home while recognizing its history.

The project would convert nearly 7,000 square feet of the 106-year-old funeral home into apartments and add restaurant space. 

The project will have a courtyard feature, as well as a space for outdoor pop-up retail.  

The renovated LaVilla Place at 525 W. Beaver St.
The renovated LaVilla Place at 525 W. Beaver St.

Duval County property records show the two-story building is 10,603 square feet.

Adler said Sept. 7 and also told the board he has a verbal commitment from a retail tenant at another property managed by Silver Street to open a small-plate restaurant and wine bar in about 1,000 to 2,000 square feet of the vehicle bay attached to the funeral home.

The building is west of the United House of Prayer for All People church and across West Beaver Street from Old Stanton High School. It’s in Downtown’s North Core district and borders LaVilla. 

The Pratt Funeral Home was established in 1900. The business moved to 525 W. Beaver St. when the building was constructed in 1915-16. 

In 1943, it became Hillman-Pratt Funeral Home and then Hillman-Pratt & Walton from 2002 until it closed in 2019. 

A rendering of Northeast Beaver and Broad streets near LaVilla Place.
A rendering of Northeast Beaver and Broad streets near LaVilla Place.

Business pioneer Lawton Pratt also was a founder of the Florida Negro Embalmers and Morticians Association. 

It was designed and built by Joseph Haygood Blodgett (1858-1934), an African American self-taught architect and builder. It is one of the last standing commercial properties Blodgett designed in the city.

The address was changed from 527 W. Beaver St. to 525 W. Beaver St. in the 1970s.

It was in continuous use as a funeral home until it closed three years ago.

LaVilla Place is the former Pratt Funeral Home at 525 W. Beaver St.
LaVilla Place is the former Pratt Funeral Home at 525 W. Beaver St.

According to Adler, he and his Chicago-based business partner, Realtor Andrew Dorazio, plan to invest $3 million to $4 million in private capital to complete the project. 

Jacksonville-based Opus Group is the contractor and Jason Canning is the project architect.

A vacant parcel at Broad and Beaver streets that is part of the project site would be used for parking for three to five years. 

The review board staff recommends requiring Adler to submit design plans for the future development pad within three years of the board’s approval of the funeral home rehabilitation.