Hakimian proposes retail, restaurant buildings at 245 Riverside Ave. in Brooklyn

The owner of the Downtown “Gates of Riverside” office structure requests rezoning to add the new uses at the Northbank riverfront property.

The Gates of Riverside building at 245 Riverside Ave. sits between the FIS headquarters and the Winston Family YMCA along the St. Johns River in Brooklyn.
The Gates of Riverside building at 245 Riverside Ave. sits between the FIS headquarters and the Winston Family YMCA along the St. Johns River in Brooklyn.
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 Jacksonville-based Hakimian Holdings Inc. wants to add two buildings at its riverfront 245 Riverside Ave. property along the Riverwalk in the Brooklyn area of Downtown.

Hakimian has branded the property, which it bought almost a year ago, as Gates of Riverside.

A JEA service availability request June 15 says there are proposed additions of a 12,172-square-foot retail building and 6,045-square-foot, 100-seat restaurant.

Through Gates of Riverside LLC, Hakimian Holdings bought the property Sept. 26, 2022, for $25.15 million. Hakimian is led by President and CEO Ben Hakimian.

Hakimian said upon the purchase that he planned major building upgrades that include retail space facing north to Riverside Avenue and south to the Riverwalk.

Duval County Property Appraiser records show the five-story, 138,014-square-foot office structure was built in 2003.

Jacksonville-based Baker Design Build is the applicant and consultant for the JEA connections.

JEA issued an availability letter June 20 outlining the connections for potable water, sewer and electric service.

The owner of 245 Riverside Ave. wants to add a 12,172-square-foot retail building and a 6,045-square-foot, 100-seat restaurant to the property. To the west of the property is a parking garage. To the north is the Winston Family YMCA. The St. Johns River is to the east.

Public reviews

The project is beginning a series of public reviews.

Hakimian Holdings wants to rezone the 3.38-acre property from Planned Unit Development to Commercial Central Business District through Ordinance 2023-431.

The rezoning application says Gates of Riverside proposes the retail/service and restaurants addition to the Downtown Northbank property.

The application says the development will contribute to adding uses “within useful walking distances and contribute to an active street level facade” and “helping insure that the north bank riverfront includes a variety of environments, from passive Riverwalk enjoyment to active entertainment.”

Fred Atwill with Atwill LLC is the applicant on behalf of Gates of Riverside LLC.

Scheduled or posted meetings and hearings include:

• The Downtown Development Review Board is scheduled to review the project at its Aug. 10 meeting, scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Lynwood Roberts Room on the first floor of City Hall at 117 W. Duval St.

• The Jacksonville Planning Commission scheduled a public hearing at 1 p.m. Aug. 17 in the Don Davis Room on the first floor of City Hall.

• The Jacksonville City Council Land Use & Zoning Committee scheduled a public hearing on the ordinance for 5 p.m. Aug. 22 for the ordinance.

• Council scheduled a public hearing at 5 p.m. Sept. 6.

The Council and LUZ hearings are in Council chambers in City Hall.

The Gates of Riverside at 245 Riverside Ave. sits along the St. Johns River between the FIS headquarters and the Winston Family YMCA.
Photo by Monty Zickuhr

The property

Upon buying the signature Downtown Northbank riverfront office building, Ben Hakimian said he aimed for a long-term hold in what he considers one of the best markets in Jacksonville.

“This Class A building is in one of the hottest markets in Jacksonville in terms of work and live and play, and in one of the fastest growing areas,” he said when he bought the property from CTO Realty Growth Inc. of Daytona Beach.

Hakimian Holdings said the six-story structure was more than 90% occupied.

Hakimian says the building is 136,853 square feet. It comprises five floors of office space and a ground floor for restaurant, conference center and other uses.

Property records show the property includes a two-story parking garage. 

Hakimian said the 150,000-square-foot garage, which is in front and below the building, has 397 spaces.

The site brochure lists tenants as including Office Evolution; Meadows & Ohly LLC; Donahoo & McMenamy; Marwan Akel and Jonathan Akel; The Haskell Company; On Idea Inc.; Rail USA; Vesta Property Services; The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida; Saalfield Shad; DuBow/Shad Road Limited Partnership; Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP; Raymond James & Associates Inc.; Lewis, Longman & Walker; and Pediatric Eye Consultant.

Ben Hakimian said in September 2022 that he plans major building upgrades that include retail space facing north to Riverside Avenue and south to the Riverwalk.

The property is in the riverfront corridor that includes the new One Riverside apartments, commercial and park site; the Haskell headquarters; the Winston Family YMCA; and the Fidelity National Information Services Inc. headquarters.

With the pedestrian and community activity on the Riverwalk, “you want to be a part of that,” Hakimian said.

The St. Joe Co. initially built and anchored 245 Riverside Ave.
Photo by Monty Zickuhr

The other side of Riverside Avenue includes apartments,  the Brooklyn Station on Riverside retail center and the pending Brooklyn North apartment and commercial development.

The 245 Riverside building “is in the heart of it,” Hakimian said.

“The potential for growth in the area is better than any other market in Jacksonville,” he said.

Hakimian Holdings, a North Florida shopping center investment and management company, said in a statement Sept. 26, 2022, that not only is there strong demand for executive offices in that corridor, but also “exceptional demand and potential for high-end retail and professional events.”

Building history

The St. Joe Co. initially built and anchored the building it developed in 2003 and sold it in June 2007 for $23.7 million.

The property then sold for $18.5 million in March 2011 in the wake of the Great Recession and then sold for $25.1 million in July 2015 to a CTO-affiliated LLC.

St. Joe, a longtime Jacksonville-based conglomerate, relocated its headquarters to the Panhandle in 2010.

Hakimian said the Hakimian Holdings family investment company is not an office investor “until it comes to a signature building.”

Hakimian paid $11.4 million in February 2016 for the six-story, 114,221-square-foot Class A Liberty Center at 7077 Bonneval Road at northwest Interstate 95 and Butler Boulevard and moved its headquarters into a floor of the building.

He said 245 Riverside would be a long-term hold, meaning the family does not have plans to sell it. 

Some investors focus on buying, renovating and leasing properties and then selling them in five, 10 or 15 years.



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