Vertical construction expected to start soon at RiversEdge on the Southbank

Toll Brothers closed recently on a $4.095 million sale of property in the development.

  • By Ric Anderson
  • | 2:32 p.m. April 15, 2024
  • | 4 Free Articles Remaining!
Toll Brothers plans to build town houses at RiversEdge: Life on the St. Johns on the Downtown Southbank.
Toll Brothers plans to build town houses at RiversEdge: Life on the St. Johns on the Downtown Southbank.
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Vertical construction is expected to begin soon at the RiversEdge: Life on the St. Johns development on the Downtown Southbank after a builder closed a deal on land where it plans to build several dozen town houses.

Toll Southeast LP Co. Inc., an arm of Pennsylvania-based Toll Brothers construction, paid $4.095 million for a 2.76-acre parcel within the 32.21-acre RiversEdge property, according to Duval County records. 

The seller was Elements Development of Jacksonville LLC, which is controlled by RiversEdge site developer Preston Hollow Community Capital LLC of Dallas.

Preston Hollow is not serving as RiversEdge’s vertical developer, but rather is marketing individual property parcels to developers. 

Lori Boyer, CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority, told members of the DIA Finance and Budget Committee on April 12 that the deal had closed and that Toll Brothers was nearing the start of vertical construction. 

That step has been years in the making at the RiversEdge property, once called The District and before that “Healthy Town.”

RiversEdge: Life on the St. Johns will sit on the Southbank site of the former JEA Southside Generating Station that was demolished more than 20 years ago.
Preston Hollow Community Capital

JEA operated the Southside Generating Station on the property from 1947 to 2001, and spent upward of $28 million decommissioning the facility and doing environmental cleanup on soil and groundwater contamination stemming from its operation as a fuel oil and natural gas-fired electric generating station. 

Elements Development submitted the winning bid on the property to JEA in 2015 and closed on the site nearly four years later. 

Toll Brothers is seeking building permits for its model property, which comprises three buildings at 2006, 2008 and 2010 Prudential Drive. A representative of the company said the builder hoped to launch vertical construction in early May. 

The city’s online app for permitting indicates that the permit applications have been sent back to the developer for corrections. 

The Toll Brothers town houses are an element of a proposed mixed-use development that includes retail and restaurants, office space, a hotel, a public marina and new riverfront park space to the property east of the Duval County Public Schools headquarters.

Elements incentives

In May 2023, the DIA board voted on an amendment to incentives that had been granted to Elements in 2018. 

The updated agreement raised the property tax incentive payout for the project, raising the cap for the Recapture Enhanced Value Grant tax refund to $97.98 million from the $56 million approved by the DIA and City Council in 2018. Staff cited increased construction costs as the basis for the amendment, saying the project’s capital investment had risen to $693.39 million from an estimated $400 million to $500 million in 2022. 

With the increase in the REV grant cap, the city boosted its overall incentives for the project to $123.98 million from the $82 million approved by the Council in 2018.

A map of the RiversEdge: Life on the St. Johns project area.The Toll Brothers town houses are planned for the southeast area of the site along Prudential Drive.

Under the May 2023 amendment, Preston Hollow will recoup a 75% refund on the increased property value of the site over 20 years. The DIA calculated that the development would generate $130.694 million in ad valorem property taxes from 2025 to 2044.

The DIA calculated that the project would generate $130.694 million in ad valorem property taxes from 2025 to 2044, of which $97.98 million would be refunded. 

The amendment also extended the Preston Hollow-controlled Community Development District’s deadline to complete work on site infrastructure to Dec. 31, 2025, from April 5, 2025.

City Council approved the amendment in October 2023. 

The city and the Community Development District are dividing infrastructure work, with the CDD covering roadways to RiversEdge private development parcels, water, stormwater, sanitary sewers and underground electrical service.

Contractors working on projects funded by the city and DIA’s Southbank Community Redevelopment Area took on river bulkheads, parks and street connections to the parks inside RiversEdge.

In November 2023, Preston Hollow announced that it planned to complete four public parks that are part of the project by the end of 2024. 

A rendering of RiversEdge: Life on the St. Johns is show on the community's Facebook page.



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