City Council committees will vote Nov 15-16 on nearly $32 million in incentives for the project at the former T-U site in Brooklyn.
The Downtown Development Review Board is advancing plans for an Atlanta-based developer’s estimated $182.2 million residential/retail replacement of the former Florida Times-Union building in Brooklyn.
The board, which reviews Downtown plans for zoning code compliance and design guidelines, met Nov. 10 and unanimously approved the final site plan for the multiphase development and the conceptual design for the 270-unit mixed-use apartments in phase one.
Developer Fuqua Development LLC wants to demolish the T-U building and construct the One Riverside residential and retail project on about 13.42 acres at 1 Riverside Ave. along the St. Johns River.
Fuqua partnered with TriBridge Residential to develop the apartments.
The plan also would restore McCoys Creek and add a public park that will be owned and maintained by the city. The park property is on the east side of the property.
City Council committees are expected to take their first votes Nov. 15-16 on a $31.59 million incentives package for the development.
The Downtown Investment Authority approved the deal, which comprises a $28,419,169 property tax refund and $3,174,971 in completion grants and fee credits, in September.
Fuqua plans to buy the property from the Morris family, based in Augusta, Georgia.
Along with apartments, the project’s first phase has more than 45,000 square feet of retail space, including a grocery store, a seven-level parking garage with 502 spaces and additional surface parking.
The second phase comprises two mixed-use buildings along the restored creek with about 15,000 square feet of retail space; a riverfront restaurant; a multifamily residential building with 125 units; and parking. That phase would not break ground until at least 2025.
The design review board voted 8-0 to approve the master site plan. The final version shows a pedestrian plaza added at the end of May Street.
In October, board members said it was a problem that the street appeared to “dead end” before the Riverwalk.
The latest site plan also identifies a pedestrian bridge to allow people access from the development over McCoys Creek to the public park that board members said was missing from the preliminary plan.
Cyndy Trimmer, a partner attorney with Driver, McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow, represents the Fuqua/TriBridge developer team on the project.
Despite the DDRB’s previous concerns, Trimmer said the developer could not reduce the amount of surface parking along Leila Street inside the development to support the grocer. Leila Street crosses Riverside Avenue and is one of two access roads into the site.
Instead, the plans include a pedestrian area with space for public art that Trimmer says will make entering the site a “better experience” for pedestrians.
“We’ve got the challenge of implementing those best urban design practices with what the market demand is,” Trimmer said.
The board as a whole addressed walkability inside the development.
It listed four conditions in exchange for approving the site plan: 10-foot sidewalks on the west side of Leila Street; a 12-foot sidewalk leading from the Downtown Riverwalk to the park; 10 parking spaces designated for the park; and a traffic calming plan for the Leila Street crosswalk at Riverside Avenue.
Prosser is the project engineer.
The developers will have to bring the first-phase residential design back to the DDRB for final review. The board will analyze and approve the first-phase retail and second-phase development designs as separate projects.
At the meeting, the board praised the architecture of the multifamily units.
Bill Schilling and Craig Davisson told TriBridge and architect Dwell Design Studio that they would like to see more color and emphasis in the parking garage screening before final review.
“Color is like fashion. It’s here today, gone tomorrow,” Davisson said. “I would just stay away from stuff that’s trendy.”
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