Dozens of projects were in the pipeline for Northeast Florida when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March, including Southbank Urban Residences next to the OneCall building. Here’s a look at where it and 11 other developments stand now.
Contract expired: Exchange at Jacksonville
While the 1,063-acre Southeast Quadrant at Butler Boulevard and Interstate 295 still is planned for development, the proposed 67-acre Exchange at Jacksonville mixed-use retail project no longer is under contract.
Atlanta-based developer Jeff Fuqua introduced the project in March 2019 with a public presentation of a promotional video, but has not responded to calls, texts or emails seeking comment about the status.
The Exchange was designed with a food hall, grocery store, theater, apartments, hotels and office space.
A.C. “Chip” Skinner III said most of the single-family residential property in the Southeast Quadrant is under contract and is expected to close before year-end, but that the Fuqua project “has been delayed indefinitely.” He said the Fuqua contract expired.
Karen Brune Mathis
Plans in review: St. Johns Town Center Phase IV
Landlord Simon Property Group hasn’t announced a fourth phase of St. Johns Town Center, although plans were filed and two of the tenants are on board.
Simon announced in February that RH Jacksonville, The Gallery at St. Johns Town Center, would open late this year, although the timing has changed. The site is cleared and the city is reviewing a foundation permit.
A South Carolina developer also confirmed it intends to bring an AC by Marriott hotel to the center, but did not have a timeline.
Both projects, along with a theater and more retail space, are designed in the fourth phase, although COVID-19 has stalled or ended some proposed commercial developments in Northeast Florida.
Karen Brune Mathis
Work progressing: East San Marco shopping center
East San Marco is one permit closer to developing at Hendricks Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard, but there’s no firm timeline for the proposed Publix Super Markets Inc.-anchored shopping center.
“East San Marco is still progressing as we work on our civil permits and polishing up our architectural designs,” said spokesman Eric Davidson with developer Regency Centers Corp. “We don’t have a specific start date yet, but we hope to update as we get through these next steps.”
The St. Johns River Water Management District issued a stormwater management permit June 16.
East San Marco underwent development changes during its 20 years in the making.
Davidson said in May COVID-19 slowed progress but Regency hoped to file for development permits this year.
Karen Brune Mathis
City, Jaguars not confirming: Lot J and Shipyards adjacent to TIAA Bank Field
It’s unclear if COVID-19 has impacted negotiations between developers and City Hall on Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s proposed $500 million Lot J project or planning of the $2.5 billion Shipyards proposal near TIAA Bank Field.
The Jaguars declined to comment Aug. 4, and emails to the city requesting the status of a proposed $233.3 million tentative incentives deal announced in July 2019 was not returned.
Baltimore, Maryland-based The Cordish Companies and Jaguars subsidiary Gecko Investments LLC are equal partners in the development project operating as Jacksonville I-C Parcel One Holding Company LLC.
Cordish Chief Operating Officer Zed Smith said March 2, just before the unexpected pandemic shutdowns, a final agreement could be ready for Downtown Investment Authority and City Council consideration within 60 days. That did not happen.
The proposed Lot J Phase I comprises the Live! Arena entertainment venue, a 200-unit boutique hotel and 700 residential units. Smith’s presentation indicated 400 mid-rise units and 300 high-rise units.
Still interested: The Ford on Bay apartment and retail development
New York-based Spandrel Development Partners LLC wants more time to start construction at The Ford on Bay after it completes negotiations with the Downtown Investment Authority.
DIA CEO Lori Boyer said Aug. 3 that Spandrel is concerned about market conditions due to COVID-19 and the rental market but still is “very much interested in doing the project.”
The DIA board unanimously approved Spandrel’s $136 million bid in February for a two-phase project with 520 apartments and up to 74,000 square feet of retail space at 220 and 330 E. Bay St. Downtown.
Spandrel was to start construction on Phase 1 within 120 days after closing on the property, according to DIA’s Oct. 21 notice of disposition for the site.
Boyer said in an Aug. 4 email that the closing date was not defined in the notice and is dependent on approvals from the Downtown Development Review Board and closing on a development loan.
Grant approved: Ambassador Hotel
Augustine Development Group plans to redevelop the former Ambassador Hotel Downtown into a 127-room La Quinta Inn, but without the initially planned apartments and parking garage, according to City Council legislation.
In May, Council approved a request to remove a proposed 200-unit apartment building and parking garage, along with a $4.9 million Recaptured Enhanced Value grant, from the agreement.
It still is estimated to cost $15 million to redevelop the property. A $1.5 Historic Preservation Trust Fund grant remains in effect.
The six-story, 60,000-square-foot building was constructed in 1922.
Augustine Development Group President Bryan Greiner could not be reached for comment.
Under construction: Southbank Urban Residences
The Southbank Urban Residences at 959 Prudential Drive carries on with construction since beginning in March.
Geismar, Louisiana-based Ventures Development LLC began the development process in 2017 for a 13-story, 300-unit apartment development. Legal complications with an adjacent property owner led to the reduction in scale in 2018.
The eight-story, 185-unit, 263,519-square-foot apartment building is a three-story concrete pedestal, with a parking garage, topped by a five-story wood-frame structure.
Jacksonville-based general contractor Summit Contracting Group Inc. is on track for a spring 2022 completion.
All quiet: Kings Avenue Station
Kings Avenue Station, a development proposed on the Downtown Southbank, is being affected by the nationwide business shutdown because of the pandemic.
“Things are very quiet due to COVID,” said Mike Balanky, president and CEO of developer Chase Properties.
The project comprises a mixed-use Class A office tower, from six to 40 stories and up to 1 million square feet depending on the needs of an anchor tenant. Ground-floor retail is part of the design.
The site at 1201 Kings Ave. is near the Kings Avenue parking garage and the Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites hotels.
Plan halted: First Baptist Church property sale, welcome center
First Baptist Church announced Aug. 2 it will not pursue a plan to sell a majority of its Downtown campus and consolidate to The Hobson Block on West Church Street as offers dwindled to buy its 11.29-acre property amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
First Baptist Senior Pastor Heath Lambert told the congregation that six to eight “large buyers” that were interested in the property ended communication after the onset of the pandemic in March.
The decision also halts the church’s plan to demolish a 1927-era building at 125 W. Church St. to construct a new welcome center
Recent offers included smaller sections of the property and were about 25% of the value brokers advised First Baptist to accept, Lambert said.
Awaiting permits: Independent Life Building
Augustine Development Group awaits interior demolition and adaptive reuse construction permits totaling $19 million to begin work on redeveloping the Independent Life Building.
Augustine Development, led by Bryan Greiner, plans to renovate the 18-story, 165,000-square-foot building at 233 W. Duval St. to include a 21,000-square-foot grocery store, 140 market-rate apartments and a rooftop terrace, pool and lounge.
Augustine Development Group agreed to a Downtown Investment Authority term sheet requiring construction to begin within six months of City Council approving the proposal for a $3 million Historic Preservation Trust Fund grant. That approval is pending.
Schedule awaits review: The District on the Downtown Southbank
The District developers must show the Downtown Investment Authority that COVID-19 continues to hold back construction for a force majeure clause in the project’s city incentives deal to continue.
DIA CEO Lori Boyer said Aug. 3 she expects to meet with The District co-owner Michael Munz next week to determine if the project’s performance schedule suspension that took effect March 13 still is valid.
The proposed $600 million, 32-acre District comprises residential, retail, hotel and office space on the Downtown Southbank.
Munz and Peter Rummell control the project’s development company, Elements Development of Jacksonville LLC.
The DIA approved a Recaptured Enhanced Value grant in April 2018 of up to $56 million. The city’s portion of infrastructure improvements is a separate $23 million project.
Negotiations restarted: Laura Street Trio
Negotiations have restarted to redevelop The Laura Trio Downtown at Forsyth and Laura streets.
City Council in 2017 approved $9.8 million in incentives for SouthEast Development Group of Jacksonville and The Molasky Cos. to redevelop The Barnett and for the Trio.
The deal was amended in September to partially remove SouthEast and Molasky from the agreement when VyStar Credit Union agreed to build a parking garage adjacent to the historic buildings along Laura Street.
SouthEast Managing Director Steve Atkins, owner of The Laura Trio, did not respond to requests for comment.
“We have been in ongoing and recent conversations with representatives of several parties involved in the project who believe they will be moving forward in the near future. No amendment to the Trio portion of the agreement has been processed to date,” said Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer in an email.
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