Rise Properties intends to demolish and rebuild apartments, parking and retail near the Sports Complex.
Rise Properties LLC does not plan to incorporate the existing George Doro Fixture Co. building facade or structural elements into its design to redevelop the Downtown site as a mixed-use retail and apartments, according to a Downtown Investment Authority staff report.
DIA staff recommended final design approval for the eight-story, 247-unit, mixed-use building and seven-story parking garage in a report released May 7.
The project is at 102 A. Philip Randolph Blvd. in the Sports Complex.
The final design will return to the Downtown Development Review Board with minor updates at 2 p.m. May 14. The DDRB voted 3-2 in favor of the plan March 12.
Mapping Jax, a local historic preservation and Downtown revitalization group, brought 11 members to the March DDRB meeting to oppose the demolition.
They asked developers to merge the oldest Doro Fixture building into the proposed new construction instead of demolishing it.
The DIA staff report states that design elements of the existing building are proposed in Rise Properties plans as “a nod” to the Doro fixtures structure, including green window frames and painted white brick patterns in the sites proposed as urban open space.
The report says a proposed “feature wall” that will screen the parking garage incorporates materials and architectural features from the existing building.
Building not historic
“At the March DDRB meeting there was substantial discussion from both the Board and the public on preserving, if not in total then in parts, the Doro Fixtures building facade, particularly at the intersection of A. Philip Randolph and Adams Street,” the staff report states.
“While DDRB staff both understands and appreciates this sentiment, the question as to whether the building meets the standards for preservation, in part or in whole, has been answered by both the State Historic Preservation Officer and the Historic Preservation Section of the Planning and Development Department.
“The fact of the matter is that the property is not part of the Downtown National Historic District and was not deemed eligible individually for the national register by the State Historic Preservation Office,” the report says.
DIA staff consulted with Christian Popoli, city planner supervisor for the Community Planning Division, Historic Preservation Section, for its report.
The oldest building on the Doro property dates to 1914 and more structures were added through 1954.
Rise Properties applied to the city for permits to demolish properties in April. DDRB board members asked the developers to return for final review with the demolition permit in hand.
The DIA staff report states the developer pursued the demolition permit “in an effort to force the question” as to whether the Historic Preservation Commission would object to tearing down the structure.
Like other city boards, the Historic Preservation Commission has canceled meetings since April due to COVID-19.
The DDRB approved conceptual designs March 12 for Valdosta, Georgia-based Rise Properties to build a residential and retail development at the site.
COVID-19 caused DDRB to cancel its scheduled April 9 meeting due to social distancing measures. The May 14 meeting will be held on the Zoom videoconference system.
The developer said in March it has the property under contract. Matthew Marshall, vice president of development at RISE: A Real Estate Company, said then he anticipates Rise Properties will buy the property in May or June from Jacksonville real estate investors Farley and Paul Grainger.
He said Rise Properties hopes to break ground by the end of the summer and he expects a 22-month construction period, but that was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 1.63-acre property is next to Intuition Ale Works and Manifest Distilling.
Project renderings show an eight-story apartment building with the top floor focusing on retail space and resident amenities. Plans show 2,652 square feet of outdoor retail space with a rooftop terrace for customers.
Marshall said Dec. 13 that the rooftop space would be an indoor-outdoor bar and lounge.
The top floor also has a terrace and resident amenity space with a swimming pool.
Renderings show a seven-level parking garage and 4,875 square feet of ground-level retail, commercial and restaurant space. A second retail entrance has been added to the final design, at DDRB’s request.
The retail use at Forsyth Street and A. Philip Randolph Boulevard will face an outdoor area between the south side of the development and Intuition Ale Works.
Rise Properties called the space “The Alley” in initial design renderings, but that branding was removed in final proposal.
The development will be the first mixed-use residential project built in the Downtown Sports and Entertainment District.
Marshall said his company will seek federal and local tax incentives.
Rise Properties will apply for Opportunity Zone Funding and a city-backed Recapture Enhanced Value Grant, which rebates over 10 years the increase in ad valorem property taxes generated by the project.
The federal government designated Downtown Jacksonville’s Sports and Entertainment District an Opportunity Zone — a program created by the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
“The REV grant would be an important piece of this, making it financially feasible,” Marshall said.
The REV grant will need City Council approval.
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