Catch up on this month’s news in Downtown developments:
The Jacksonville Landing released new development plans for its property this month. The plans call for a complete demolition and constructing two new multi-story, mixed-use structures that would include about 320 apartments (potentially 500+ residents); retail space for restaurants, coffee shops and nightlife venues; and possibly a hotel. Laura Street would extend to the river along with a new street added along the riverfront. The Main Street Bridge ramp would be removed, and the riverbank would become public green space, four times the green space currently available. The cost for the buildings is an estimated $55-$75 million, and Landing owner Toney Sleiman is asking the City to commit $11.8 million for the public space improvements. The Landing plans to submit an economic development agreement to the City in November. The project, which will take 18-24 months to complete, would likely not move forward without the City’s commitment. A public meeting for input on the plans is in the works, date to be determined.
- In conjunction with the proposed Landing plans, the Florida Department of Transportation invites you to attend a public hearing to discuss the proposed closure of the on-ramp from Independent Drive to the Main Street Bridge. The proposed ramp closure is being requested by the City of Jacksonville, consistent with their plans for the redevelopment of the Jacksonville Landing. The hearing will take place Thursday, Sept. 25, at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront hotel. The open house portion is 4:30-6:30 p.m., with the overview and public comment period beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Choate Construction Co., owners and original contractors of the long-abandoned Berkman II condominium tower, recently met with potential developer Cocke Finkelstein Inc. and City economic development officials to discuss possibilities for the site. Ideas included apartments, retail space and workforce housing. City incentives are expected to be part of the project if it moves forward.
- Design work on JTA’s Jacksonville Transportation Center is expected to begin early next year, with construction to begin in 2016 on a four-year completion timeline. This transportation hub will be built adjacent to the Prime Osborn Convention Center and connect many forms of the area’s public transportation – Greyhound, bus rapid transit, intercity bus, the Skyway, Amtrak, Park-and-Ride and more will all converge here.
- JEA plans to issue a new Request for Proposals for the purchase and development of its 30-acre riverfront site on the Southbank. JTA is expected to vote this week on whether to provide 1.74 acres, including a parcel adjacent to the Kings Avenue Garage for the project, as part of ongoing land swap negotiations between the JTA, the School Board, JEA and the City. In return, JTA would receive 1.02 acres from a combination of properties owned by the School Board, JEA and City. According to a resolution presented by JTA staff, the site could accommodate up to 3,500 new jobs as part of a proposed mixed-use development. In addition, the City is applying for a $10 million Economic Development Transportation Fund grant – part of the project would be to build a four-lane access road to connect Prudential Drive with Kings Avenue.
The Parador Parking Garage project at the corner of Bay and Hogan streets has experienced a delay in construction due to diesel fuel storage tanks found buried at the site. The EPA would like the tanks, thought to be from the early 1900s, removed as well as some of the soil before construction on the 600-space, multilevel parking facility can resume.
- Burrito Gallery will be another tenant of Brooklyn Station on Riverside in a building not yet under construction that will also house Zoes Kitchen. The Downtown eatery plans a two-story location with rooftop dining. In addition, Burger Fi was also announced as another tenant. It’s planned to occupy a portion of the structure already being built on Riverside Avenue. The Fresh Market anchor of Brooklyn Station is scheduled to open Sept. 24 with its building lettering now in place, and The Corner Bakery is expected to open by the end of the year.
- The City began making improvements to the Water Street Garage. Currently, pedestrian improvements that include a covered pedestrian walkway and sidewalk on the Bay Street frontage are underway. Other improvements are forthcoming will include waterproofing of the roof deck and public art elements.
Jimmy John’s signed a lease this month to open a new location in the corner space of the Elks Building at Adams and Laura streets. The eatery plans to opens this 1,400-square-foot location in January.
- The Friends of Hemming Park office will be located in the Main Library’s street-level space.
- The Jacksonville Armada NASL has opened an office in the Well Fargo Center. It was announced earlier this summer that the team will play its first three seasons at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, which will be converted into a temporary soccer pitch for the games.