$ 1.1 Billion Master Plan Proposed for Downtown Jacksonville | Jax Daily Record | Jacksonville Daily Record

Jacksonville developer Steve Atkins says he wants to lead an almost $ 1.1 billion redevelopment of mostly city-owned lots, including the former Jacksonville Landing, on a stretch of the riverfront in downtown Northbank.

At an invitation-only event on June 1 at the Florida Theater, Atkins unveiled its Riverfront Jacksonville redevelopment plan for approximately 25 acres along the St. Johns River.

Atkins, who is the executive director of SouthEast Development Group LLC, says he will try to convince the city and the Downtown Investment Authority to pay $ 536 million in a public-private partnership to move off 1.8 million square feet of space former Jacksonville Landing to build the former Duval County Courthouse and Old City Hall, renamed by DIA to The Ford on Bay in 2020.

A June 1 press release said the entire development will have a total of 2.3 million square feet of programmable space including outdoor facilities with a private investment of $ 559 million.

Steve Atkins, CEO of SouthEast Development Group LLC, presents plans for Riverfront Jacksonville on June 1st at the Florida Theater.

Atkins said in an interview on May 28 that the master plan proposed commercial office space; mixed-use apartment buildings and condominiums for sale; Sale; an “entertainment-oriented” hotel; a dining hall; and a convention / event center.

“We believe this location is the most important stretch of the riverfront in our downtown area,” said Atkins.

“It is essentially the face of our city. We believe that a master plan will bring it to its greatest and best benefit. “

The SouthEast site plan shows 15 hectares of public park and plaza on the riverbank, anchoring the private development and nine corridors with a view of the river from the north.

“Obviously there is a lot of focus and energy around parks and parking lots in downtown,” Atkins said.

“We have tried to be very aware of how important this is to the church, how this creates justice in all parts of our church, and what it does to give the public access to the river they really want. ”

Riverfront Jacksonville is said to include more than 755 new residential units and 208 hotel rooms, according to the developer.

Atkins proposes 10 structures in three-phase development with medium and tall towers for residential, commercial office and hotel space; a retail “paseo” square; a marina; and a 500,000-square-foot “technology-powered” convection center on The Ford on Bay property adjacent to the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.

Atkins said underground “parking shells” would provide 3,000 spaces to accommodate residents, customers and guests for the Hyatt and the new hotel.

According to Atkins, the underground car park should be resilient, hold back floods and groundwater in the event of a storm surge and pump out after the river flows back.

The developer says he’s been working on the master plan pitch for almost two years:

• Gensler architecture office; Nelson Worldwide Inc .; and SWA architects.

• Investment banks Goldman Sachs and Piper Sandler Companies.

• Civil engineer England-Thims & Miller Inc.

• Lobbyist The Southern Group.

Via SouthEast, Atkins completed a nearly $ 53 million restoration of the historic Barnett National Bank Building downtown in 2019, and plans to lay the foundation for a $ 70.4 million renovation of the Laura Street Trio on the this year after years of delays on the other side of the street.

Atkins said the investment led him to create a team to lead a market and design study for the nearby riverside.

The marina would include a two-story restaurant, retail and entertainment space.

“We began to understand that in what was essentially a $ 120 million investment two blocks from the riverbank, we had to be very careful about what was happening on the water,” said Atkins.

City buy-in

Atkins said DIA staff and Mayor Lenny Curry’s administration saw all of SouthEast’s master plan work on May 28.

It’s unclear whether city officials are ready to accept Atkins ‘request for approximately $ 500 million in taxpayers’ money.

Atkins said Goldman Sachs and Piper Sandler have jointly committed to upfront the estimated $ 1.1 billion if the city approves an incentive package to repay their stake over time.

“So they (Goldman and Piper) see the need for a holistic approach,” said Atkins.

“The city has a variety of tools to make public investments. We’re not going to tell the city how to fund this, but what we’re doing is providing support, but they might choose to (do that). “

With all but 2.5 acres in public ownership, Atkins would also have to convince city officials to amend or incorporate tax-funded development plans that operate on the riverside.

The DIA reached an agreement with New York City-based developer Spandrel Development Partners LLC in February 2020 on a $ 136 million mixed-use retail and multi-family facility at The Ford on Bay.

Atkins said Hyatt representatives support SouthEast’s master plan.

Should the city join SouthEast’s plan, Atkins said he would start negotiations with Hyatt to get its parking lot package for redevelopment.

Hyatt’s parent company Westmont Hospitality Group Inc. has a contractual right of first refusal on The Ford on Bay Lot 220 E. Bay St. with the city in 1998. It was involved in at least one meeting or event proposal on the property center.

It’s an issue DIA board members identified in February 2020 that could slow progress in redeveloping the site as an apartment building.

Westmont Hospitality was inducted into a development team led by Jacobs Engineering Group and KBJ Architects that tried twice to submit proposals to build a $ 550 million convention center next door on Bay Street.

A: Public green space with a 12 hectare park. B: A mixed-use building covering 120,000 square meters. C: A 14 story condominium. D: 208-room hotel. E: Commercial office space.

The Curry administration turned down one proposal after scoring the highest score on a 2018 DIA proposal submission request, while disregarding the other unsolicited proposal from July.

DIA officials have spoken little publicly about negotiations with Spandrel since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020, and the final development agreement has not been presented to the DIA.

The city also awarded nearly $ 375,000 in grants to three national companies in March for a competition to design a 4.5-acre public park on the former landing site, which is expected to be selected in October.

The DIA and the city have renamed the Riverfront Plaza location. Lori Boyer, CEO of DIA, said a plan to bring the remaining land to private development market after the park is built.

Atkins said the SouthEast team recognized the park competition but made no commitment to keep the design selected by the DIA should the city agree to work with it.

“I hope some of the best (park) ideas are things that we can work with people on this plan,” said Atkins.

Q: Commercial office space. G: Exhibition, entertainment and technology center. H: residential tower with 27 floors and 410 units. I: Marina, restaurant, retail and entertainment place.

Next Steps

An Atkins spokesman said SouthEast said in an email dated May 30th the company plans to formally reach out to the DIA in July with a development proposal.

If the city backs this, Atkins said there would be at least 12 to 16 months of planning and permits before work on the site’s infrastructure could begin.

In two years he wants to lay the foundation stone with a development period of five to six years.

“I don’t look for short-term opportunities and turn things around from time to time. I’m looking at what the long-term goals are, ”said Atkins.

“The real truth about developers is that they are only as successful as the teams they build and the people they surround themselves with.”

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