The restoration of Laura Street in downtown Jacksonville received a pivotal blessing from the National Park Service that cleared a hurdle on a proposed $ 24.7 million economic development deal due to be voted on by the city council this summer.
Lori Boyer, CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority, said the city’s lawyers are drafting the economic development deal on Friday and it could be before the mayor’s budget review committee in two weeks, unless long negotiations with the developer’s lawyers over the language.
Laws could then be tabled by the end of June, setting the stage for a city council summer vote that will either end or extend the years of failed attempts to revive what has been called the most historic corner of Jacksonville.
Redevelopment of the Laura Street Trio could need $ 24.7 million from Jacksonville taxpayers
The valet service completed its positive rating this Thursday, said developer Steve Atkins.
“We really want to give these buildings their shine back,” said Atkins. “Now that we have this approval, we are very confident that this will come through the Council very soon and that we can start immediately afterwards.”
Before:The redevelopment of the Laura Street Trio is praised for the mixture of modern and historical
New renderings:published for the new development of the Laura Street Trio
The Downtown Investment Authority sponsored a financial incentive package of $ 24.7 million for the redevelopment on March 17. The Downtown Development Review Board also conceptually supported the plan to convert the three historic buildings into a hotel complex with restaurants and shops at street level.
But the Southeast Development Group, which owns the property, needed assistance from the National Park Service before going to the Downtown Review Board for final approval of the plan.
Constructed between 1902 and 1912, the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
The three buildings have stood empty in the heart of downtown Jacksonville for decades.
The SouthEast Development Group plans a $ 70 million renovation of the trio and the construction of a new eight-story building that would combine to create a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel with restaurants, a bodega, and other retail space.
Atkins, who is the director and managing director of SouthEast, said the plan uses a contemporary design for the new building so that the historical character of the trio continues to stand out.
“That’s what the valet want,” he says. “They like to see that because it celebrates the historic building in a certain way.”