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Jmac823200

Huge Open Lot on Southbank

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I was recently look at the Southbank from the Northbank from atop the Hyatt. I was wondering about the huge open lot between the school board building and I believe Bishop Kenny. Who actually owns this land? Are there any future plans for development on this property. If you do a google maps search you'll see exactly what I'm talking about. This lot is huge. From the picture on google maps it looks as if the site is currently under construction. When I saw this site it was covered with grass (I'm thinking this had something to do with the Super Bowl). If anyone has any information on this plot of land please let me know.

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I believe that is the old JEA southbank generating station. its been purchased already and is in the very early design stages for developemnt. If it is the JEA land you are looking at, I know Council Women jenkins wants to impose a hight limit of sorts there. I havent seen or heard of any reanderings for that land, but would expect something within a year or so... ( purely my own opinion, goes no farther than that)

I could be wrong on my info, but lake will correct me if i am ;)

Cheers

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Why in the world would she try and impose a height restriction for this area. If you look at this land you'll immediately imagine a huge imposing structure. I don't think a huge structure will be built here because it'll throw the Southbank "off balance". If anyone gets a chance look at this plot of land from anywhere downtown. If you don't immediately visualize a large structure here I'd be surprised...

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This 25 acre site (the former site of JEA's Southside Generation Station) was recently purchased for $40.6 million by Case Poneroy & Co. Inc. Case has some good experience with developing urban projects. In town, they are currently building 1661 Riverside in Five Points and their big project right now is Riverside on the James, in downtown Richmond, Va. Under the name "Cowford Riverfront", Case plans to transform the land into a dense mixed-use urban village that will include condos, apartments, shopping, restaurants and an extension of the Southbank riverwalk. Most likely, this project will have well over 1,000 units. Case plans to announce their plans sometime this winter.

As far as Suzanne Jenkins' comments goes, I think she's clearly off her rocker and attempting to overstep her boundaries. From an article back in May, Case doesn't plan any buildings over 8 stories tall, but Jenkins would like to see a height limit of 2 or 3 story buildings. Since this is downtown and the old plant was well over 3 stories, I'm sure most will just end up writing her comments off as hot air.

For more into, here are links to archive articles about the site and Case's plans:

http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor..._18796601.shtml

http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor..._18863554.shtml

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Just to elaborate, a little more on the hieght issue, the entire parcel of land is zoned RHD-A (Residential High Density). According to the zoning code, there is a maximum height of 35 feet for buildings with 35ft or smaller in lot width. However, height is unlimited where all required yards are increased by one foot, for each three feet of building height or fraction thereof in excess of 35 feet.

In layman's terms, the developers, according to the current zoning, can build to whatever height they feel fit, as long as the buildings are stepped back in height, and there's not a thing Jenkins or anybody else can do about it. :D

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There's a small neighborhood of several dozen homes sandwiched between the JEA site and Bishop Kinney. These people are totally cut off from downtown, and consider themselves a suburban neighborhood. They also have a history of considerable political power. They singlehandedly prevented the city from building an amphitheater in Metro park, because of noise concerns.

I've had personal conversations with Jenkins (though not on this specific subject) and it's clear that she generally supports high-density urban development. Indeed, she's been one of the driving forces behind many of our downtown revitalization policies. So her statements about the JEA site are particularly confusing. I'm guessing people in that neighborhood are important donors to her campaigns.

My prediction: Case will develop a masterplan with 2-3 story buildings on the Eastern edge of the site, next to the neighborhood. The 8 story buidlings they mention will be toward the Western 3/4 of the site - and no one will mount any serious complaints.

My concern isn't with Jenkin's objections (since her statements - taken literally - would contradict the very downtown zoning overlay she helped create!). Rather, I am most dissapointed that Case has only mentioned mid-rise buildings. One would have thought that a skyscraper or two would have been reasonable, especially with the land prices they paid.

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Considering what they paid for 25 acres, the acreage of public parks that have to be included and the building heights mentioned, I assume this development will most likely be one of the most urban/pedestrian oriented projets to come through Jax. If a dense low-rise scene like Boston's Back Bay or Washinton's Dupont Circle or Adams Morgan can be built, then I'm all for it.

Anyway, I agree with the statement that a highrise (or 2 or 3), on the Westside wouldn't hurt anyone. After all, if San Marco Riverwalk is putting up 35 story towers next door, its a pretty BIG step to drop down to 8.

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Hasn't been announced. Initial news of the land sale was back in late May. An article about a week later mentioned that they would take at least 7 months to develop plans, before publically announcing them. I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn last night, but imo, they're still at least 18 months away from breaking ground considering they'll have to apply for a PUD (to be allow for mix of uses) and start pre-sells before turning any dirt.

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