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The Florida Times-Union

August 23, 2004

Plans filed for $500 million Southbank project

By M.C. MOEWE

The Times-Union

A developer has filed preliminary plans for a $500 million project that would erect six buildings, including three 35-story towers adding 1,500 residential units to Jacksonville's Southbank, a public park, marina and a grocery.

The 17-acre property at Riverplace Blvd. and Prudential Drive encompasses the site of the Radisson Riverwalk Hotel and the former Crawdaddy's restaurant.

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Workers removed wooden beams and decorations in June from the former Crawdaddy's restaurant that closed in early 2002. JOHN PEMBERTON/The Times-Union --------------------------------------------------

"This is really a city within a city," said Steve Pardo, a principal owner in Riverwalk Hotels LLC, the developer. "It will provide all the public and private amenities for those who will live there residentially."

If approved in several layers of city review, four of the buildings will go up before the Radisson Riverwalk Hotel at 1515 Prudential Drive would be considered for demolition, Pardo said.

"The existing hotel would not be taken down for some time," he said adding that could be five to six years down the road.

Crawdaddy's is being demolished. For more on this story turn to Tuesday's Times-Union.

This story can be found on Jacksonville.com at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor..._radisson.shtml.

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Yeah, that's the ticket! If you've read your forums thoroughly, you'll see all the "subtle" hints that I've laid, suggesting this very idea. I hope that they will eventually tear down the Radisson and build a nicer, more urban-friendly hotel. But I can't wait to see all that surface parking disappear! I'm a little concerned for the Northbank, though. Most of the new projects are being built across the river, leaving the Northbank behind. But all in all, this will be a good project...if it gets approved.

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Wow. We all knew there were rumors of Radisson redeveloping the site, but I don't think many imagined they would attempt to squeeze 1,500 residential units there. This will bridge the gap between the Haskell development and the rest of the Southbank. Hopefully, 1,500 more residential units added to what's already proposed will result in more affordable housing units in downtown.

I'll be looking forward to getting up early to read more about this. Hopefully they'll provide us with a rendering.

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Yeah, that's the ticket! If you've read your forums thoroughly, you'll see all the "subtle" hints that I've laid, suggesting this very idea. I hope that they will eventually tear down the Radisson and build a nicer, more urban-friendly hotel. But I can't wait to see all that surface parking disappear! I'm a little concerned for the Northbank, though. Most of the new projects are being built across the river, leaving the Northbank behind. But all in all, this will be a good project...if it gets approved.

my friend, I think that it is safe to say that the northbank will follow soon. The southbank is just the starting link.

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from the Jax Business Journal

Developer plans $500 million Southbank project

Jacksonville's Southbank could gain 1,500 residential units if a Miami-based developer gets approval for a $500 million mixed-use project on riverfront land surrounding the Radisson Riverwalk Hotel.

In preliminary plans filed with the city's Planning and Development Department, Miami-based Riverwalk Hotels LLC has proposed a five-tower complex on 16 acres at the intersection of Riverplace Boulevard and Prudential Drive.

In addition to the 35-to-40-story towers, the development, called San Marco Riverwalk, would include 90,000 square feet of retail space, a 200-room hotel, a 300-slip marina and a 28,000-square-foot grocery store. The plans also call for a two-acre riverfront public park.

"This is something we've been working on for some time, and what we are trying to achieve is to take our property, which we consider to be the anchor to the development on this side of the river, and put together a multifaceted project that has residential, commercial, retail and hospitality," said Steve Pardo, a principal with Riverwalk Hotels.

Pardo's company has owned the Radisson Riverwalk and its surrounding 14 acres, including Crawdaddy's restaurant, since April 2001. That restaurant is now being demolished, but a new restaurant could take its place, Pardo said.

The Radisson, whose rooms Pardo's company has spent millions refurbishing, will stay and see upgrades to its meeting spaces and common areas.

"We feel that a very important part of this plan is to take the existing hotel and upgrade it to make it a four-star property," said Pardo. "The fully-renovated hotel with 320 rooms combined with a 200-room new hotel will have a meeting space of over 35,000 square feet. It will provide additional hospitality space for the city to attract conventions."

Although the hotel will stay for now, Pardo said the final two towers, if built, would replace the hotel in the future.

Though still early in the planning process, Pardo said the first phase of the development, which would include the hotel upgrades and the new hotel, could be completed in fall 2005.

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Once again this sounds pretty complex, dense & impressive. Its also good to see that they almost immediately plan to begin working on the 200 room hotel tower, since the article says it could be complete by the end of 2005. I see they're also going after a Publix, since 28,000sf is the exact size of their urban prototype store.

If all these projects are built as planned the Southbank Riverwalk will definately become the social place to be. I also wonder will the developers ask for incentives.

BTW, is there any chance somebody comes along and redevelops the parking lot in front of the Hilton?

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The Florida Times-Union

August 24, 2004

Huge development in Southbank's plans

By M.C. MOEWE

The Times-Union

A $500 million project proposed for Jacksonville's Southbank calls for the construction of six buildings -- including three 35-story towers -- bringing 1,500 residential units, a public riverfront park, retail shops and a 28,000-square-foot grocery store, the developer said.

"This is really a city within a city," said Steve Pardo, a principal owner in Riverwalk Hotels, LLC, who said he submitted his project plans for San Marco Riverwalk for city approval Monday. "It will provide all the public and private amenities for those who live there residentially."

Plans call for the eventual demolition of the Radisson Riverwalk Hotel, the Chart House restaurant and about 2,000 square feet of office buildings standing on the 17-acre site at Riverplace Boulevard and Prudential Drive. "We intend to operate the hotel through 2010 and beyond depending on market conditions," Pardo said adding he plans to do a multimillion-dollar renovation to the 21-year-old hotel.

The office buildings will be torn down after the Super Bowl in February, Pardo said. His company is negotiating with the 20-year-old Chart House to open in one of three planned restaurant sites.

It takes an average of 115 days for the approval process. Pardo said he is tentatively scheduled to submit his plans to the city's Design Review Committee on Sept. 30. The project's three construction phases are expected to take seven to 10 years to complete.

The Miami-based company plans to submit a proposal that will ask the city for an as yet-undetermined amount of incentives for the public-accessible area of the development, Pardo said. Those areas include a park, 45,000 square feet in retail shops, the three restaurants, the hotel and a marina that can accommodate up to 300 boats.

Jill Leavy, with the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission, said her office has not received that proposal.

Although his company will go ahead with the residential development regardless, the city support is crucial for the public accessible areas, Pardo said. "In order to have the public amenities such as the park and grocery store and the retail, we will need to have the support of the city," he said.

If all goes smoothly, his company will begin construction in spring 2005 on a nine-story hotel with 200 rooms and 6,000 square feet of meeting space, Pardo said. "We have not finalized the franchise but it will be a four-star hotel," he said.

The boutique-style grocery store will be located on the ground floor of the 28-story tower in 2007 or 2008, he said.

Construction on the first of three 35-story condominium towers would begin January 2006, Pardo said.

"The Southbank is going to change," said Suzanne Jenkins, the city councilwoman whose district includes the area. "Now it's very suburban. Everything is going to go up. It's going to have a much more urban feel as you go toward the river."

Although she hasn't seen the plans, Jenkins said she's hopeful that the project is a good fit for that area. "If it's designed well it would be," she said. "It makes sense to have your most dense area in or near downtown. That's more bang for your buck. We already have the roads built there. We have sidewalks, sewer and water."

While the construction schedule would depend on market conditions, Pardo said his company plans to begin building a second residential tower in January 2007, located riverfront near Riverplace Boulevard. The final two towers that will require the demolition of the Radisson Riverwalk Hotel won't begin until the other structures are built.

The towers will sit on top of parking garages which will be hidden by town houses to create a small-town feel, Pardo said. The retail shops will be on the riverfront. "It'll be boutique shops, which will create an extension of San Marco," he said. "The street will be lit to create a quaint, picturesque atmosphere."

The city was recently entangled over another riverfront project, The Shipyards, a proposed $860 million residential and commercial development on the Northbank. Announced in 2001, the project received $35.6 million in public incentives. But recently the city said developer Trilegacy Group LLC misspent the money and forced it to give up control of the project.

A new developer has until December to decide whether to take over that development or the city will take control.

Mayor's Office spokeswoman Susan Wiles said she had heard of the Southbank project but was reluctant to discuss it.

mary.moewejacksonville.com, (904) 359-4689

This story can be found on Jacksonville.com at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor..._16448876.shtml.

__________________

I guess that answers your incentives questions. I think they are asking for help for the right things. I'm guessing the city's attorneys will have specific language on what the money goes to this time.

I doubt there will be any surface lots left in near future.

Interesting name and quotes. I don't like the thought of a "city within a city". If you are bringing a grocery and public park you are adding to the city not turning your back to it. Lets keep these projects inclusive. The suburban layout of the southbank is not that inviting as it is. Its also bothersome that these projects, especially a half a billion dollar project would use the San Marco name when its not in san marco.

Can't wait to see the renderings.

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38603_400.jpg

"The towers will sit on top of parking garages which will be hidden by town houses to create a small-town feel, Pardo said. The retail shops will be on the riverfront. "It'll be boutique shops, which will create an extension of San Marco," he said. "The street will be lit to create a quaint, picturesque atmosphere."

Personally, I would like this development to have a "urban feel" and atmosphere. These Southbank projects should designed to work together, instead of being self contained. I would love to see Riverplace Blvd extended into this site and running along the riverfront, thus "really" opening it up to the public and giving it more of a city feel. Hoepfully developers will at least extend the street existing street grid into the development.

I guess this means this site won't be considered for a convention center. Hopefully, the School Board will relocate their offices to the Northbank, so that site can be redeveloped.

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"This is really a city within a city," said Steve Pardo, a principal owner in Riverwalk Hotels, LLC, who said he submitted his project plans for San Marco Riverwalk for city approval Monday.

---

San Marco Riverwalk? It's Downtown, not San Marco!

That's as bad a name as Bay Street Town Center, in my opinion.

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San Marco Place.....I hadn't thought about that one. At this point, they're just about sold out and should be starting construction any time now. On the bright side, the last two 35 story towers (the ones that will block their view) won't be build until 10 years from now.

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I really hope they tie this in with the rest of San Ma......I mean the Southbank, lol. And I'm a little concerned that 3 towers will be the same height. I hope they don't look exactly similar, giving them a "ghetto projects" look. I'm anxious to see some renderings!

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My initial count puts the total number of planned downtown towers around 26. I had now idea there are now 17 towers proposed for the Southbank. If half of these are built, the Northbank will become the secondary skyline.

Southbank

1. The Strand (28 stories/295 units) - under construction

2. San Marco Place (21 stories/141 units) - breaks ground next month

3. The Peninsula (36 stories/234 units) - breaks ground in Dec. 2004

4. Waterside Condos I (48 stories/250 units) - preliminary approved

5. Waterside Condos II (48 stories/250 units) - preliminary approved

6. San Marco Riverwalk Hotel (9 stories/200 rooms) - const. starts spring 2005

7. San Marco Riverwalk condo tower (28 stories) - late 2005 groundbreaking

8. San Marco Riverwalk condo tower (30 stories) - Jan 2007 groundbreaking

9. San Marco Riverwalk condo tower (35 stories) - Jan 2006 groundbreaking

10. San Marco Riverwalk condo (35 stories) - 2011

11. San Marco Riverwalk condo (35 stories) - 2011

* all San Marco Riverwalk units add up to 1,500.

12-17. Haskell - Southside Generation Station - (6 towers/1,400 units) - planned

Northbank

18. JEA Tower conversion (31 story addition) - planned

19. Westin Hotel (12 stories/197 units) - planned

20. The Landing Office Tower (25 stories) - planned

21. Berkman Plaza II (22 stories/200 units) - planned

22. 323 Duval (12 story/100,000sf office bldg.) - planned

Riverside Avenue

23. St. Joe condo tower (17 stories) - planned

24. Fidelity Financial (10 story - 280,000sf office building) - planned

25. Fidelity Financial condo tower (height unknown) - planned

26. Fidelity Financial hotel tower (height unknown) - planned

* There's also the River City Brewing Company site and the Shipyards site that is in limbo right now. Towers there would easily push the number above 30.

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Thats impressive... I didn't realize that there were that many (I was thinking 7 or 8) Maybe jax is on the way to becoming thext Miami? B)

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Impressive list, are all of these goign to become a reality?

With a list this large, I'd expect that roughly 50 -60% of these will become reality. As of today, these are the one's I think there's a 100% chance of construction starting this year.

The Peninsula (36 stories) - currently over 50% sold - Dec. 2004 ground breaking

The Strand (28 stories) - under construction

San Marco Place (21 stories) - sold out - construction could start any day now.

Fidelity Financial (10 stories) - company really needs the space

These are the ones I'm starting to have my doubts about. Unfortunately they're all on the Northbank.

Berkman Plaza II

The Landing Office Tower

323 Duval

The Westin Hotel

The Shipyards

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Impressive list, are all of these going to become a reality?

I tend to be slightly more pessimistic than lakelander. Here are my opinions of the projects broken down into categories. (I'll also use the 1-26 numbers from lakelander's list to keep things clear)

Absolutely going to happen (barring a freak disaster.)

1. The Strand (28 stories/295 units)

2. San Marco Place (21 stories/141 units)

3. The Peninsula (36 stories/234 units)

24. Fidelity Financial (10 story - 280,000sf office building)

Very likely to happen in some form, but still in the early planning stages and will probably see significant redesigns and new announcements anyway before anything is built

6. San Marco Riverwalk Hotel (9 stories/200 rooms)

7. San Marco Riverwalk condo tower (28 stories)

23. St. Joe condo tower (17 stories) - planned

12-14. Haskell - part of Southside Generation Station

Maybe, but don't hold your breath Right now, these are just visions. The developers have yet to provide enough information to be confident in the reality of these projects.

4. Waterside Condos I (48 stories/250 units)

8. San Marco Riverwalk condo tower (30 stories) - Jan 2007 groundbreaking

9. San Marco Riverwalk condo tower (35 stories) - Jan 2006 groundbreaking

18. JEA Tower conversion (31 story addition)

Unlikely to happen as proposed, if at all many of these projects are "phase twos" of larger projects. In my opinion, few of these later phases ever actually happen. They are just add-on's by the developer to hype up their project and make it seem bigger than it really is.

5. Waterside Condos II (48 stories/250 units)

10. San Marco Riverwalk condo (35 stories) - 2011

11. San Marco Riverwalk condo (35 stories) - 2011

15-17. Haskell - the rest of Southside Generation Station

21. Berkman Plaza II (22 stories/200 units)

26. Fidelity Financial hotel tower (height unknown)

Very Unlikely

19. Westin Hotel (12 stories/197 units) - (between the high vacancy rates, increased market competition from the new san marco project, and an angry litigious developer that wants to sue the city if they grant incentives to any hotel other than a convention center hotel ... this looks very bleak)

22. 323 Duval (12 story/100,000sf office bldg.) - (farah said it would depend on incentives, which they almost 100% certain would not get)

Dead until further notice

20. The Landing Office Tower (25 stories) - (was a "phase two" type project that they said would be years away, and also depend on incentives - and they were rejected)

27. Shipyards - (Landmar may choose to develop the site as a different project, but until then, the shipyards is dead dead dead)

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Captain, that's a very good list you put together. Also, I agree with what you said about every single project on the list, especially the projects with twin towers. Other than Berkman, I didn't post anything about them, because they're still early in the planning phase.

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Well ... time to put my foot into my mouth. Life is funny sometimes. After writing that long post about project viability this afternoon, who do I run into this evening? None other than a lawyer at Eddie Farrah's law firm. So I asked the lawyer what ever happened to the 323 Duval project, and if it is really dead. So to my surprise, the lawyer responded that the project is very much alive, and that Farrah's uncle (who is apparently the general partner in the whole plan) is negotiating with a contractor right now. Apparently, Farrah said that he thinks the building will start construction this year, and be occupied in well under two years from now.

I'm taking it all with a little grain of salt, because the lawyer I talked to really didn't seem to know that much about the project (as far as number of floors or square footage, etc) plus the supposed year and a half timetabe to occupation, when they haven't even filed for building permits seems impossibly fast.

However, regardless of the information's precision, it seems like I was dead wrong about 323 Duval. We should probably stick it in the "Very Likely" category.

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Well that's certainly good news. I figured 323 Duval had a slim chance of being built because of the incentives thing. Anyway that area of downtown could definately benefit from a project of this magnitude. I wonder if the restoration of the Ambassador Hotel is still a part of the deal.

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Interesting news about 323 Duval, hope it is accurate, and that the Ambassador Hotel will be included as well.

As far as the list in general, I think what is happening with Waterside and the San Marco Riverwalk, is that they want to

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I look forward to seeing the Ambassador all fixed up. The ground floor of that building needs serious help, not to mention the rest. But it would be good development in that area of downtown.

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