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vicupstate

Parks at The Cathedral Phase 2

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I heard today from a fellow Parks property owner that the DDA will soon announce that the second phase of the project is ready to move forward. Bank of America will not be involved with this phase, as they were in the first.

A stalmate over who (the city or the developer) should pay to address some drainage issues with the site had previously held this up. Apparently an agreement has been reached.

The second phase consists of 12 additional units. The first phase has 51. These 12 will go up on the west side of Market street between Church and Ashley.

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I heard today from a fellow Parks property owner that the DDA will soon announce that the second phase of the project is ready to move forward.  Bank of America will not be involved with this phase, as they were in the first. 

A stalmate over who (the city or the developer) should pay to address some drainage issues with the site had previously held this up.  Apparently an agreement has been reached.

The second phase consists of 12 additional units.  The first phase has 51.  These 12 will go up on the west side of Market street between Church and Ashley.

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That sounds good. I'll be pretty interested to see what the unit prices will be and what amenities will be included.

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In today's Business Journal, it is reported that Bank Of America is in negotiations to sell the land for Phase 2 to Renaissance Design Build Group of Jax. Carlton Jones is a principal with that company. It reports that pre-sales will start "ASAP" and would start "under 200,000". A SEPARATE homeowner's association would be created for those 12 units, it further states.

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Bank of America turns over next phase of townhouse project

Ryan Geddes

Staff Writer

DOWNTOWN -- Renaissance Design Build Group of Jacksonville Inc. will likely take over development of the second phase of The Parks at the Cathedral, a townhouse development bounded by Ashley, Church, Market and Liberty streets in Downtown Jacksonville.

Bank of America Community Redevelopment Corp. developed the project's 51-unit first phase but will turn over the construction and development of the second phase of the project, which will add 12 townhouses west of Market Street.

"They are pretty much going to be out completely," said Carlton Jones, president of Renaissance Design Build, a real estate contracting and development company based in Jacksonville. "We're actually going to buy the land, and we will develop it completely."

Jones said Bank of America would "probably still be involved" with the project's financing.

George Owen, a spokesman for Bank of America, said the bank is working with the new developer but does not yet have a formal agreement.

The bank, through its St. Johns Place LLC development group, entered into an agreement with the city in March 1999 to build 63 for-sale townhouses near the Episcopal Cathedral. All 51 of the phase-one units have been sold and Jones said he would begin pre-sales of the 12 phase-two units as soon as possible. The new townhouses would be priced "under $200,000" and would be governed by a separate homeowners association, he said.

As part of the agreement with the city, the church donated a block of land, valued at $506,000 in 1999, and the city pledged $3 million in incentives. Of that amount, $1.5 million was to be provided for public infrastructure improvements and $1.5 million for construction assistance.

According to city documents, about $395,500 remains in the infrastructure improvement fund for use in the second phase of the project, and the city has been reimbursed about $910,000 for its participation in a second mortgage program with qualified buyers.

The city has been talking with Bank of America since at least May about bringing in another developer to complete The Parks at the Cathedral. The Jacksonville Economic Development Commission met with bank officials in the spring to discuss the project's progress.

In 2001, while beginning work on underground utilities for the project, the contractors found human remains that were eventually determined to be part of the Old City Burying Grounds, the oldest documented public cemetery in Jacksonville.

The 19th century graveyard was relocated at a cost of about $155,000, according to city documents.

Owen said Bank of America's decision to withdraw as the primary developer was not directly related and declined to discuss the details of the remains relocation. He said he considers the bank's relationship with the city to be "excellent."

"We are a very big company, and we have a very large community development group," Owen said. "At certain times we just choose to apply our resources in different ways."

Al Battle, managing director of the Downtown Development Authority, said it has not discussed putting any more city money into the project.

Although The Parks at the Cathedral's second phase will have a relatively small impact on the number of residential units Downtown, the project is watched closely by Downtown housing boosters as a measure of interest in urban living.

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