Southbank developer announces new hotel project, requests extension on property purchase

Southbank developer announces new hotel project,  requests extension on  property purchase

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outhbank high-rise residents may soon get a birds-eye view of the first phase of construction at the site of The District Jacksonville—Life Well Lived (The District), the 30-acre master-planned development on the St. Johns River.

The purchase of the site property, however, is still under negotiation with the Jacksonville Energy Authority (JEA) and the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA), putting into question the start date of the hotel project.

Peter Rummell, developer of The District project along with partner Michael Munz, had announced Nov. 27 that Impact Properties, its hotel partner, will develop an AC Hotel by Marriott at The District.

The hotel is currently in the design phase, with horizontal work on the site expected to start during the first quarter of 2018. The hotel construction is being planned based on the site work completion schedule, which will be a phased approach starting on the western edge of the site and working its way east.

The riverfront property owned by JEA was put up for bid early in 2014 and late that year JEA chose Rummell’s $18.5 million bid to develop the site. Since then, Rummell’s company, Elements Development of Jacksonville, LLC, has received extensions each time the purchase deadline neared.

On Nov. 28, a third extension was approved by JEA, with the condition that a $250,000 refundable deposit be made nonrefundable. The 90-day extension could delay the hotel’s site work.

Additionally, it was reported Elements Development is seeking to transfer its purchase agreement with JEA to the City of Jacksonville, which would pay JEA for the property.

When asked about the property transfer, the response from the Mayor’s Office was a deflection to the DIA. “Any proposal on this property will be evaluated by the City if it passes through the DIA, which is the appropriate authority,” said Marsha Oliver, spokesperson for the Mayor.

District 5 Councilwoman Lori Boyer said she has a concern that the City not repeat with The District the situation decades ago when The Shipyards development fell through and the City ended up owning the Northbank property again.

It is typical for a city to be involved in developing the infrastructure on new development as long as it has a security interest in the property, she said.

If and when the Southbank property negotiations are settled, the AC Hotel by Marriott will be the first in the greater Jacksonville area. The six-story hotel will be approximately 70,000 square feet with up to 200 guest rooms, and feature a variety of public spaces including a lounge, restaurant, fitness center, retail outlet and work spaces.

“The modern, edgy yet relaxing and inviting atmosphere of AC Hotels by Marriott compliments the health-focused live-work-play environment we are creating,” said Rummell. “The District’s location also provides guests some of the best views of the St. Johns River and downtown Jacksonville, further showcasing one of our city’s best attributes.”

Tampa-based Impact Properties will develop, own and manage the hotel. The terms of the deal between The District and Impact Properties were not disclosed.

“The AC brand provides for European-inspired guestrooms, a signature lobby lounge that will feature tapas, local craft beer and cocktails, all of which will be served on the scenic banks of the St. Johns River,” said Kish Kanji, Executive VP of Impact Properties.

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