Many development projects proposed for Historic District

Many development projects proposed for Historic District
Property on the corner of Stockton and College Streets may soon be developed for live-work units.

Plans are in the works for a vacant lot at the corner of Stockton and College Streets to be developed into two multi-story live/work units.

At its Aug. 18 meeting, the Planning Commission approved two applications submitted by Hunter Hayden, of Hayden Hawk Investment Group, who wants to subdivide a 72×117-foot lot into two 36×117-foot lots. This bifurcation of the property results in less than minimum property setbacks and required a variance to reduce the minimum lot width by four feet.

The property sits across the street from the John Gorrie Condominium Homes, and diagonally across the intersection from a retail block which contains restaurants and other retail businesses.

The application for a zoning exception sought integration of retail sales and service or professional office space with a multi-family structure. Hayden also requested a reduction in the minimum required off-street parking from four spaces to zero, providing a site plan that indicated two parking spaces in the front of each building.

The Planning and Development Department recommended approval of the application with the condition that Hayden provide a minimum of four onsite parking spaces for the professional offices, accessible from the alley, and that the project meet the minimum setbacks required in the Riverside Avondale Overlay.

Riverside Avondale Preservation supported the project with parking in the rear and the condition that all setbacks be met.

The Planning Commission, however, approved the project with reduced setbacks, but added the following conditions:

  • The commercial use shall be limited to professional office or art, music, or photographic studio space.
  • Each structure shall be allowed to convert back to 100 percent single-family residential use.
  • The commercial use portion shall not exceed 25 percent of the gross floor area of the live/work unit.

The live/work project will revitalize an underused site within the Historic District. As such, the project will be reviewed by the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission for final design, including vertical construction to ensure protection of the character of the neighborhood.

More movement, change

Adrienne Burke, Riverside Avondale Preservation executive director, Nancy Powell, chair of RAP’s zoning committee and Board Chair Keith Holt are also in talks with developers for several other projects in the Historic District.

According to Burke, Atlanta-based TriBridge Residential has submitted a proposal for the property between Bishop Gate Lane and Lomax Street along the St. Johns River.

Formerly under NAI Hallmark Partners, this property was planned for 55 luxury condominiums in a 16-story building. Called the Beacon Riverside, sales efforts were suspended in November 2015 while Hallmark sought financing.

TriBridge is planning a multi-family apartment building with 144 units and internal garage. Burke said the developer was interested in providing public, pedestrian-friendly access to the river.

Another Riverside property under scrutiny by RAP is two lots on the corner of Oak and Stockton Streets. The lots, which include office buildings built 60 to 70 years ago, were sold 10 years ago to Riverside Square LLC, one of many companies owned by Mark Rubin, president of AccuBuild Companies.

According to RAP, Rubin is seeking to redevelop the two existing commercial buildings at 2502 and 2510 Oak Street into use as a restaurant. Applications for a PUD, a zoning exception and an administrative deviation are in progress. The property is zoned commercial, so the exception would be sought for other reasons, such as a restaurant drive-thru, or outside service and sales.

In 5 Points, two businesses have indicated plans to demolish and rebuild. A planned unit development (PUD) application is being created for redevelopment of the Shell station at Margaret and Post Streets.

The property owner, First Coast Energy, wishes to demolish and rebuild the gas station/convenience store. Early discussions are in process, according to Burke. Daily’s indicated this project is not in the queue until 2017.

At the 5 Points intersection, Wendy’s Restaurant is planning to demolish its existing restaurant and rebuild a new Wendy’s on the site. Early discussions are in process, according to Burke.

RAP is also monitoring a proposal to rezone a residential property on St. Johns Avenue to Commercial Office (CO) or Commercial, Residential, Office (CRO). A contract has been submitted by a local financial firm for 2982 St. Johns Ave., a 9,000-square-foot home built in 1916.

RAP met with the owner and his agent, and expressed its strong opposition to any change to the zoning in this location, which is currently within the residential land use category, low density residential zoning (RLD-60) designation and residential character area of the Riverside Avondale Overlay.

“That home and the lot next to it are the only two lots left on St. Johns Avenue that go from the street to the river,” said Burke. “Historically, most of the lots were like that and at some point in time, they started subdividing the lots and building houses in front. So this is very significant.”

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