DIA considers land swap with retail developer for Brooklyn property

DIA considers land swap with retail developer for Brooklyn property
Left: The Jug Handle, City-owned property, is being considered in a land swap with a developer. Right: Retail development is being proposed to the Downtown Investment Authority for Smith Parcel #1, a vacant lot in Brooklyn.

Three privately-owned parcels on Magnolia Street in Brooklyn – separated by a City-owned parcel and by another listed as owned by Shoppes on Riverside LLC – are being considered for a land swap by the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) for a City-owned parcel on the corner of Riverside Avenue and Leila Street.

The corner parcel, called the Jug Handle, is used as a storm water retention basin and includes a turnoff for motorists exiting the Acosta Bridge and desiring to enter the Florida Times-Union property across Riverside Avenue.

The DIA has been approached to convey City-owned property to Ferber Company, a Ponte Vedra developer, in exchange for the privately-owned property, which was discussed at the DIA’s July 19 meeting.

The three Magnolia Street parcels and a fourth parcel between Magnolia and May Streets are called Smith Parcels 1, 2, 3 and 4, so named because they are owned by members of the family of Cecil Mills Smith and Mildred Lyle Smith. The couple left 17 parcels of land, of which 11 are in the Brooklyn area, to their descendants.

According to a DIA memorandum, Ferber proposes to develop Smith Parcel 1 on Riverside and May, the May Street right-of-way and the Jug Handle with multi-tenant inline retail commercial uses, adjacent to Brooklyn Station. The proposed tenants will be national, regional and experienced local operators consistent with the existing Brooklyn Station tenant mix.

The Jug Handle parcel was part of a 2016 redevelopment plan for a pharmacy/drugstore, but the end user rejected the location and currently remains uninterested, according to Ferber.

In return for the Jug Handle, Ferber will design and construct a public parking lot on Smith Parcels 2 and 3 and the Piano Key, City-owned property in-between the parcels. The DIA, through the Office of Public Parking, will operate and maintain the public parking lot.

Because those parcels are separated from Smith Parcel 4 by the Shoppes in Riverside parcel, the fourth Smith parcel will remain as a gravel lot.

Regency Centers, dba Shoppes on Riverside LLC, bought the 0.6-acre property Nov. 3, 2016 for $50,000 from an Atlanta-based real estate company. Two permitted exceptions are in effect for 20 years: no structure or improvement, other than light poles, can be greater than 15 feet tall; all parking on the property is subject to a 10-foot landscaping buffer from the property line to the edge of the parking surface.

To equalize the land swap, the City will contribute at no cost to the developer up to 1.67 credit acres of surplus Water Quality Compensatory Credits, the value of which has not been quantified. Legislation must be adopted to convey the credits to Ferber.

At the end of a required 30-day notice period, a proposal will be presented for consideration by the DIA Board to seek permission to negotiate a Redevelopment Agreement with Ferber Company.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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