New multi-family housing gets DIA ‘thumbs up’

New multi-family housing gets DIA ‘thumbs up’
Rending of proposed San Marco Apartments on Home Street (By Fisher Koppenhafer)

City Council approval needed for REV Grant

Rending of proposed San Marco Apartments on Home Street (By Fisher Koppenhafer)

What began as a five-story, 50-unit urban-style apartment building has tripled in size in 18 months. When the plans were submitted to the Downtown Development Review Board (DDRB) in April 2017, the proposed project had grown.

In January 2016, The Resident reported a vacant lot behind Clara’s Tidbits Restaurant and Catering would be the site of a new apartment building to be developed by San Marco Professional Building LLC, a company owned by Dr. Robert Bass, a gastroenterologist from Jacksonville Beach.

Bass’s company purchased the 1-acre property at 1444 Home Street from Southbank Partners for $1.43 million in 2004. According to records from the Property Appraiser’s office, the land is assessed at $964,631.

Wrapping in several other parcels in the one-square block area bordered by Home Street, Hendricks Avenue, Louisa Street and Kipp Avenue, the plan now calls for a minimum of 143 studios, one- and two-bedroom units in a four-story building. Also included in the development are retail and office space as well as a parking garage.

A 0.3-acre parcel at 1411 Louisa Street is currently not indicated as part of the development plan. Used as a parking lot, the property was purchased by real estate developer SRJ Ventures Inc. for $283,500 in 2004.

CDP (Catalyst Development Partners) Home Street LLC is now indicated as the developer for what will be the San Marco Apartments, and the architect is Fisher Koppenhafer.
To accommodate the increase in size of the development, the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) at its Aug. 23 board meeting approved an Allocation of Development Rights to the developer, converting approximately 1.43 acres of general office development rights to a multi-family development right.

Building elevations for the San Marco Apartments

During the DIA board meeting, the applicant’s attorney, Steve Diebenow, of Driver McAfee, Peek & Hawthorne, P.L., requested the number of units approved be increased from 143 to 155 as a precautionary move to avoid re-doing a traffic study required to justify the conversion of the development rights.

The resolution supports the DIA’s Business Investment and Development goal to “increase rental and owner-occupied housing downtown, targeting key demographic groups seeking a more urban lifestyle” by actively pursuing “a minimum of 3,850 built and occupied multi-family dwelling units by 2025.”


Except for a parcel at the corner of Kipp Avenue and Louisa Street, a 1.9-acre property will soon be the site of a four-story residential apartment complex.

Christian Harden, principal, NAI Hallmark, noted this type of development is badly needed in the urban core.


“We need more of this type of infill…multi-family apartments that are not on the river,” said Harden. “Millennials are seeking a lot of amenities in a small footprint, and more density will support more amenities and help us rebuild the tax base.”

Once the Jacksonville City Council adopts the DIA’s resolution, CDP Home Street LLC will have 180 days to acquire the property, then 12 months to obtain construction permits.
Also on Aug. 23, the Community Redevelopment Agency board approved a $2.53 million REV (Recapture Enhanced Value) Grant, which represents 75 percent of the property taxes to be collected and paid out over 15 years.

In exchange for the grant, CDP Home Street LLC will allocate 10 percent of the units for workforce housing – housing that is affordable for households with an earned income which is insufficient to secure quality housing within a reasonable proximity to a workplace, such as Downtown Jacksonville.

Collectively, the project will result in the investment of approximately $24.8 million for the construction of the rental apartment facility and associated improvements, according to the resolution approved by the DIA.

The project heads to the Downtown Development Review Board for final design approval and to City Council to vote on the REV grant.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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