Development Rising: Projects underway, some holding fast

Development Rising:  Projects underway, some holding fast
Fairfax Manor residents on Fishweir Creek can monitor the progress of the RiverVue apartment project on St. John’s Avenue.

Whether you are positive, negative or indifferent about development projects, there’s no doubt it’s occurring in the urban core. From building projects that seem to be right in your own backyard to road projects that force a change in your daily commute, the historic district could have them all in 2018.

Two currently underway are under the watchful eyes of residents in Riverside, and in the Avondale and Fishweir neighborhoods.

Residents of Park Plaza have a birds-eye view of the Tribridge Residential apartment complex underway between Bishopgate Lane and Lomax Street. They watched as storm surge following Hurricane Irma took over the property site, wondering whether the development company would make changes to address future potential flooding.

Crews began putting up the forms for the parking garage at the Bishopgate apartment project site in late November; photo taken Dec. 9. (Photo courtesy of Tim Burleigh)

Crews began putting up the forms for the parking garage at the Bishopgate apartment project site in late November; photo taken Dec. 9. (Photo courtesy of Tim Burleigh)

“Following Hurricane Irma and the extensive storm surge, we further evaluated the our design of the Bishopgate project,” said Katherine Mosley, Tribridge vice president, development. “While the building as designed had a finished floor elevation above the flood water level, it was decided to further raise the finished floor elevation an additional 12 inches for best practices.” Mosley also said the parking deck will go vertical in first quarter 2018, and signs are that it’s well underway.

Five months after breaking ground on and even following delays caused by Hurricane Irma, Chance Partners Jacksonville LLC is making rapid progress on the vertical phase for RiverVue, a $40 million development project at the former Commander Apartments and St. Johns Village property on Fishweir Creek.

The complex will have 88 apartments in the tower and 140 units in six new structures at St. Johns Avenue and Herschel Street in Avondale when it opens this summer.

“Due to some construction delays, we are now anticipating the pre-leasing to begin in late March 2018 for June move-ins,” said Kim Hyatt, Pegasus Residential senior regional manager. “Once the tower is completed and the leasing office is officially open the Pegasus team will be working out of there.”

While these residential development projects are front and center in the historic districts, they are by no means the only projects proposed or underway. Several City of Jacksonville projects are either nearing completion, awaiting a schedule or in a bid process.

The City of Jacksonville completed a missing segment of sidewalk on Ortega Boulevard.

The City of Jacksonville completed a missing segment of sidewalk on Ortega Boulevard.

City projects

Installation of a 485-foot-long sidewalk began in December, extending from the corner of Pirates Cove Road to connect with an existing sidewalk in front of a residence at 5075 Ortega Blvd. The  $15,146 project constructed by the City of Jacksonville Right of Way Stormwater Maintenance Division will improve connectivity for pedestrians.

Two upcoming bridge projects will change traffic patterns for several months once they are underway. But there’s no sense holding your breath waiting for these two as they have been lurking on the drawing board for years. Perhaps 2018 will be the year they are actually accomplished.

The City is currently bidding and re-bidding two long-standing projects in the Fishweir and Lakeside neighborhoods. A culvert replacement on the Herschel Street bridge over Little Fishweir Creek was opened for bids on Nov. 29, 2017. The project has been on the City’s Streets and Drainage Department project list since 1991 and replaces a failing metal pipe-arch culvert with a box culvert. The roadway will be reconstructed, drainage improved, and the decorative parapet railings replaced with a similar design. 

Replacing the Lakeside Drive bridge over the Ortega River inlet behind Roosevelt Square Publix has also been on the books for a while. Five years ago the project was estimated to cost $700,000 and funding was appropriated by City Council in May 2015.

The replacement was bid earlier; however, all bids received were not deemed sufficiently competitive, so it will need to be rebid, according to Tia Ford, a city spokesperson.

Uncertainty by some Murray Hill residents about the effect of installing a small playground in a portion of Four Corners Park has delayed the project more than six months.

Originally planned for installation in summer 2017, the fully funded $60,000 playground is awaiting “final approval” from nearby residents who are concerned about  noise, traffic and changing the nature of the park, according to District 14 Councilman Jim Love’s office.

Daryl Joseph, director of the City’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, was scheduled to meet with those residents before the end of the year. Upon approval, Joseph would send the proposal to Love in order to move the funds into a project account.

The proposed playground would include a play tower, swings, balance beam and poles, table, pony springers, and a spinner bowl. Kompan play equipment is claimed to inspire safe play and movement. A larger Kompan playground was installed in Boone Park in October 2016.

Proposed playground for Four Corners Park in Murray Hill (Rending by Kompan)

Proposed playground for Four Corners Park in Murray Hill (Rending by Kompan)

Changes at 220 Riverside

Despite dreams to make Unity Plaza a hub for Brooklyn/Riverside activity, the retail space at 220 Riverside Ave. has been slow to attract – and keep – businesses and visitors.

Now, in lieu of foreclosure, the 17,000-
square-foot space has been sold for $5.4 million, according to a warranty deed filed with the Duval County Clerk of Courts. Total market value of the four retail spaces is $3.71 million.

The size of the four units range from 2,112 square feet to 6,667 square feet. Two of the spaces are currently leased to restaurants, Hobnob and Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, while one unit had been occupied by Sbraga & Co. restaurant until July 2016. The last space is used for private events, managed by Hobnob Gallery and Event Space.

HP Retail 220 LLC has owned the four retail units since October 2014. Rather than undergo foreclosure proceedings for defaulting on a $5.5 million mortgage, the company sold the space beneath the apartments to CRE Properties, Inc., in Miami Lakes, Florida.

Mid-America Apartment Communities owns the 294-unit apartment building, which is currently at 95.5 percent occupancy, according to a leasing agent.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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