Property owner to take developer to court over proposed Southbank high-rise

The owner of the former Aetna building is continuing to fight the proposed development by Ventures Development on the adjacent vacant property on the Southbank.

GV-IP Jacksonville Owner LLC is asking the Circuit Court to review a decision by the Downtown Development Review Board that granted several deviations to the plan to build a 13-story apartment on a 2.9-acre wedge-shaped lot.

Both GV-IP Jacksonville and Baptist Health have objected to the project, citing density, inadequate parking and increased traffic in an already congested area next to Baptist’s emergency room, the Florida East Coast Railway tracks and the Acosta Bridge. In its petition to the court, GV-IP also said the building would block the view of the river.

Last summer DDRB approved the project with several deviations and the Downtown Investment Authority signed off on it. The deviations reduced parking spaces from 559 to 337; change the landscaping along the railroad tracks; increased the building height from 60 feet to 190 feet; and reduced setbacks along the property line and along the bulkheads.

GV-IP appealed to the City Council, which sent the matter back to DDRB, which again approved the project in December.

In the meantime, the former Aetna building at 841 Prudential Drive will be getting a new identity – One Call Care Management, the anchor tenant. One Call has been leasing 120,000 square feet of the building and is expanding to two additional floors to accommodate a workforce of about 1,200.

Aetna moved its insurance operation to Southside Boulevard.

By Lilla Ross
Resident Community News

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