Chance Partners get rezoning approval for second San Marco development

Chance Partners get rezoning approval for second San Marco development
Rendering of the proposed San Marco Crossing on Kings Avenue

Just as construction is beginning on the old Jackson Square property, the developers, Judd Bobilin and Jeff Rosen, are launching a second residential project to the north that they envision becoming the gateway to San Marco.

Bobilin and Rosen, principals of Chance Partners LLC, won approval to rezone 6.8 acres on Kings Avenue anchored by Southside Assembly of God and 23 other parcels. The property was approved for rezoning from Community General Commercial to planned unit development (PUD) at the Feb. 27 City Council meeting.

The Planning Commission and Land Use and Zoning Committee approved the application earlier in February.

Chance Olevia LLC, an affiliated company, has a contract on the property bounded by Kings Avenue, Olevia Street, Mitchell Avenue and the Florida East Coast tracks. The sale is pending the rezoning.

San Marco Crossing will have up to 331 apartments and townhouses with a pool and park area. About two-thirds of the units will be one-bedroom with rent ranging from $1,000 to $1,400. The remainder would be two- and three-bedroom, renting for between $1,600 and $2,000.

The complex will have a four-story parking structure with 300 spaces and surface parking equivalent to 1.35 spaces per unit, according to the rezoning application.

The development, at the new Atlantic Boulevard exit on Interstate 95, is three blocks north of the former Jackson Square project that Chance Partners is redeveloping as San Marco Promenade.

Work is scheduled to begin this month on the first phase of the Promenade – 286 apartments on the northern end of the 17-acre site. The second phase will be built in 2020, Bobilin said.

The two developments will have more than 800 apartments that could add about 1,600 residents to the area that is now commercial.

District 5 Councilwoman Lori Boyer said the rezoning will change the area from heavy commercial to residential.

“It’s going to be shifting the use to residential when it could easily be used for heavy commercial or even a dancing establishment like Wacko’s,” Boyer said.

The prospect of so many new residents on a blighted area is both welcomed by San Marco residents and raising questions. Increased noise and traffic were two big concerns raised about the development at a public meeting Boyer convened on Jan. 30.

The property backs up to the FEC tracks that are frequently traveled by trains. Several people said they are worried that the buildings will create an acoustic barrier that will bounce train noise into the neighborhood on the opposite side of the track.

Bobilin said landscaping along the track could absorb some of the noise. Boyer said that while it is realistic to expect more noise, the buildings also will block noise from the interstate.

Longtime resident Whatley Law said San Marco was designed to be a residential neighborhood and the increased traffic is threatening the character of the neighborhood.

Several residents are worried about increased traffic on St. Augustine Road and the nearby residential streets like River Oaks Road, which is used as a cut-through.

“If it were built it would result in more cut-through traffic on River Oaks,” said Matt Carlucci, a San Marco resident. “It’s a cut-through street, let’s be honest about it.”

Boyer said it is reasonable to expect more traffic, but plans are in the works to reduce the speed limit and add an additional speed hump on River Oaks Road.

Others questioned the development’s impact on schools. Boyer said the state will not allocate money for new schools as long as there is sufficient capacity somewhere in the district, but it could benefit Spring Park Elementary School.

Several residents said they think the development would be an asset.

“I went to Southside Assembly of God for years, so I have a lot of emotion about this,” Carlucci said. “But I think it will clean up an area that has so many problems with crime.”

Michael Schmidt, owner of the Bearded Pig, said new apartments will mean more people who can come to his restaurant on Kings Avenue, as well as to the new coffee shop, Southern Grounds, going in on Atlantic Boulevard.

Several people expressed hope that more residential in the area would finally convince Publix to build a store in East San Marco, at Atlantic Boulevard and Hendricks Avenue, a project that has been on hold for a decade.

Rosen said the property will be managed by Pegasus Property Management, which also is managing Chance’s Avondale development, RiverVue, on the site of the old Commander apartments.

The San Marco Crossing property has been declared a brownfield, after early assessments found arsenic and benzene – chemicals caused by burning fuel and other pollutants that can leach into soil or groundwater, according to a city summary of test results.

Once the property sale has closed, Chance Olevia will come up with an environmental cleanup plan for which they are expected to seek state tax credits.

Bobilin said construction is expected to begin in early 2019.

By Lilla Ross
Resident Community News

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