Gateway project to San Marco breaks ground

Gateway project to San Marco breaks ground
Walker Palmer, director of construction Live Oak Contracting with Paul Bertozzi, CEO and president of Live Oak Contracting, and Jeff Rosen of Chance Partners

Milton Dykes, pastor of Southside Assembly of God Church, grew emotional as he blessed the flattened ground where San Marco Crossing would soon be built. It was the place his church, which has moved to a new edifice in Southside, had once stood and where his flock had worshiped for 70 years. “It’s a real honor to be here today. For 17 years I preached hundreds of sermons right over there,” he said, motioning to a spot behind him. “Our church blessed families around the world in many ways, and it’s exciting to me to know that families are going to be blessed here, through this project and on this property,” he said.

After taking two years to plan, design and engineer the nearly 500 residential units that will soon stand on two city blocks of land near the intersection of Kings Highway and Atlantic Boulevard, Chance Partners newest project, San Marco Crossing, officially broke ground Sept. 26. 

“We’re thrilled to create a gateway project that will connect the transformation on Philips Highway into San Marco Square,” said Jeff Rosen of Chance Partners. “I live in the neighborhood and am able to see the effect it will have on the local businesses. People will have the option to walk to all the exciting things that are happening, and that is really special.”

Jeff Rosen, Chance Partners, District 5 Councilwoman LeAnna Cumber
Jeff Rosen, Chance Partners, District 5 Councilwoman LeAnna Cumber

Rosen was one of four individuals, including Dykes, that spoke at the ground-breaking ceremony, which was held under a tent on Bertha Street, between the two parcels. Also remarking on the milestone were District 5 Councilwoman LeAnna Cumber and Paul Bertozzi, president and CEO of Live Oak Contracting, which is doing construction on the project.

The smaller of the two residential complexes, the south building, will be built on the parcel between Bertha and Mitchell Roads. It will open at the end of 2020, said Bertozzi. The larger north building, between Bertha and Olevia Street is expected to open six months later, in the summer of 2021, he said. 

The first phase of Chance Partner’s neighboring project, San Marco Promenade, which is further south on Philips Highway is nearly complete, said Rosen. Pre-leasing will begin in October 2019, and residents will be able to move in early next year, in January or February 2020. 

The second phase of the Promenade project, which will be built further south on Philips Highway near St. Augustine Road, is not in the works yet, he said. “We still want to wait on the design of it until we get people into the first phase of San Marco Promenade. We want to make sure we are designing the right product for our residents. It’s likely not to start for a couple of years,” he continued. “You don’t know until you open a project and get it leased up. You need to understand what residents want so you are sure you have designed a property that people desire.”

Debra Pataky, Carlo Fassi of Southern Group, Katherine Ruttell of Live Oak Constracting, and Jake Gordon, CEO of Downtown Vision, Inc.
Debra Pataky, Carlo Fassi of Southern Group, Katherine Ruttell of Live Oak Contracting, and Jake Gordon, CEO of Downtown Vision, Inc.

Cumber was very enthusiastic about the San Marco Crossing project. “I’m very excited about all this development on Philips Highway. This is going to be the anchor to really revitalize the rest of Philips Highway going south to make it really a more walkable, family-friendly part of the community. I think it will be excellent for San Marco Square. We will have more people coming into the area who can patronize the businesses and the stores. That’s what the square needs – foot traffic. Foot traffic into the theater, into the bookstore, and into all the businesses. It’s really exciting,” she said.

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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