Chance Partners redevelops Southgate Plaza as The Jack on Beach Apartments

Chance Partners redevelops Southgate Plaza as The Jack on Beach Apartments
Rendering of The Jack on Beach Apartments

Southgate Shopping Center, one of Jacksonville’s first suburban shopping centers in the St. Nicholas neighborhood, is being reincarnated as The Jack on Beach — a 295-unit multifamily housing community consisted of three four-story buildings. Located just east of St. Nicholas Town Center, South Gate Plaza — as it was originally known — was completed in 1957 and was located at 3428 Beach Boulevard. Its initial tenant list included W.T. Grant, F.W. Woolworth, Winn-Dixie, Toy Town and Morrison’s Cafeteria.

Over time, the shopping center declined, like so many in Jacksonville, as the suburban sprawl moved throughout the Southside and into northern St. Johns County. Eventually the plaza, which was owned by Jacksonville-based Demetree Brothers, Inc., was largely vacant, its future in question.

After Southgate Manager and President J.C. Demetree Jr. sold the property to Chance Beach Owner LLC, part of Jacksonville-based Chance Partners, the 65-year-old, 149,042-square-foot shopping center was demolished this past spring. Its redevelopment by EJF Capital and Chance Partners as The Jack on Beach is expected to be completed in 2024.

The Jack apartments will sit on 9.96 acres and feature more than 400 parking spaces for one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. It will also feature state-of-the-art fixtures, finishes and modern amenities, integrated smart home technology, Energy Star-rated appliances and smart key access control, as well as co-working spaces, indoor and outdoor social areas, an outdoor pool and sundeck, a 24/7 fitness center, dog park and pet spa, and a bike pavilion with a branded bike share program.

“We’ve always targeted the historic neighborhoods, because they are so close to employment centers, retail, and other historic neighborhood hubs,” said Jeff Rosen, principal of Chance Partners. Rosen moved to Jacksonville about 10 years ago from Los Angeles. He now lives in San Marco.

Aerial photo of the site of the former Southgate Shopping Center after demolition
Aerial photo of the site of the former Southgate Shopping Center after demolition

“It’s an overall great, welcoming community with great schools,” he said.

His first project was the demolition of the Commander Apartments along Fishweir Creek in Avondale and the property’s redevelopment as RiverVue apartments.

“We hope the quality of The Jack project will help revitalize the St. Nicholas neighborhood and act as its catalyst for redevelopment,” he said. “We were excited about taking an eyesore that was not supportive of a burgeoning community and then enhance that location.”

The property is located in a Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ), which means it has been designated as an economically distressed community in which new investments, under certain conditions, are eligible for preferential tax treatment. QOZs are designed to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities.

“QOZ is a federal program that gives us long-term tax breaks if we invest long-term in the project. We intend to hold the asset for many years,” Rosen said. “We worked closely with City Council Member LeAnna Cumber and the City’s Planning Department on the entitlements for the project.”

The Jack is the fourth project in Jacksonville developed by Chance and EJF, following the opening of San Marco Promenade in 2019, The Exchange and Barlow in 2021 and Eastborough, which will open in early 2023. All of these developments are located in Jacksonville’s St. Nicholas and San Marco neighborhoods.

“There’s such a diversity of communities, businesses and service sectors in this city. The Jack is not only ideally located near the Baptist Medical Center and Wolfson Children’s Hospital, but it will also provide housing for the local workforce of major employers in Jacksonville’s growing financial services, advanced transportation, logistics, biomedical and manufacturing industries, as well as the military,” said Rosen.

By Karen Rieley
Resident Community News

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