SouthEast Development Group Submits Riverfront Jacksonville Proposal

  • by Nick Swantek
  • October 21, 2021
  • 451 views

SouthEast Development Group today announced its submission of a proposal for the Riverfront Jacksonville: a comprehensive, multi-phased, mixed-use plan for the Northbank of Downtown Jacksonville. The plan was delivered as an unsolicited proposal to the City of Jacksonville, the Downtown Investment Authority and the City Council on Tuesday, October 19. 

The proposal reflects an expanded version of the vision plan that was released to the community on June 1, and now comprises:

  • A hydrokinetic green energy facility

  • 15 acres of riverfront public park and plaza spaces with resiliency infrastructure

  • More than 1,000 multifamily units (including apartments and condominiums)

  • A 208-room, entertainment-oriented, boutique-style hotel

  • 90,000 square feet of Well-certified office space, which could be converted to multifamily based on market demand

  • 155,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space

  • A 280,000-square-foot Exhibition, Entertainment & Technology Center with retail and virtual venues

  • Approximately 4,500 structured parking spaces across five garages

  • An expanded pier with retail and entertainment venues

In addition to the physical spaces, the proposal outlines opportunities for corporate branding and leading Smart-City technologies, analytics and virtual programming.

“Since we released our original vision plan, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback. At the encouragement of our peers within the Downtown community, and with the backing of our finance team of Goldman Sachs and Piper Sandler & Co., we have expanded our concept as a master plan that is greater than the sum of its parts, reflecting all of the programming that is currently being considered along the Northbank of the St. Johns River,” said Steve Atkins, Principal of SouthEast Development Group. “This comprehensive plan represents a generational opportunity to secure billions of dollars in outside capital to create the Downtown our community deserves.” 

Components of the Riverfront Jacksonville will include:

  • Public Green Space: Approximately 15 acres of expansive riverfront parks and public spaces designed to incorporate programmed experiences and activity nodes, such as a flexible amphitheater, public art, retail and event plazas and branded golf greens. Park space will ensure development is set back significantly from the edge of the St. Johns River — aligning with recognized best practices in resilient urban design. The expanded plan includes more than 50 acres of potential public park and plaza spaces across its entire footprint.

  • Renewable Energy: A state-of-the-art, hydrokinetic green energy power facility is proposed to provide renewable energy to residents of the Riverfront Jacksonville footprint, as well as to the broader base of JEA customers in Downtown Jacksonville. This “in-stream” green energy facility would use the natural flow of the St. Johns River as a power source that will generate electricity directly from the continuous flow of water.

  • Resilient Design: Resilience is an essential part of the Riverfront Jacksonville sustainability plan, carefully addressed through the design of the park and open spaces, along with underground parking structures engineered to withstand and recover from severe weather events. In the event of coastal storms and flooding, subterranean parking trays will serve as stormwater vaults and pump stations. 

  • Building One: A sustainable split-level, mixed-use building will house 120,000 square feet of next-generation commercial office space with ground-level restaurant and retail. An open corridor design will provide unobstructed views of the river along Laura Street.

  • Building Two: A 14-level residential condominium tower will add 100 custom units to

Downtown’s housing inventory, all with panoramic views of Downtown and the St. Johns River. The building will include a state-of-the-art wellness center and retail spaces at the plaza level.

  • Building Three: A 208-room destination hotel and two-level interactive retail food hall called “30 North” (named for Jacksonville’s coordinates) will connect with a dynamic outdoor space designed to support year-round music and community events.

  • Buildings Four and Five: These buildings will feature 260 market-rate multifamily apartments, along with 44 condominium units for sale. The buildings will also feature a combined 17,250 square feet of ground-level retail, creating more programmed activities in and around the 15 acres of public park and plaza spaces with resiliency infrastructure outlined in the plan.

  • Building Six: As a future phase, the site of the Hyatt Regency Hotel’s current parking structure would be reimagined as a blend of multifamily apartments and residential condominiums.

  • Building Seven: A contemporary, forward-thinking Exhibition, Entertainment & Technology Center will re-energize the convention-oriented Hyatt Regency Hotel. The space will feature flexible design elements, virtual technologies and adaptive spaces, alongside retail and entertainment orientations on the ground level and rooftop spaces that are programmed 365 days a year to enhance the ever-evolving visitor experience.

  • Building Eight: An iconic, 27-level/410-unit residential tower with a mix of multifamily and condominium units will anchor the east end of the site. Another 50,000 square feet of retail spaces enhance the resident and visitor experience at the plaza level.

  • Marina and Boathouse Restaurant: A new retail and entertainment plaza at the base of Building Eight greets visitors to the site from Bay Street, Liberty Street and the new Marina Drive, while public activity spaces and a two-level boathouse restaurant are poised directly over the water around a three-acre river basin and public marina.

  • Pier One: A new addition to the plan, this area will include a pier, public market, retail and entertainment venues.  

  • Retail Plaza and Park: A new addition to the plan, this area will add to the volume of park and retail destinations available to the public.

  • Veteran’s Memorial Park and Relocated Memorial Wall: A new addition to the plan, this area will honor Northeast Florida’s veterans and military community.

  • Riverfront Restaurant and Bar: A new addition to the plan, this waterfront dining destination will feature approximately 12,000 square feet of dining and rooftop space.

The overall footprint of the plan integrates other existing and proposed programs, such as One Park Jax, the Jax Naval Museum (USS Orleck), the new Museum of Science & History (MOSH) and Iguana Investments’ plans for the Shipyards and Sports Performance Center. Additional future programs along the Northbank are also represented.

The Riverfront Jacksonville will be the largest public-private partnership in the history of Jacksonville and will generate substantial economic benefits and public revenues for the City over the coming decades. The $2 billion project financing team is led by Goldman Sachs and Piper Sandler & Co. 

An economic analysis by Bleakly Advisory Group of Atlanta, Georgia estimates the project will yield more than $1 billion in total economic impact from construction. Short-term economic impacts include an estimated 1,774 annual construction jobs with a cumulative payroll of $369 million over the seven-year construction timeline; more than 2,100 new permanent jobs in retail, restaurants, office and hospitality, with an annual payroll of $110 million; and $80 million in new retail spending. The plan delivers the potential for $430 million in total public revenue over the coming decade. Additional economic impact analysis (EIA) by Andrés Gallo and Chris Baynard of the University of North Florida estimates the project’s net present value would be positive as early as 2034. 

Over a two-year research period, SouthEast Development Group collaborated with several of the world’s leading finance, architecture, design, planning, engineering and technology groups to curate the Riverfront Jacksonville master plan. The project team includes Gensler, Nelson Worldwide and SWA Group, leading the design program; Brasfield & Gorrie, Danis and Swinerton, managing construction; ETM and THA Consulting to support engineering and planning; Olsen Associates, Inc. for resilient design; and ATCS for renewable energy and hydrokinetic power.

To learn more, visit jaxriverfront.com.

About SouthEast Development Group:

SouthEast Development Group, LLC (SouthEast) is a commercial real estate firm based in Jacksonville, Florida providing full development services, project management and asset management across the southeastern region of the United States. Southeast is a 2012 merger of four companies with operations dating back to 1987; Atkins Group, Inc, AGI Equities, Dav-Lin Construction Company and Linea, LLC. Today, the company specializes in integrated design-build of new construction, preservation and adaptive reuse programs, with a collective portfolio of projects from the Carolinas to South Florida of over $750 million. With a current focus on urban development, SouthEast is committed to the delivery of sustainable real estate assets providing long-term viability and added value to the community. SouthEast Community Investment Fund, LLC is certified by the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury to serve the Northeast Florida/Jacksonville MSA, including Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Nassau and Baker Counties.

SouthEast is one of the only active Community Development Entities (CDE) in the region, positioned to provide “community-centric” planned developments, with targeted investments from state and federal tax credits, federal subsidies and public-private partnerships. Since 2013, SouthEast has secured over $50 million in tax credit investments for new real estate developments and related businesses.

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