Northeast Florida Roundup
Changing the landscape in downtown Jacksonville
Two downtown projects could give Jacksonville a new look.
Municipal electric company JEA is negotiating with developers Peter Rummell and Michael Balanky after they won the bid for 28.6 acres on the Southbank where an electric power plant once stood. They have unveiled plans for a project called Healthy Town, a multi-use community with more than 1,000 residences, up to 150,000 square feet in retail and restaurant space and possibly a hotel, against the backdrop of the St. Johns River and the Riverwalk.
Balanky calls the site "the most important piece of real estate in Jacksonville" and says its development will spur not only the Southbank, but all of downtown Jacksonville.
Across the river is the Shipyard property, which stretches from downtown to Everbank Field. Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan has expressed an interest in becoming the master developer for the city-owned property, which encompasses 80 acres. Jaguars President Mark Lamping says Khan expects to submit his ideas soon; they will likely include a mix of housing, retail, restaurants and bars, a hotel and marina and some sort of attraction, Lamping says.
Rummell and Balanky, who formed Elements Development of Jacksonville, say their Healthy Town is a new concept aimed at "a growing market of all ages, both single and married, families and retirees," who are looking for a living environment that integrates elements and amenities that promote health.
The development will produce $8 million a year in ad valorem taxes to the city, Balanky says.
Both the Elements bid and the bid of Atlanta-based RocaPoint Partners were below the $35.6-million market value listed on property records. Elements bid $17.39 million, while RocaPoint bid $11.56 million for the JEA site, located next to the Duval County Board of Education building. If Elements and the electric company can agree on a contract, it will come back to the JEA board for approval, says Gerri Boyce, a JEA spokeswoman.