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The Lofts at Cathedral is one of the projects that have broken ground.

THE JAXSON | 6 Downtown projects now under construction

Published on August 2, 2022 at 8:44 pm

Though largely happening in the outskirts, new construction is happening in Downtown Jacksonville. Here’s a look at six projects moving forward now.

Four Seasons Hotel & Residences

Developer: Iguana Investments

Address: Metropolitan Park

The new development centered on the Four Seasons Hotel Jacksonville is scheduled to break ground later this year on the former grounds of Metropolitan Park on the Stadium District waterfront. The project is being spearheaded by the Jaguars, Shad Khan’s Iguana Investments and luxury hotel developer PCL Construction. The project will include a 176-room, five-star hotel, 25 luxury condos and a six-floor office building.

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One of a series of proposals the Jaguars have announced for the area around TIAA Bank Field, and the Jacksonville City Council approved $114 million in taxpayer incentives for the Four Seasons project in October 2021. In turn, Khan’s development team will invest at least $301 million. The project was approved by the Downtown Development Review Board in May 2022.

Home2 Suites by Hilton

Address: 600 Park Street

Developer: Kelco Management and Development Inc. and Corner Lot Development Group

Another long-vacant lot is giving way to new development in Brooklyn’s Park Street corridor. Home2 Suites by Hilton is an all-suite extended-stay hotel featuring 100 rooms, lifestyle amenities and space for a restaurant with outdoor seating on the Roselle Street side. The 10,720-square-foot building is being developed by a partnership between Kelco Management & Development and Corner Lot Development Group and is anticipated to cost $17 million. This is one of several new projects coming to Park Street in Brooklyn, a corridor with high potential to be redeveloped as a dense, pedestrian-friendly commercial strip.

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LaVilla shotgun house repairs

Developer: City of Jacksonville

Address: Northeast corner of West Church and Jefferson streets

Work has begun to restore three historic shotgun houses that have been located on a property on Jefferson Street since the 1900s. Sanborn maps indicate these houses were constructed between 1903 and 1912. They were originally located at 612, 614, and 616 Lee St., which was a part of McIntosh & Reed’s addition to LaVilla.

Privately occupied until the city’s River City Renaissance program, which resulted in demolition of most of LaVilla and the removal of its residents, these three houses were acquired by the city and relocated to the present site. At the time, the city’s intent was to rehabilitate them for educational purposes as an example of a popular but vanishing housing type found in many urban Black neighborhoods during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The current restoration is expected to be complete in spring 2023.

The shotgun houses represent the Folk Victorian style of architecture, which was popular between 1870 and 1910. This style is defined by the application of Victorian decorative detailing on simple frame structures in an attempt to mimic the popular high Victorian architecture of the era. Many scholars believe shotgun houses reflect African building traditions that entered the American Southeast via the transatlantic slave trade through the Caribbean Islands, starting in New Orleans and brought to cities like Jacksonville by migrating Black freedmen. 

Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park

Developer: City of Jacksonville

Address: Southwest corner of West Adams and Lee streets

In 2015, the Durkeeville Historical Society and city of Jacksonville collaborated to dedicate the birthsite of two native sons, James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson, as Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park. This site, located at 120 Lee St., is where the brothers composed their famous song “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” now known as the Black national anthem, in February 1900.

On October 1, 2020, the City of Jacksonville hosted a press conference at The Jessie Ball duPont Center to publicly unveil a plan to redesign the site into a first-class public space. Bringing in noted California-based landscape architect Walter Hood, known for landscapes that highlight the Black experience, the project is anticipated to cost $2 million. The project broke ground in July 2022, and construction is expected to be completed in fall 2023. Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park will be linked to 15 other historic neighborhoods and Downtown Jacksonville through the Emerald Trail project, which will eventually encompass approximately 30 miles of trails, greenways and parks encircling the urban core.

Lofts at Cathedral

Developer: The Vestcor Companies

Address: 325 and 327 E. Duval St.

The Lofts at Cathedral is a mixed-income project that would include the renovation of the Cathedral District’s former YWCA Building and the construction of a five-floor multifamily structure. Combined, the $28.78 million project will add 120 apartment units to the neighborhood. Approved by the Downtown Development Review Board in January 2022 after a number of tweaks to the design, work continues on the project, one of several moving forward or recently completed in the Cathedral District.

RD River City Brewery Apartments

Developer:  The Related Group

Address: 835 Museum Circle

Work continues on the new apartment development replacing the former River City Brewing Company site in the Downtown Southbank. RD River City Brewery Apartments will include an eight-story structure with 328 units, restaurant space facing Friendship Fountain Park and the riverfront, and a 511-space parking garage. It will occupy the former site of the longtime brewery and restaurant, demolished this summer, and the adjacent surface parking lot. Related will also manage the adjacent marina and a shop for boaters, providing 20 slips for public use.

Originally not including the restaurant space, the project faced public pushback when it was first announced in October 2021, as it would be replacing one of the few remaining waterfront eateries anywhere in Downtown Jacksonville. Following public input, the developers updated the plans into a mixed-use development that would replace River City Brewing Company with space for a new restaurant. The ambitious $93 million project is projected to be completed in 2025.

author image The Jaxson email Bill Delaney is a writer whose work focuses on the history and culture of the First Coast. He currently serves as City Council liaison for Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan. author image The Jaxson email Ennis Davis, AICP is an urban planner and member of the city of Jacksonville's Downtown Development Review Board. He is also co-owner of The Jaxson and Modern Cities.

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