The mixed-use storage project will be built at the site of the former Basil Thai restaurant. | Casmira Harrison, Jacksonville TodayThe mixed-use storage project will be built at the site of the former Basil Thai restaurant. | Casmira Harrison, Jacksonville Today
The mixed-use storage project will be built at the site of the former Basil Thai restaurant. | Casmira Harrison, Jacksonville Today

Controversial San Marco storage project gets City Council OK

Published on April 24, 2024 at 6:33 am

Jacksonville City Council on Tuesday approved a developer’s request to rezone a San Marco corner to build a 10-story, mixed-use project on the Southbank that includes affordable housing, retail and a controversial self-storage element — much to the frustration of many residents and several council members.

In an 11-8 vote, most elected officials agreed with the Land Use and Zoning Committee’s recommendation last week to allow the project at Hendricks Avenue and Prudential Drive, where the former Basil Thai restaurant sits.

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Councilman Nick Howland was among the elected officials who voted to allow the rezoning.

He said that over the course of several years, he has felt the developer has worked to listen to the people in the area and tweak the plans.

“This developer has taken neighborhood designs into consideration,” Howland said.

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Councilman Michael Boylan said that although he was unconvinced in the beginning, he now felt the project was a good one.

“Last time, it was disingenuous to call it mixed-use, but now it is,” Boylan told his colleagues. Naming off a list of agreements made by the developer in the design of the project, Boylan added, “We are looking at a $40 million investment. … It’s a good compromise.”

Votes against the project included Council President Ron Salem and council members Ken Amaro, Raul Arias, Tyrona Clark-Murray, Will Lahnen and Jimmy Peluso, as well as both Matt Carlucci and Joe Carlucci, whose districts encompass the Southbank area.

Councilman Joe Carlucci reiterated his main concern — that city staff advised that the project was not consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan and overlay, or neighborhood land rule requirements.

Carlucci said staff has continually recommended denial “over and over.”

An opposition sign hangs on a fence near the project site. | Casmira Harrison, Jacksonville Today

“Why is this getting denied over and over again?” Carlucci asked. “They have to base their denial on facts.”

Carlucci was referring to the Downtown zoning overlay, which does not permit storage units in the area.

Matt Carlucci described his colleagues’ support as “a bunch of bunk.”

He said residents have not come to an agreement.

“I don’t see mutual consent,” Matt Carlucci said. “There is none.”

But in the end, the council agreed to the plan.

Also, in a 16-3 vote, City Council agreed to a $6 million loan for the affordable housing element part of the project. Additionally, in a 15-4 vote, council agreed to tweak the rules for a tie vote.

Back in June, when Councilman Rory Diamond was absent on military leave, an earlier request by developer Simpson ended in a tied vote — 9 to 9.

Because of City Council rules, the vote constituted a denial.

On Tuesday, elected officials basically agreed that a tie vote will no longer mean complete denial of a request. Instead, the issue could be re-referred back down to committees to return to a full council at a later date.

UPDATE: This article has been update to reflect all council members who voted against the rezoning request.


author image Reporter

Casmira Harrison is a Jacksonville Today reporter focusing on local government in Duval County.

author image Reporter

Casmira Harrison is a Jacksonville Today reporter focusing on local government in Duval County.


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