The Southbank's next major urban infill project on the horizon is scheduled to break ground before this Summer. The Chase Properties, Inc development is expected to be under construction for 18 months before opening its doors in late 2008/early 2009.
Kings Avenue Station will be located, just south of I-95, directly adjacent to the Kings Avenue Garage and skyway station. It will be JTA's first planned transit oriented development (TOD), bringing in an additional ridership base for the Skyway Express.
The commercial complex will consist of two 8-story adjoining hotels, facing Kings Avenue, along with a mid-rise apartment building between the hotels and I-95. Both the Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites by Hilton will have 110 rooms each.
The $60 million dollar development will also include up to six restaurants at street level. The project is intended to present itself to the street in a more urban classical sense, rather than making an attempt at a "Mediterranean" theme, which many of other local projects tend to do.
Consuming about two city blocks, this project, with it's heavy focus on providing a quality pedestrian experience at street level, should become a catalyst for additional development in the Hendricks Avenue corridor between San Marco Square and the Southbank.
Originally announced a few years ago, the project's design has changed tremendously. The original design anticipated the project containing only retail and office space.
Along with this mixed-use hotel project, Chase Properties is also proposing an aerial cable car system that could connect the Southbank with the Northbank, near the Stadium District. Estimated to cost $8 million per mile, this cable system would use gondolas (as shown above) to carry passengers 150' above the St. Johns River. If successful, a second link could be built to connect the stadium area with the Jacksonville Landing and the central skyway station along Bay Street, completing a transit loop in the central business district.
The developer intends to put together a committee to study the feasibility of such a transit system within the next month or so.