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Five Points Village Plans Cause Concern

In June 2012, Five Points Village was partially destroyed by fire. Now Peter Sleiman's Retail Properties, Inc. is prepared to improve their strip mall and the community isn't happy about it.

Published November 6, 2012 in Development      49 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

The Redevelopment Plan

Retail Properties is currently proposing to renovate their fire damaged shopping center.  Plans include reducing the center to 17,000 square feet instead of rebuilding to the original 21,000 square foot footprint. The extra land would be converted into additional surface parking. A new facade, sidewalk seating areas, and better landscaping are also a part of the plan.  


Proposed Five Points Village site plan


Proposed Five Points Village front facade


Proposed Post Street facade


Proposed Forbes Street facade


Neighborhood Opposition

As a part of the redevelopment plan, Retail Properties, Inc. desires to rezone the property to allow the development to ignore zoning buffers, setbacks, signage and landscaping.  Led by Riverside Avondale Preservation, several residents desire to see the existing structure possibly demolished and relocated closer to Margaret Street.  A structure that embraces Margaret Street would better fit within the character and scale of Five Points, strengthening walkability and activity between Post Street, Riverside Park and Memorial Park.  In addition, the shopping center's dumpsters are seen as a nuisance to adjacent neighborhoods and a better solution is desired.  In response, an alternative plan has been developed for consideration by the developer.


Alternative site plan suggested by Riverside Avondale Preservation

However, this plan doesn't exactly align with economic reality.  For example, the retail center already exist and is occupied by tenants with lease agreements in place.  Completely demolishing a viable retail structure and replacing it with a relocated structure would be a significant financial burden to the property owner.  In addition, constructing a new building to block the visibility of the existing retail structure, basically reduces the marketability and viability of the center's existing retail tenants and the building's overall value.


City of Jacksonville Planning and Development Department's Recommendation


The removal of this drive thru ATM machine is one of several conditions Retail Properties, Inc. would have to meet in its efforts to gain approval to move forward with the proposed redevelopment plan.

On October 24, 2012, the Planning and Development Department recommended approval of Retail Properties' application with a laundry list of conditions to meet.  In short, working to meet this list of conditions for approval essentially means a complete redesign of what has been proposed by Retail Properties, Inc. The list of conditions are listed below:

 a) The new storefronts shall be redesigned to include transoms and knee walls on all units.

b) The four units with tile roofs shall have columns added at the ends to provide a terminus for the tile roof, define the opening for the awning and offer additional delineation between units.

c) The taller corner units shall extend 40-50% down the side elevations on Forbes Street and Post Street with the proposed glass storefronts limited to the same area.

d) The lower units with the tile roofs shall be consistent in height and a maximum of 20 feet.  The two end units shall be a maximum of 25 feet in height.  The middle unit shall be no more than 27 feet.  The rear wall of the building along the property line of the adjacent residence on Forbes Street and the back 50-60% portion of the Forbes Street elevation shall be no higher than the existing walls in these areas (approximately 15 feet).

e) Any mechanical equipment placed on the end units shall be placed behind the higher wall sections and at least 20 feet from the adjacent residential lots to limit visibility.

f) The band detail above the storefronts shown on the two end units shall be eliminated or not extend into the columns.

g) More information and product specifications shall be provided on the dark brown storefront detail on the middle unit and the black granite tiles proposed for the knee walls on the end units to  ensure compatibility.  

h) The sidewalks on Forbes Street shall not be expanded for caf seating.

i) A central internal walkway through landscaped medians with shade trees shall be provided through the front parking lot.

j) All crosswalks shall be done with bricklike pavers.

k) Driveway access to the main parking area shall be limited to one on Post Street and one on Forbes Street.

l) All right-of-way areas beyond the conditioned driveway accesses and angled parking on Margaret Street shall be retained and/or altered to traditional green spaces.

m) Any freestanding ATMs shall be eliminated from the site.

n) A landscaped buffer shall be provided on the south and west property lines of the Post Street lot.  The proposed rear addition shall be amended as needed to accommodate the buffer.

o) All site lighting shall be of a pedestrian scale and have a historic appearance.

p) The knee wall with the sign at the front of the property shall be eliminated.

q) The site plan shall be amended to include a minimum of a  2-foot perimeter landscaping buffer.

r) The monument sign shall be limited to 6 feet in height.

s) No signage shall be internally illuminated.

t) The proposed buffer wall shall be amended to have a more traditional design with the end of each height section terminating verses initiating with a column and each column having a separate raised cap.  

u) A matching 2 foot knee wall shall be added to each side of the driveway on the Post Street lot with a landscaped area behind it.

v) The dumpster enclosure shall be at least 8 feet in height in order to fully screen the equipment with 100% opaque, fully-framed doors constructed of a durable material.

w) The rear wall of the addition shall be stucco to match the Post Street elevation.  

x) Small changes to accommodate zoning or other regulated building/site requirements that do no conflict with the adopted conditions or stated concerns of the Commission may be handled administratively.

y) All amended plans and product information shall be provided to staff for review/approval prior to permitting.


Further Recommendations:
 
a) Any restaurant and/or sidewalk seating should be limited to the units from the middle of the building to the Post Street end.

b) An arcade with column spacing similar to the existing could be incorporated on 1-3 of the larger units.

c) Historic details such as terra cotta scuppers, decorative metal grills or cast stone vents could be incorporated into the design to provide architectural interest.

d) The colonial style lighting on the end units could be reconsidered and potentially eliminated.  

e) The use of wider display window panes is more appropriate.

f) The use of large planters at store entries to help provide  urban landscaping along the faade is encouraged.

g) Additional landscaped islands could be added to the right-of-way parking on Margaret to allow for the retention of existing trees in this area.

h) The dumpster enclosure should include a trellis design to provide screening when viewed from above the structure.




Tragedy Presents Opportunity



The Wasabi Buffet fire that destroyed that business and portion of the shopping center was a tragedy for many.  However, Retail Properties' decision to renovate the fire damaged center should be commended and viewed as an opportunity to improve the area.  With this in mind, a compromise that doesn't significantly increase redevelopment costs could be possible by a redesign of the destroyed Wasabi Buffet area.

While many would like to see something as urban as Black Sheep's project a few blocks east, the economic reality of the situation is that isn't going to happen.  However, improving the center's, walkability, character, scale, and dumpster nuisance situation could be viable by not reconstructing the entire portion of the center already destroyed by fire.

Instead, of rebuilding the same footprint, if the shopping center were treated like any other strip retail center, one could view reconstruction as being a new retail structure of equal size, serving as an "outparcel" that embraces the street.  Combined with better sidewalks and landscaping along Maragaret Street (already proposed), the structure helps strengthen connectivity between the shopping center and Five Points, while also maintaining visibility to the existing retail structure.  

For example, shifting this structure to the intersection of Margaret and Forbes Streets, places it within a few feet from Derby on Park and Hovan's.  With this structure, an interior sidewalk connecting the existing retail structure to Margaret Street, becomes an activity center with outdoor dining and retail frontage, instead of an isolated sidewalk in the middle of a surface parking lot.  It creates an opportunity to resolve the dumpster nuisance situation by relocating them to an interior area of the site that can be better buffered from adjacent residents, while also being more accessible to the retail area's tenants.



Described concept above, incorporating remarks from the community overlayed over Retail Properties, Inc. proposed site plan.



Sketch of key features of a site plan combining the needs and desires of both parties.


The buildings in front of Publix, at Margaret and Riverside, are examples of what is described above.  Publix still has visibility to drive by vehicular traffic, while smaller outparcel buildings along the street, strengthen and improve the pedestrian experience where the site meets the sidewalk.

Does this mean that this is the best example available that may be fair to all parties involved? No. However, it suggests if all parties come together and honestly work with one another, a series of viable alternatives achieving the desired goals of the community and property owner may come to light.

Editorial by Ennis Davis

For additional information visit: http://residentnews.net/2012/11/05/5-points-village-rezoning-application-draws-ire/







49 Comments

Captain Zissou

November 06, 2012, 11:34:11 AM
Retail Properties is making an effort, which is commendable.  In looking at the aerial for the site as well as the proposed RAP plans, I just don't think that is feasible.  The hybrid proposal will break up the site significantly, but it may be the only to put something up against the street.  If this site is done well, and the Pizza Palace property can be redeveloped, the connection between 5 points and Riverside Park will be very strong.  Riverside/Avondale has a number of commercial strips, but very few multi-block districts that extend in all directions. A large district encompassing Riverside Park to Memorial Park and along Lomax, Oak, Post, Park, and Riverside Ave is our best chance at this so each site needs to be designed towards the optimum use in regards to connectivity and pedestrian use.

fsujax

November 06, 2012, 11:34:41 AM
whats wrong with internally illuminated signs?

PeeJayEss

November 06, 2012, 11:41:30 AM
I thought the alternative plan, which appeared to be proposed by Retail Partners, was a pretty decent alternative, better even than the sketched one. Wouldn't the building fronting all of Margaret be ideal?

thelakelander

November 06, 2012, 11:43:31 AM
Specialty retail that has no visibility has no value.  Placing a building in front of an existing specialty retail center without some sort of anchor to pull people into only runs your tenants out of business.

cline

November 06, 2012, 11:56:08 AM
So no widening of the sidewalks on Forbes Street and no outdoor seating for the parcels at the ends of the strip?  I'm with CZ and Lake, having two separate buildings doesn't sound like a good idea.  That being said, isn't the Doll House looking to relocate since they had to make way for the Overland Bridge?

Captain Zissou

November 06, 2012, 12:15:17 PM
The ideal would be a mirror image of the previous site plan fronting Margaret and Park with patio seating facing the Forbes/Margaret corner and the Park/Margaret corner.  That is too much to ask of the developer without the city offering to pay for much of it.  That said, the only way to do it would be the metrojax proposed plan with a small structure fronting Margaret with patio seating on the north side that doesn't obstruct the view of the back building. 

What buildings are between Hovan and the former Wasabi?  They look like houses from the aerial view, but at street view they look to be commercial.

Tacachale

November 06, 2012, 12:29:35 PM
Just shows why it never should have been zoned for a strip mall in the first place. There's almost nothing that can be done to fix it.

PeeJayEss

November 06, 2012, 01:15:04 PM
What buildings are between Hovan and the former Wasabi?  They look like houses from the aerial view, but at street view they look to be commercial.

Parking lot, office building (house), then Forbes.

Aren't storefronts along Margaret the best use of the commercial land? Why not rebuild in two phases: the alternatively-proposed building along the full block on Margaret, then knock down the rest of the existing building. Rebuild it so that it is along Post and eliminate the separate parking lot and extra entrance to the property on Post.

The Forbes street side doesn't come out good in any of these scenarios, but the cars need their spaces, I suppose.

thelakelander

November 06, 2012, 01:31:18 PM
Aren't storefronts along Margaret the best use of the commercial land? Why not rebuild in two phases: the alternatively-proposed building along the full block on Margaret, then knock down the rest of the existing building. Rebuild it so that it is along Post and eliminate the separate parking lot and extra entrance to the property on Post.

There's nothing wrong with the majority of the existing structure and it's 100% leased with tenants already in it.  You can't force the existing owner to spend millions on a new building product that would render the existing leased structure useless.  If push came to shove, the owner could simply call it a day, clean up the site, put up some fresh paint and call it a day without doing anything else.

Quote
The Forbes street side doesn't come out good in any of these scenarios, but the cars need their spaces, I suppose.

The Forbes Street side basically remains the same in the two alternative scenarios shown.  You'd end up with a building on the corner with parking in the rear.  This is less about cars and more about economics, unless the community is willing to throw money into the pot.

Overstreet

November 06, 2012, 01:58:34 PM
If I were the owner of the property I'd think that the city was being pretty loose with my money. Especially since the city doesn't honnor their committments.  I'd more likely tear down the damaged structure for safety sake, weather proof the end of the building, plant and water the bare land for errosion control, and wait. 

Captain Zissou

November 06, 2012, 02:41:00 PM
If I were the owner of the property I'd think that the city was being pretty loose with my money. Especially since the city doesn't honnor their committments.  I'd more likely tear down the damaged structure for safety sake, weather proof the end of the building, plant and water the bare land for errosion control, and wait. 

Wait for what?  Does the city owe them money?

PeeJayEss

November 06, 2012, 03:41:10 PM
There's nothing wrong with the majority of the existing structure and it's 100% leased with tenants already in it.  You can't force the existing owner to spend millions on a new building product that would render the existing leased structure useless.

But isn't that Margaret-fronting building exactly what they proposed in their "alternative"? In that case, they are proposing to tank the building in back, and you are the one worried about them losing money on the existing building. I just happen to think the Margaret-fronting piece of the design is the best part of any designs shown, and it doesn't matter to me if it kills the existing building. It seems like the metrojax alternative is designed to save the developer/owner money and the tanking of the back building in exchange for an inferior product along Margaret. I'd rather get the better product along Margaret, let the developer realize their error, and then let them figure that part out too.

thelakelander

November 06, 2012, 03:53:15 PM
I thought the alternative plan, which appeared to be proposed by Retail Partners, was a pretty decent alternative, better even than the sketched one. Wouldn't the building fronting all of Margaret be ideal?

This plan?  It was proposed by RAP, not the developer.

thelakelander

November 06, 2012, 03:56:06 PM
There's nothing wrong with the majority of the existing structure and it's 100% leased with tenants already in it.  You can't force the existing owner to spend millions on a new building product that would render the existing leased structure useless.

But isn't that Margaret-fronting building exactly what they proposed in their "alternative"?

This is what the developer is proposing:




Quote
In that case, they are proposing to tank the building in back, and you are the one worried about them losing money on the existing building. I just happen to think the Margaret-fronting piece of the design is the best part of any designs shown, and it doesn't matter to me if it kills the existing building.

I think you have the plans confused and it never really matters as much when the one not caring isn't footing the financial bill.  If you had your cash in the game, the value of your holding would matter.

Quote
It seems like the metrojax alternative is designed to save the developer/owner money and the tanking of the back building in exchange for an inferior product along Margaret. I'd rather get the better product along Margaret, let the developer realize their error, and then let them figure that part out too.

The alternative I created was simply a merging of the two to achieve various goals expressed by each party while also considering the financial reality of the situation.

sheclown

November 06, 2012, 04:04:36 PM
I was at the HPC meeting.

I wanted to die.

I don't understand the fixation on micro-details and then having to read those details into the minutes.

God save us from hours of reading into the minutes things that adults ought to be able to read on their own.



stephendare

November 06, 2012, 04:06:11 PM
I think Im in line with RAP and PeeJayEss on this one.  Street fronting retail development is better. 

cline

November 06, 2012, 04:08:21 PM
Lake, I think your version is a good compromise, although I could see those who are complaining about Forbes not going with it since it has outdoor seating on corner of Forbes and Margaret. 

"a) Any restaurant and/or sidewalk seating should be limited to the units from the middle of the building to the Post Street end."

thelakelander

November 06, 2012, 04:15:01 PM
I think Im in line with RAP and PeeJayEss on this one.  Street fronting retail development is better. 

How do you pay for the construction of the new structure?  Are you suggesting the developer is fully responsible for it, even though there is no logical financial reason for them to do so? 

If so, what stops the developer from simply throwing their hands up, cleaning up the existing site, painting the existing building and moving on without doing anything else? 

thelakelander

November 06, 2012, 04:27:23 PM
Lake, I think your version is a good compromise, although I could see those who are complaining about Forbes not going with it since it has outdoor seating on corner of Forbes and Margaret. 

"a) Any restaurant and/or sidewalk seating should be limited to the units from the middle of the building to the Post Street end."

I wonder if this would change, given the location of the seating?  The noise impact of outdoor seating for residences on Forbes would be significantly different if seating were located on Maragaret Street instead of near the side rear of the property, closer to residential uses.

stephendare

November 06, 2012, 04:39:14 PM
I think Im in line with RAP and PeeJayEss on this one.  Street fronting retail development is better. 

How do you pay for the construction of the new structure?  Are you suggesting the developer is fully responsible for it, even though there is no logical financial reason for them to do so? 

If so, what stops the developer from simply throwing their hands up, cleaning up the existing site, painting the existing building and moving on without doing anything else?

well any argument in reducto adsurdium will be unanswerable, I think.

And keep in mind that I think that the attempt to tinker with the mechanics of individual merchant business plans is untenable, but in terms of requesting that the developer begin thinking in urbanist terms is a step forward for the community.

Now this is Peter, not Toney, and its entirely possible that he might have a more broadminded view on these strip malls.

Even working from the compromise plan that Lake formulated, it is entirely possible that there is a financial benefit to interior courtyard parking for the developer.

And where is there any documentation that the addition of a building along margaret street would 'kill' the original tenants?

Does anyone think that the starbucks and UPS are 'killing' the Publix?

Has anyone actually spoken to Peter about this?

stephendare

November 06, 2012, 04:42:58 PM
I think Im in line with RAP and PeeJayEss on this one.  Street fronting retail development is better. 

How do you pay for the construction of the new structure?  Are you suggesting the developer is fully responsible for it, even though there is no logical financial reason for them to do so? 

If so, what stops the developer from simply throwing their hands up, cleaning up the existing site, painting the existing building and moving on without doing anything else?

well any argument in reducto adsurdium will be unanswerable, I think.

And keep in mind that I think that the attempt to tinker with the mechanics of individual merchant business plans is untenable, but in terms of requesting that the developer begin thinking in urbanist terms is a step forward for the community.

Now this is Peter, not Toney, and its entirely possible that he might have a more broadminded view on these strip malls.

Even working from the compromise plan that Lake formulated, it is entirely possible that there is a financial benefit to interior courtyard parking for the developer.

And where is there any documentation that the addition of a building along margaret street would 'kill' the original tenants?

Does anyone think that the starbucks and UPS are 'killing' the Publix?

Has anyone actually spoken to Peter about this?

I just put in a call to Peter Sleiman's office.  The project manager is Barney Smith and will be calling back a bit later.

April

November 06, 2012, 04:50:00 PM
Only 3 storefronts currently occupy 5 Points Village that I'm aware of now.  Also I doubt seriously that the  "market" at the Park end has any plans to start serving food to leverage outdoor seating...  Which begs the question; "how long term are the leases?".  There's been alot of questions like this that seems to have been taken at face value.  At the end of the day there's an opportunity here to change a parcel that has been questionable for sometime and bring it up to the standard this community has fought hard to establish...   

         

thelakelander

November 06, 2012, 04:57:47 PM
Only 3 storefronts currently occupy 5 Points Village that I'm aware of now.  Also I doubt seriously that the  "market" at the Park end has any plans to start serving food to leverage outdoor seating...  Which begs the question; "how long term are the leases?".  There's been alot of questions like this that seems to have been taken at face value.  At the end of the day there's an opportunity here to change a parcel that has been questionable for sometime and bring it up to the standard this community has fought hard to establish...

I absolutely agree.  I just don't think a line should be instantly drawn in the sand that requires something that may not make financial sense at this point.  Such a position could result in the opportunity being completely lost and the property remaining in its current state.

peestandingup

November 06, 2012, 04:58:54 PM
If I were them, I'd first be worrying about why the strip in Five Points itself is only half occupied. Have any of them taken a walk through there lately?? LOTS of vacant storefronts. Especially for a "thriving" urban area.

ben says

November 06, 2012, 05:12:37 PM
If I were them, I'd first be worrying about why the strip in Five Points itself is only half occupied. Have any of them taken a walk through there lately?? LOTS of vacant storefronts. Especially for a "thriving" urban area.

I think there are many reasons for the vacancies. One is the old Fuel..that place is huge and is sort of the beacon of 5 Points shops...been vacant for years. Someone told me why it's vacant awhile back but I've since forgotten. Something along the lines of lazy owner or the owner doesn't want to invest in the necessary repairs. Could be wrong there--so don't quote me on it.

The other issue is the astronomical prices. I've looked at purchasing some of these storefronts and the price they are asking dictates the "what are you kidding me?" response...I believe the jewelry store is for sale for over 500k.

I think there is still a lot of uncertainty about 5 Points, especially with the older generations. I've talked to many above-50 year olds who still think 5 Points is seedy and where kids go to get dope, drunk, or get shot (my friend was shot right in front of the shoe store about 8 years ago).


thelakelander

November 06, 2012, 05:13:08 PM
And where is there any documentation that the addition of a building along margaret street would 'kill' the original tenants?

Where is there a specialty strip retail center with limited visibility and no anchor space that's fully leased in town?

Quote
Does anyone think that the starbucks and UPS are 'killing' the Publix?

Put the UPS on Goodwin Street directly behind Publix, without illuminated signage, midblock between Riverside Avenue and Oak Street and let me know how it fares. I'm willing to bet if they had their choice of spaces to lease, that specific location wouldn't come near the top.

With that said, there are a few major differences here.  Publix is a 28,000 sf anchor that has visibility along the most traveled roadway accessing that site, which is Riverside Avenue.   In addition, here we're talking about less than 70' of space between existing and proposed buildings.  With the Publix example, you have nearly 170' between them at Sushi Cafe and 300' between the grocery store and the Margaret strip. These are significant differences.

Quote
Has anyone actually spoken to Peter about this?

I haven't personally but you can read their comments on the proposed plan here:

Quote
But Diebenow said that scenario, and other plans RAP has presented are simply not feasible.

“As far as the plans they’ve asked us to consider, they’ve asked us to tear it down and move it forward — we just can’t do that,” Diebenow said. “We have tenants right now with leases. It’s not possible to buy them out of leases and tear it down and move it forward. And tearing down a portion of the building and reconfiguring it? Unfortunately that won’t work either — we have gone out to the market to see if tenants would rent space with a building in front of it, it’s just not marketable.

This is a retail center with small, individual users and as a result they all want visibility, frontage and signage. Putting one building in front the other would render the back building unusable.”

full article: http://residentnews.net/2012/11/05/5-points-village-rezoning-application-draws-ire/

thelakelander

November 06, 2012, 05:16:23 PM
If I were them, I'd first be worrying about why the strip in Five Points itself is only half occupied. Have any of them taken a walk through there lately?? LOTS of vacant storefronts. Especially for a "thriving" urban area.

Or they could look down the street at Riverside and Margaret and see fully leased retail centers.  However, in this particular case, it's not like they are developing a site from scratch.  They are simply renovating the fire damaged center they already own.

stephendare

November 06, 2012, 05:27:24 PM
ah.  so they are already on record and Steve is representing them.

Perhaps Steve is compiling clients for a class action against RAP.

That would be too bad for RAP, I think. They have such a positive role that they could be playing.

Design standards like this one are something I agree with, as a regular customer of the maytag laundry there (they do a wonderful wash and fold, and I really like the family) and a former customer of MetroPOS, i would assume that both businesses are destinations and not as dependent on passing vehicular traffic for visibility.

People generally find MetroPOS online, and there isnt another coin operated laundry until you get to king street.

And I cant imagine that the smoke shop will lose a single customer.

ben says

November 06, 2012, 05:29:50 PM
ah.  so they are already on record and Steve is representing them.

Perhaps Steve is compiling clients for a class action against RAP.

That would be too bad for RAP, I think. They have such a positive role that they could be playing.

Design standards like this one are something I agree with, as a regular customer of the maytag laundry there (they do a wonderful wash and fold, and I really like the family) and a former customer of MetroPOS, i would assume that both businesses are destinations and not as dependent on passing vehicular traffic for visibility.

People generally find MetroPOS online, and there isnt another coin operated laundry until you get to king street.

And I cant imagine that the smoke shop will lose a single customer.

Best. Coin. Operated. Laundry. Ever.

And yeah, people love the Tropical. Probably always will!

Not trying to hijack the thread, but it's pretty damn related....whats up with the old Pizza Palace?

thelakelander

November 06, 2012, 05:31:22 PM
ah.  so they are already on record and Steve is representing them.

Perhaps Steve is compiling clients for a class action against RAP.

That would be too bad for RAP, I think. They have such a positive role that they could be playing.

Design standards like this one are something I agree with, as a regular customer of the maytag laundry there (they do a wonderful wash and fold, and I really like the family) and a former customer of MetroPOS, i would assume that both businesses are destinations and not as dependent on passing vehicular traffic for visibility.

People generally find MetroPOS online, and there isnt another coin operated laundry until you get to king street.

And I cant imagine that the smoke shop will lose a single customer.

But you can imagine that a retail building with visibility would be more valuable to the owner than one without visibility.

strider

November 06, 2012, 06:58:37 PM
Here's the issue with setting the standards too high.  They can still appeal to city council and win if HPC makes it too difficult or too costly.  There is also a clause or two in the related ordinances that allow for financial hardship, meaning that there are limits to what you can make the owner spend to accomplish what you want compared to what he wants to do or you would have to do without the historic issues.  The original proposal seems like it was reasonable, even if not to the current urban way of thinking.  What RAP wants, big surprise, is not reasonable.  You could make an argument that Lake's suggestion is a decent compromise, but then I can easily see a justification that the owner need not compromise and just get city council to back their play.  The sad truth is the design of this plaza may make a difference to the area some decade, but certainly not within the lives of most of us here on this forum.  And by then, it will be financial feasible to rebuild it to the latest urban specs.  Heck, then they will want to.   Lots has to happen before that though.

We are still struggling to recover from an economic disaster that effected 95% of us and badly hurt 20 to 25% of us.  Perhaps it is time to recognize that a not perfect window can be replaced later on and that the plaza design hasn't hurt the community for the last 25 years so it wont kill us during the next 20.  Yes, perhaps we need to start moving back to a true urban way of life, but as it took 60 to 70 years to get this car dependent, what makes anyone think it won't take at least as long to get back to were we were ( transit/ urban design wise) in 1915?

urbanlibertarian

November 07, 2012, 01:59:07 PM
Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

fsujax

November 07, 2012, 02:11:21 PM
I know this is a little off topic, but does anyone know what happend to the 7-11 or whatever it was that was planned for the Hardees/Pizza Palace located across the street?

urbaknight

November 07, 2012, 02:47:57 PM
It will take awhile to go back to an urban style, unless we make a priority or an obsessively exclusive goal. (putting everything else on hold)

That's the way I want to see it done. I admit to being selfish as I say, I want to be able to enjoy the urbansim, vibrancy, transit taking me anywhere I want to go at almost anytime, Population density that allows me to have a better chance of meeting women and making many different types of friends.

 I want all of this ASAP, while I'm still young enough to enjoy it. I'm 33 now, I estimate about 15 more years of my prime.

thelakelander

November 07, 2012, 03:29:04 PM
My suggestion would be to travel quite often.  If I didn't, which allows me to take part in environments I find attractive, I don't know if I'd still be living in Jax.  You're only young once.

Bativac

November 07, 2012, 08:19:59 PM
It will take awhile to go back to an urban style, unless we make a priority or an obsessively exclusive goal. (putting everything else on hold)

That's the way I want to see it done. I admit to being selfish as I say, I want to be able to enjoy the urbansim, vibrancy, transit taking me anywhere I want to go at almost anytime, Population density that allows me to have a better chance of meeting women and making many different types of friends.

 I want all of this ASAP, while I'm still young enough to enjoy it. I'm 33 now, I estimate about 15 more years of my prime.

You and I are the same age. My wife is 30 and has told me we have two years to figure out where else we want to go. We travel quite a bit but at some point you wonder "why do we keep traveling and dread going back home?" She's not from here and can't figure out why I wanted to stay in the first place. I've got friends my same age who left town already or are preparing to do so in the next few months. My sister just moved at age 30 - she's never lived anywhere but here, and now that she's been somewhere else for six months, she's kicking herself for not doing it ten years ago. Sad but Jax doesn't have what we want and it is apparent the city isn't ready to move forward.

Hope Jacksonville gets downtown back on track but we won't be here to see it.

PeeJayEss

November 08, 2012, 09:33:11 AM
I thought the alternative plan, which appeared to be proposed by Retail Partners, was a pretty decent alternative, better even than the sketched one. Wouldn't the building fronting all of Margaret be ideal?

This plan?  It was proposed by RAP, not the developer.

Ah, okay, I misread that. I still like it best, but your alternative is also better than Retail Partners'. And neither would be, I think, a long-term ideally-finished product, so either is better. I think either alternative plan would logically lead to the eventual demolition of the existing building, in which case your alternative would be extended along Margaret just like the RAP design. The RAP design would just get there quicker, assuming it would kill the businesses in the existing building.

Anything they do should be better than the previous building, which involved basically a big blank wall along Forbes. In fact, I'd check with those residents if I was looking for the arsonist (I mean, after the Buffet owner).

and there isnt another coin operated laundry until you get to king street.

Stockton between Oak and Herschel, next to the kwik-e-mart place ("Good Stuff"? or something like that, at least last time it had a sign).

thelakelander

November 08, 2012, 10:32:55 AM
Quote
The RAP design would just get there quicker, assuming it would kill the businesses in the existing building.

The problem here is that the developer isn't going to invest millions in their already owned and revenue generating property to kill their investment.  If given those options, 99.9% of those placed in that situation would simply do nothing more than put a fresh coat of paint on the existing building, clean off the fire damaged portion and call it a day.  You don't need a rezoning for that.

PeeJayEss

November 08, 2012, 11:42:37 AM
Quote
The RAP design would just get there quicker, assuming it would kill the businesses in the existing building.

The problem here is that the developer isn't going to invest millions in their already owned and revenue generating property to kill their investment.  If given those options, 99.9% of those placed in that situation would simply do nothing more than put a fresh coat of paint on the existing building, clean off the fire damaged portion and call it a day.  You don't need a rezoning for that.

If they did that, wouldn't the property have less value to them, and make it a candidate for sale? That's a big piece of land in what could be a prime location, I would think somebody would be interested...

thelakelander

November 08, 2012, 12:01:44 PM
But why would the developer want their property to be of less value to them?  Aren't they in the business to make a profit?  Spending millions of your own money to reduce the value and profitability of an existing investment property doesn't make financial sense for an entity in the business of generating revenue.

John P

November 08, 2012, 04:56:04 PM
It will take awhile to go back to an urban style, unless we make a priority or an obsessively exclusive goal. (putting everything else on hold)

That's the way I want to see it done. I admit to being selfish as I say, I want to be able to enjoy the urbansim, vibrancy, transit taking me anywhere I want to go at almost anytime, Population density that allows me to have a better chance of meeting women and making many different types of friends.

 I want all of this ASAP, while I'm still young enough to enjoy it. I'm 33 now, I estimate about 15 more years of my prime.

You and I are the same age. My wife is 30 and has told me we have two years to figure out where else we want to go. We travel quite a bit but at some point you wonder "why do we keep traveling and dread going back home?" She's not from here and can't figure out why I wanted to stay in the first place. I've got friends my same age who left town already or are preparing to do so in the next few months. My sister just moved at age 30 - she's never lived anywhere but here, and now that she's been somewhere else for six months, she's kicking herself for not doing it ten years ago. Sad but Jax doesn't have what we want and it is apparent the city isn't ready to move forward.

Hope Jacksonville gets downtown back on track but we won't be here to see it.

Was all that to say you are going move someday? Thanks for letting the world know. We are all very interested. People move all the time.

thelakelander

November 08, 2012, 09:04:16 PM
A few shots of the developer's original proposal before the fire.



strider

November 09, 2012, 08:15:52 AM
I also find it a bit interesting that the proposal RAP had drawn up reduces the number of parking spaces from the developer's proposal by over 20% and increases the possible retail (and restaurant?) space by over 20%.  Just an interesting comparison to that other development RAP is involved with.

 

cline

November 09, 2012, 11:06:25 AM
I also find it a bit interesting that the proposal RAP had drawn up reduces the number of parking spaces from the developer's proposal by over 20% and increases the possible retail (and restaurant?) space by over 20%.  Just an interesting comparison to that other development RAP is involved with.

 

Agreed.  I think it is due to the fact that RAP is simply kowtowing to a couple resident complaints now when it comes to development rather than thinking big picture- neighborhood wide.  A few squeaky wheels get oil now.  For example: A couple people of Forbes complained about dumpster and what not so now the design has to be changed completely to placate these people.  Just like a few people in Avondale complain about "nightclubs" masquerading as pizza joints so now they have to come out against that too.  It's getting old and it is not good for the neighborhood.

Riverside_Resident

November 10, 2012, 11:08:24 AM
Beware the spin job in motion here by the property owner. 

RAP is not kowtowing to a couple of residents.  It is a neighborhood organization taking feedback from a lot of residents. 

The dumpsters often smell horrible and can be smelled a block or two away.  They are not dealt with in a timely manner, and on many occasions we have seen vermin around the dumpsters (rabies anyone).  This is a city violation which has been reported on numerous occasions over many years, but has yet to improve.  The grease traps are in-ground (no longer to code) and often smell as well.

You can smell this property a block or two away when it's at its most ripe (which is all too often).

When the building caught of fire it's fire alarm equipment did not work.  The fire was reported by local residents.  This may seem like a small thing, but when these building were built the take up the entire property boundary on one side and are only a few feet (yes a few feet) from someones roof.  It is FORTUNATE that person's house did not catch on fire.

The statement about 100% occupancy is incorrect.  Half of the building is a shell because of the fire, so at best there's 50% occupancy? 

The RAP sketches were created to put pictures to the conversation.  The owner seems willing to allow everything to remain vague (which will benefit him).  Any reduction in parking spaces is due to city ordinance, not RAP.   

The property owner continues to act as if nothing is wrong and none of these things are true.  Any plans he has violate multiple city ordnance and he offers NO improvement to the current issues (other than perhaps fire alarms that will actually work).     

On the surface, this may look like a couple of home owners that are being unfair.  That really is not the case. 

Don't take my word for it.  Inform yourself. 

stephendare

November 10, 2012, 11:45:00 AM
Beware the spin job in motion here by the property owner. 

RAP is not kowtowing to a couple of residents.  It is a neighborhood organization taking feedback from a lot of residents. 

The dumpsters often smell horrible and can be smelled a block or two away.  They are not dealt with in a timely manner, and on many occasions we have seen vermin around the dumpsters (rabies anyone).  This is a city violation which has been reported on numerous occasions over many years, but has yet to improve.  The grease traps are in-ground (no longer to code) and often smell as well.

You can smell this property a block or two away when it's at its most ripe (which is all too often).

When the building caught of fire it's fire alarm equipment did not work.  The fire was reported by local residents.  This may seem like a small thing, but when these building were built the take up the entire property boundary on one side and are only a few feet (yes a few feet) from someones roof.  It is FORTUNATE that person's house did not catch on fire.

The statement about 100% occupancy is incorrect.  Half of the building is a shell because of the fire, so at best there's 50% occupancy? 

The RAP sketches were created to put pictures to the conversation.  The owner seems willing to allow everything to remain vague (which will benefit him).  Any reduction in parking spaces is due to city ordinance, not RAP.   

The property owner continues to act as if nothing is wrong and none of these things are true.  Any plans he has violate multiple city ordnance and he offers NO improvement to the current issues (other than perhaps fire alarms that will actually work).     

On the surface, this may look like a couple of home owners that are being unfair.  That really is not the case. 

Don't take my word for it.  Inform yourself.

Thanks for the input riverside resident.  Your concerns seem pretty valid, although most of them it seems would be fixed by simply building the new spaces up to code, wouldnt they?

The dumpster situation has been pretty foul, and that is something that can easily be taken care of in design so that whatever future tenant relations or owners the building might experience it won't adversely affect anyone.

However it is a shame that RAP has told so many public lies and waged so many senseless wars over the past year that people no longer take their word for it.

strider

November 10, 2012, 01:51:01 PM
Beware the spin job in motion here by the property owner. 

RAP is not kowtowing to a couple of residents.  It is a neighborhood organization taking feedback from a lot of residents. 

The dumpsters often smell horrible and can be smelled a block or two away.  They are not dealt with in a timely manner, and on many occasions we have seen vermin around the dumpsters (rabies anyone).  This is a city violation which has been reported on numerous occasions over many years, but has yet to improve.  The grease traps are in-ground (no longer to code) and often smell as well.

You can smell this property a block or two away when it's at its most ripe (which is all too often).

When the building caught of fire it's fire alarm equipment did not work.  The fire was reported by local residents.  This may seem like a small thing, but when these building were built the take up the entire property boundary on one side and are only a few feet (yes a few feet) from someones roof.  It is FORTUNATE that person's house did not catch on fire.

The statement about 100% occupancy is incorrect.  Half of the building is a shell because of the fire, so at best there's 50% occupancy? 

The RAP sketches were created to put pictures to the conversation.  The owner seems willing to allow everything to remain vague (which will benefit him).  Any reduction in parking spaces is due to city ordinance, not RAP.   

The property owner continues to act as if nothing is wrong and none of these things are true.  Any plans he has violate multiple city ordnance and he offers NO improvement to the current issues (other than perhaps fire alarms that will actually work).     

On the surface, this may look like a couple of home owners that are being unfair.  That really is not the case. 

Don't take my word for it.  Inform yourself. 

So here is a case where the owner of an existing and damaged building is trying to make it better for the community by making improvements, reducing the SF from what it was before the fire and having even more parking spaces than required by code and it is not good enough?  I understand the smell issue.  That seems more on the individual lessee rather than the building owner.  How often do you clean your garbage cans out?  The same must apply to those dumpsters, they need cleaned out to keep the smell down.  The grease traps in the ground, while they are not what the current code may ask for, are most likely grandfathered in because they certainly met code when they were installed. The fire alarm issue could be a state problem.  They must be inspected every 6 months I believe and the state license is what checks up on it.  Of course, I had a main board go on an alarm and no one found out until the inspection.  No way of telling if the trouble lights do not go on and no one bothers to test the thing.   Again, something that is a tenant related issue not the owner of the building.  Of course, the city doesn't do a very consistent job on their inspections as they do not have the manpower to do them within the Fire Marshals office. Oh, and if 50% of the building is not usable and the remaining 50% is and leased, then it is as close to 100% occupancy as it can get at the moment.  And what codes are the owner's proposal in violation of? If they are, then one would think the regular process of zoning, permitting and inspections, and then add in the tenant licencing by either the state or the city, would insure that it is indeed within the codes it is supposed to follow and comply with. As someone who has had organizations like RAP make codes up, and get the public to believe them and even try to get MCCD or Zoning to buy into the made up stuff, I have trouble in believing that this proposal is in violation of anything real.

Things certainly can be spun anyway you want them to be.

MEGATRON

November 10, 2012, 04:46:40 PM
Beware the spin job in motion here by the property owner. 

RAP is not kowtowing to a couple of residents.  It is a neighborhood organization taking feedback from a lot of residents.
You lost me here.

sheclown

November 10, 2012, 05:58:20 PM
Dumpster issue -- I think -- is resolved isn't it?  Isn't the owner taking control over that (instead of tenants?)

I was at the HPC meeting.

Ridiculous -- this whole thing --
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