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A Closer Look At Riverside YMCA's Development Plans

Metro Jacksonville takes a look at the conceptual design plans for Brooklyn's proposed Riverside YMCA project.

Published October 30, 2012 in Development      50 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

Located at 221 Riverside Avenue, the proposed YMCA building is conceptually designed as a three story, 85,000 square feet structure.   The 60 foot high building will include a splash pool over a storm water vault and park facing the riverwalk.

Adjacent to the Northbank Riverwalk, the building will replace the existing YMCA complex along Riverside Avenue, which will be demolished and replaced with a surface parking lot.  In the long term, the YMCA anticipates the future development of a mixed use structure and parking garage on the surface parking lot site.





The short term site plan indicates the current building being demolished and replaced with a surface parking.


The long term site plan indicates that the project's surface parking lot could become the site of a future infill development.


Conceptual Building Elevations











Proposed Site Sections


Short term


Long term


Conceptual Renderings





The Riverside YMCA project will be reviewed by the Downtown Development Review Board (DDRB) for conceptual approval on Thursday, November 1, 2012.  The DDRB meeting will be held at City Hall in 1st Floor, Committee Room B at 2:00 p.m.  City Hall is located at 117 West Duval Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202.

Based on the plans presented, the DDRB Staff recommends conceptual approval of Riverside YMCA's design plans, subject to the following:

1. Applicant to receive a deviation from Sec. 656.361.11-Setback or “build to Lines for the YMCA development to be setback from Riverside Avenue frontage prior to final DDRB review and approval.  

2. Applicant to receive a deviation from Sec. 656.361.14-River Views and Height of Buildings and Structures to permit a 15 foot increase to the 45 foot underlying CRO district height limit so as to permit a 60 foot high YMCA building and remove the dumpster enclosure and provide enhanced landscaping in the view corridor between the proposed YMCA facility and the St. Joe Building.

3. Applicant to show compliance with the Off-Street Parking Overlay requirements including documentation and calculations or receive a deviation from Sec. 656.361.16 Off-street Parking Overlay for the provided parking spaces.  
 
4. Applicant to provide complete landscape and hardscape plans for Riverside Avenue and Jackson Street showing screening for the interim surface parking lot and compliance with streetscape standards.

5. Applicant to comply with Downtown DRI Development Order conditions, which includes an Archeological Assessment for review and  approval by the OED prior to submittal of Building plans to the Planning and Development Department for building permits prior to commencement of construction.


Development update by Ennis Davis







50 Comments

BrooklynSouth

October 31, 2012, 09:10:07 AM
I was upset when I saw the massive parking lot along Riverside Ave. I feel a bit better that there is a plan for future street development and a parking garage.

ben says

October 31, 2012, 09:20:27 AM
I was upset when I saw the massive parking lot along Riverside Ave. I feel a bit better that there is a plan for future street development and a parking garage.

Well.....depends how far in the "future" the street development happens

Captain Zissou

October 31, 2012, 10:08:00 AM
That's just a ploy that developers use to get around the city requirements.  I think the design approval should be contingent upon the Y issuing an RFP for the development of the front of the site.  Otherwise, it will be at least a decade before we see anything go up on Riverside Ave.

thelakelander

October 31, 2012, 10:23:36 AM
^That's an interesting proposal Captain.  There should be a stronger method of linking design approval to what is illustrated on "future" plans.  It would be interesting to see the reaction of both the YMCA and Parador if the DDRB recommended tying their future dashed lines to issuing an RFP for those portions of the property.

Jason

October 31, 2012, 11:13:09 AM
IMO, the site needs to be flip-flopped.  Wouldn't they get better exposure sitting against Riverside Ave anyways?  The riverfront property will definitely appeal to a residential developer.

goldy21

October 31, 2012, 11:15:05 AM
"That's just a ploy that developers use to get around the city requirements.  I think the design approval should be contingent upon the Y issuing an RFP for the development of the front of the site.  Otherwise, it will be at least a decade before we see anything go up on Riverside Ave."

^And what if there isn't demand to develop the front of the property?  The Y can't go forward with its plans?

Traveller

October 31, 2012, 11:18:35 AM
To build it near the street, they'd have to destroy the existing facility first, at which point they'd risk losing a large percentage of their customers to other gyms while construction is ongoing.

CityLife

October 31, 2012, 11:37:49 AM
"That's just a ploy that developers use to get around the city requirements.  I think the design approval should be contingent upon the Y issuing an RFP for the development of the front of the site.  Otherwise, it will be at least a decade before we see anything go up on Riverside Ave."

^And what if there isn't demand to develop the front of the property?  The Y can't go forward with its plans?

Its prime real estate that fronts Riverside Avenue and has river views. If there isn't demand to build on it, Jacksonville is toast.

Captain Zissou brought up a great point and one that deserves some serious consideration. The project could be approved as two phases. Phase 1 being the river portion with the YMCA, with Phase 2 being the Riverside Avenue portion. That way there could be strings attached to Phase 2, such as the issuance of an RFP within x amount of years, or a development agreement within x amount of years, or something along those lines. I deal with PUD's all the time and virtually of all of them are broken down in phases with specific performance measures on each phase.

thelakelander

October 31, 2012, 11:40:28 AM
It would be strange for there to be absolutely no demand for such a parcel when every other available parcel around it has been snapped up and will be going vertical as +600 apartment units or retail within the next few months to a year.

CityLife

October 31, 2012, 11:46:44 AM
What I really want to know is, has anyone approached the Y about making it a mixed use building with residential or even hotel uses? That is a prime spot for residential. Close to 5 points, close to DT, riverfront views, along the riverwalk, next to RAM, and so on. Plus you would have a gym and pool already in your building. The Y is already building on the land, so a developer could probably work out some creative partnership agreements that would reduce the costs for both parties by increasing the intensity of the development.

I just can't imagine developers in bigger cities letting an opportunity like that go to waste. Someone with vision AND money could make a killing in this town.

tufsu1

October 31, 2012, 11:51:13 AM
It would be strange for there to be absolutely no demand for such a parcel when every other available parcel around it has been snapped up and will be going vertical as +600 apartment units or retail within the next few months to a year.

parcel next door has been vacant for many years...was being considered by Novatre prior to condo crash

thelakelander

October 31, 2012, 12:05:27 PM
Does the asking price reflect the market?

Ocklawaha

October 31, 2012, 12:12:41 PM
As a rail transit guy, I'm likewise appalled at the huge suburban style parking lot. As a citizen or would-be developer I understand the plan, after all, those huge windows will look out on a magnificent view of the downtown skyline. If you consider the Riverwalk as a street for bikes and pedestrians and the focus being fitness, no small wonder that they are turning their back on Riverside.  Perhaps the actual floor plan calls for a pass through hall from Riverside to Riverwalk which allows the building to be double sided. I do like the Captains idea, an RFP for the balance of the property could be a game changer.

I also wonder where JTA is on this? Plans for a Skyway across Riverside, and being located on a heavy transit corridor, where is the cross walk? Signaled cross walk? Pedestrian bridge? Bus turnout? Granted that JTA is about as proactive as the Whig Party, but they SHOULD be involved, and SHOULD have a set of requirements designed by the transit side administered at the municipal level.

It would be tragic indeed to spend a year getting into great physical shape at the YMCA, only to be run over by a bus in front of the facility.

goldy21

October 31, 2012, 01:07:20 PM
"That's just a ploy that developers use to get around the city requirements.  I think the design approval should be contingent upon the Y issuing an RFP for the development of the front of the site.  Otherwise, it will be at least a decade before we see anything go up on Riverside Ave."

^And what if there isn't demand to develop the front of the property?  The Y can't go forward with its plans?

Its prime real estate that fronts Riverside Avenue and has river views. If there isn't demand to build on it, Jacksonville is toast.

That doesn't answer my question.  Should they be denied if they can't get a good deal on the land they own?  The Y's architectural design committee did consider selling the river side of the parcel to fund a new facility, but every expert they consulted concluded there simply was little demand at this point, especially for a MUD project on the river.  I think the fact that the Y's plan include a contingency for future development facing Riverside Avenue is a good sign.  It is a sign that they're in tune with those who want to see infill and the elimination of surface lots. 

Wacca Pilatka

October 31, 2012, 01:22:27 PM
It would be tragic indeed to spend a year getting into great physical shape at the YMCA, only to be run over by a bus in front of the facility.

As frustrating as the concept is, that line is hilarious.

MEGATRON

October 31, 2012, 01:25:56 PM
It would be strange for there to be absolutely no demand for such a parcel when every other available parcel around it has been snapped up and will be going vertical as +600 apartment units or retail within the next few months to a year.
The Everbank building on Riverside has a commercial component that fronts Riverside.  How is that faring?

MEGATRON

October 31, 2012, 01:29:00 PM
Close to 5 points, close to DT, riverfront views, along the riverwalk, next to RAM, and so on.
No offense, but you are not dealing in reality if you think proximity to downtown, 5 Points and RAM are "huge" drawing points.

PeeJayEss

October 31, 2012, 01:43:52 PM
Close to 5 points, close to DT, riverfront views, along the riverwalk, next to RAM, and so on.
No offense, but you are not dealing in reality if you think proximity to downtown, 5 Points and RAM are "huge" drawing points.

what would be the most appropriate adjective in this case? And in what case would huge be appropriate?

thelakelander

October 31, 2012, 01:48:02 PM
It would be strange for there to be absolutely no demand for such a parcel when every other available parcel around it has been snapped up and will be going vertical as +600 apartment units or retail within the next few months to a year.
The Everbank building on Riverside has a commercial component that fronts Riverside.  How is that faring?
Do you think its empty because there is no market or could there be other factors at play?  Any idea why Fresh Market would be interested in a proposed retail development across the street from the YMCA building and not the Everbank Building's retail slots?

CityLife

October 31, 2012, 01:53:25 PM
"That's just a ploy that developers use to get around the city requirements.  I think the design approval should be contingent upon the Y issuing an RFP for the development of the front of the site.  Otherwise, it will be at least a decade before we see anything go up on Riverside Ave."

^And what if there isn't demand to develop the front of the property?  The Y can't go forward with its plans?

Its prime real estate that fronts Riverside Avenue and has river views. If there isn't demand to build on it, Jacksonville is toast.

That doesn't answer my question.  Should they be denied if they can't get a good deal on the land they own?  The Y's architectural design committee did consider selling the river side of the parcel to fund a new facility, but every expert they consulted concluded there simply was little demand at this point, especially for a MUD project on the river.  I think the fact that the Y's plan include a contingency for future development facing Riverside Avenue is a good sign.  It is a sign that they're in tune with those who want to see infill and the elimination of surface lots.

Actually the 2nd part of my response did answer your question with potential solutions to both sides concerns. If it is a PUD, the Y can build their riverfront portion as Phase 1, with the Riverside Avenue portion being Phase 2. This would ensure that the riverfront portion could be developed prior to any kind of agreement/contract on the Riverside Avenue portion, yet hold the YMCA to a specific time frame to develop or sell the Riverside Ave portion. Otherwise, as Captain Z pointed out, there is absolutely no way to ensure that the Riverside Avenue portion ever gets developed as conceptually proposed by the Y. Essentially, it forces them to put their money where their mouth is.

Sure it is private land and they own it, but there are also requesting deviations in order to get the proposed project built and they are also using the conceptual Riverside Avenue plans to sell those deviations. Therefore, they should be legally bound to do what they say they will in order to get approval.

CityLife

October 31, 2012, 01:59:52 PM
Close to 5 points, close to DT, riverfront views, along the riverwalk, next to RAM, and so on.
No offense, but you are not dealing in reality if you think proximity to downtown, 5 Points and RAM are "huge" drawing points.

Look at the rents of The Strand and get back to me about how desirable DT riverfront living is...Or maybe go to the Riverside Ave riverwalk tonight to see how many people are walking, biking, and jogging. Or look at rental rates for downtown units....


MEGATRON

October 31, 2012, 02:05:33 PM
It would be strange for there to be absolutely no demand for such a parcel when every other available parcel around it has been snapped up and will be going vertical as +600 apartment units or retail within the next few months to a year.
The Everbank building on Riverside has a commercial component that fronts Riverside.  How is that faring?
Do you think its empty because there is no market or could there be other factors at play?  Any idea why Fresh Market would be interested in a proposed retail development across the street from the YMCA building and not the Everbank Building's retail slots?
Variety of factors but, in regard to Fresh Market, my guess would be size of facility and cost.  My point is that its very easy for us to snipe about the lack of retail component along Riverside. The reality is that the demand is probably not there.  Hopefully the demand will arise in the next 10 years.

MEGATRON

October 31, 2012, 02:10:31 PM
Close to 5 points, close to DT, riverfront views, along the riverwalk, next to RAM, and so on.
No offense, but you are not dealing in reality if you think proximity to downtown, 5 Points and RAM are "huge" drawing points.

Look at the rents of The Strand and get back to me about how desirable DT riverfront living is...Or maybe go to the Riverside Ave riverwalk tonight to see how many people are walking, biking, and jogging. Or look at rental rates for downtown units....
What's the occupancy rate in the Strand and the Peninsula?  I am asking not to be smart but because I don't know.  If downtown riverfront was so desirable, how are the Strand and the Peninsula the only projects to be constructed in the last 20 years?  Don't get me wrong, there is some demand but you are seriously overstating it.

thelakelander

October 31, 2012, 02:22:04 PM
It would be strange for there to be absolutely no demand for such a parcel when every other available parcel around it has been snapped up and will be going vertical as +600 apartment units or retail within the next few months to a year.
The Everbank building on Riverside has a commercial component that fronts Riverside.  How is that faring?
Do you think its empty because there is no market or could there be other factors at play?  Any idea why Fresh Market would be interested in a proposed retail development across the street from the YMCA building and not the Everbank Building's retail slots?
Variety of factors but, in regard to Fresh Market, my guess would be size of facility and cost.

Bingo.

Quote
My point is that its very easy for us to snipe about the lack of retail component along Riverside. The reality is that the demand is probably not there.  Hopefully the demand will arise in the next 10 years.

I never said anything about forcing a retail component at the YMCA site.  What I'm saying is you simply can't assume there's no demand for anything as a reason for not even attempting to shoot for quality infill.  In the case of Everbank's spaces, you can't say because its empty there's no demand for retail.  Perhaps the leasing rates are too high or the space is a poorly designed one.  There are always several factors at play.  In the case of the YMCA, perhaps there is no demand for Class A office space on the site.  However, that doesn't mean there's not demand for hotels, apartments, strip retail, sit-down restaurants, etc.

PeeJayEss

October 31, 2012, 02:27:34 PM
Close to 5 points, close to DT, riverfront views, along the riverwalk, next to RAM, and so on.
No offense, but you are not dealing in reality if you think proximity to downtown, 5 Points and RAM are "huge" drawing points.

Look at the rents of The Strand and get back to me about how desirable DT riverfront living is...Or maybe go to the Riverside Ave riverwalk tonight to see how many people are walking, biking, and jogging. Or look at rental rates for downtown units....
What's the occupancy rate in the Strand and the Peninsula?  I am asking not to be smart but because I don't know.  If downtown riverfront was so desirable, how are the Strand and the Peninsula the only projects to be constructed in the last 20 years?  Don't get me wrong, there is some demand but you are seriously overstating it.

Berkman would also be added to that list. The complexity of that project being unfinished has been discussed on this site plenty, but I don't think it is all market related. The Shipyards is the only riverfront land downtown that is unoccupied. That one has also been discussed ad nauseaum, but the reason that is undeveloped has more to do with the city than the market, I believe.

There's not much room for development without knocking down and replacing the under-performers (The Wharfs property/hotel, old courthouse lot, etc).

CityLife

October 31, 2012, 02:27:59 PM
Close to 5 points, close to DT, riverfront views, along the riverwalk, next to RAM, and so on.
No offense, but you are not dealing in reality if you think proximity to downtown, 5 Points and RAM are "huge" drawing points.

Look at the rents of The Strand and get back to me about how desirable DT riverfront living is...Or maybe go to the Riverside Ave riverwalk tonight to see how many people are walking, biking, and jogging. Or look at rental rates for downtown units....
What's the occupancy rate in the Strand and the Peninsula?  I am asking not to be smart but because I don't know.  If downtown riverfront was so desirable, how are the Strand and the Peninsula the only projects to be constructed in the last 20 years?  Don't get me wrong, there is some demand but you are seriously overstating it.

Read the recent TU article about demand downtown. Its extremely high and The Strand wouldn't charge such high prices if there wasn't high demand for riverfront living. You are also forgetting Berkman Plaza and the other one on the Southbank (name escapes me).

The reason that so few have been built is that the cost to acquire riverfront land makes it cost prohibitive. Which is precisely why I said its a great opportunity to make it a mixed use project with residential. Especially when considering that residential and The Y are symbiotic uses. The land is already being built on, so a developer would just have to pay for the increased costs of a taller building and little extra to the YMCA for the trouble. Win-Win. Developer has a significantly reduced cost for riverfront property, plus an on-site gym/pool already built. YMCA would make extra money from the developer and/or perhaps even the cost of a parking garage, plus a 4th or 5th floor Y would have much better scenic views of the river/DT than it would at the 1st or 2nd floor.

I'm not saying that its is a sure thing, just something that I hope the Y has seriously considered or reached out to developers about.

MEGATRON

October 31, 2012, 02:33:34 PM
Close to 5 points, close to DT, riverfront views, along the riverwalk, next to RAM, and so on.
No offense, but you are not dealing in reality if you think proximity to downtown, 5 Points and RAM are "huge" drawing points.

Look at the rents of The Strand and get back to me about how desirable DT riverfront living is...Or maybe go to the Riverside Ave riverwalk tonight to see how many people are walking, biking, and jogging. Or look at rental rates for downtown units....
What's the occupancy rate in the Strand and the Peninsula?  I am asking not to be smart but because I don't know.  If downtown riverfront was so desirable, how are the Strand and the Peninsula the only projects to be constructed in the last 20 years?  Don't get me wrong, there is some demand but you are seriously overstating it.

Berkman would also be added to that list. The complexity of that project being unfinished has been discussed on this site plenty, but I don't think it is all market related. The Shipyards is the only riverfront land downtown that is unoccupied. That one has also been discussed ad nauseaum, but the reason that is undeveloped has more to do with the city than the market, I believe.

There's not much room for development without knocking down and replacing the under-performers (The Wharfs property/hotel, old courthouse lot, etc).
The old Southside Generating Station sits vacant.  The entitled project next the the Aetna building could not get off the ground.  The front of the Haskell property has not moved.

MEGATRON

October 31, 2012, 02:35:09 PM
I never said anything about forcing a retail component at the YMCA site.  What I'm saying is you simply can't assume there's no demand for anything as a reason for not even attempting to shoot for quality infill.  In the case of Everbank's spaces, you can't say because its empty there's no demand for retail.  Perhaps the leasing rates are too high or the space is a poorly designed one.  There are always several factors at play.  In the case of the YMCA, perhaps there is no demand for Class A office space on the site.  However, that doesn't mean there's not demand for hotels, apartments, strip retail, sit-down restaurants, etc.
The Y has looked at a variety of uses on that property over the past 6-7 years.

thelakelander

October 31, 2012, 02:38:20 PM
The market has changed since the economy went into recession four to five years ago.  All I'm saying is you can't simply state there's no demand for anything.  You may struggle to land a specific desired use at a predetermined targeted price point but that doesn't mean there's no demand for anything.

MEGATRON

October 31, 2012, 02:40:09 PM

Read the recent TU article about demand downtown. Its extremely high and The Strand wouldn't charge such high prices if there wasn't high demand for riverfront living. You are also forgetting Berkman Plaza and the other one on the Southbank (name escapes me).

The reason that so few have been built is that the cost to acquire riverfront land makes it cost prohibitive. Which is precisely why I said its a great opportunity to make it a mixed use project with residential. Especially when considering that residential and The Y are symbiotic uses. The land is already being built on, so a developer would just have to pay for the increased costs of a taller building and little extra to the YMCA for the trouble. Win-Win. Developer has a significantly reduced cost for riverfront property, plus an on-site gym/pool already built. YMCA would make extra money from the developer and/or perhaps even the cost of a parking garage, plus a 4th or 5th floor Y would have much better scenic views of the river/DT than it would at the 1st or 2nd floor.

I'm not saying that its is a sure thing, just something that I hope the Y has seriously considered or reached out to developers about.
Please link the article.  I'd love to read it.

So, you want the Y to sell its property at a reduced price?  Why should the Y give a develop a reduced cost on riverfront property?

MEGATRON

October 31, 2012, 02:41:44 PM
The market has changed since the economy went into recession four to five years ago.  All I'm saying is you can't simply state there's no demand for anything.  You may struggle to land a specific desired use at a predetermined targeted price point but that doesn't mean there's no demand for anything.
If the Y has been sitting on that property 50 years (which I believe its somewhere in that neighborhood), why would that want to sell at a low point in the market?  Of course there is demand if the price is lowered substantially.

CityLife

October 31, 2012, 02:45:09 PM

Read the recent TU article about demand downtown. Its extremely high and The Strand wouldn't charge such high prices if there wasn't high demand for riverfront living. You are also forgetting Berkman Plaza and the other one on the Southbank (name escapes me).

The reason that so few have been built is that the cost to acquire riverfront land makes it cost prohibitive. Which is precisely why I said its a great opportunity to make it a mixed use project with residential. Especially when considering that residential and The Y are symbiotic uses. The land is already being built on, so a developer would just have to pay for the increased costs of a taller building and little extra to the YMCA for the trouble. Win-Win. Developer has a significantly reduced cost for riverfront property, plus an on-site gym/pool already built. YMCA would make extra money from the developer and/or perhaps even the cost of a parking garage, plus a 4th or 5th floor Y would have much better scenic views of the river/DT than it would at the 1st or 2nd floor.

I'm not saying that its is a sure thing, just something that I hope the Y has seriously considered or reached out to developers about.
Please link the article.  I'd love to read it.

So, you want the Y to sell its property at a reduced price?  Why should the Y give a develop a reduced cost on riverfront property?

You can find it just as easily as I can. Go to Jacksonville.com

You got that I want the Y to sell its property at a reduced price from my posts? Really? I was saying the Y should let a developer build an extra few floors of residential in the same building with the same footprint.

JaxNative68

October 31, 2012, 02:45:11 PM
Who is the architect for this project?

fsujax

October 31, 2012, 02:47:08 PM
Probably Haskell or RS&H.

MEGATRON

October 31, 2012, 02:52:34 PM

Read the recent TU article about demand downtown. Its extremely high and The Strand wouldn't charge such high prices if there wasn't high demand for riverfront living. You are also forgetting Berkman Plaza and the other one on the Southbank (name escapes me).

The reason that so few have been built is that the cost to acquire riverfront land makes it cost prohibitive. Which is precisely why I said its a great opportunity to make it a mixed use project with residential. Especially when considering that residential and The Y are symbiotic uses. The land is already being built on, so a developer would just have to pay for the increased costs of a taller building and little extra to the YMCA for the trouble. Win-Win. Developer has a significantly reduced cost for riverfront property, plus an on-site gym/pool already built. YMCA would make extra money from the developer and/or perhaps even the cost of a parking garage, plus a 4th or 5th floor Y would have much better scenic views of the river/DT than it would at the 1st or 2nd floor.

I'm not saying that its is a sure thing, just something that I hope the Y has seriously considered or reached out to developers about.
Please link the article.  I'd love to read it.

So, you want the Y to sell its property at a reduced price?  Why should the Y give a develop a reduced cost on riverfront property?

You can find it just as easily as I can. Go to Jacksonville.com

You got that I want the Y to sell its property at a reduced price from my posts? Really? I was saying the Y should let a developer build an extra few floors of residential in the same building with the same footprint.
I looked.  Can't find it.  That's why I asked.  Don't worry about it.

"The land is already being built on, so a developer would just have to pay for the increased costs of a taller building and little extra to the YMCA for the trouble...Developer has a significantly reduced cost for riverfront property. "  Yeah, somehow I got that a developer would not have to pay market cost for the property.  Imagine that. ::)

PeeJayEss

October 31, 2012, 02:57:35 PM
The old Southside Generating Station sits vacant.  The entitled project next the the Aetna building could not get off the ground.  The front of the Haskell property has not moved.

Isn't the Southside Generating Station a brownfield site? And I believe it is also still owned by JEA. So, that would fall under the same category as the Shipyards plus it needs to be rehabilitated (unless I'm wrong and is has been rehabbed since closing?). The front of the Haskell property is not riverfront, and next to the Aetna building is not vacant. Having ideal development and having demand are two different things.

Ocklawaha

October 31, 2012, 02:58:19 PM
Once they start plopping down 600 apartments, once the streetcar line is under construction and once the commuter trains are within sight, you won't be able to get Brooklyn/LaVilla property at any price.

thelakelander

October 31, 2012, 02:58:54 PM
The market has changed since the economy went into recession four to five years ago.  All I'm saying is you can't simply state there's no demand for anything.  You may struggle to land a specific desired use at a predetermined targeted price point but that doesn't mean there's no demand for anything.
If the Y has been sitting on that property 50 years (which I believe its somewhere in that neighborhood), why would that want to sell at a low point in the market?  Of course there is demand if the price is lowered substantially.
We're way off on a red herring, in regards to this point of this thread, which is the building's design.  My main point I was attempting to make in response to your original statement about there being no demand for anything is that, that's simply not true.  There's too much currently going on in the area to lend any validity to the concept of that stretch of Riverside Avenue being useless.

MEGATRON

October 31, 2012, 03:01:34 PM
The old Southside Generating Station sits vacant.  The entitled project next the the Aetna building could not get off the ground.  The front of the Haskell property has not moved.

Isn't the Southside Generating Station a brownfield site? And I believe it is also still owned by JEA. So, that would fall under the same category as the Shipyards plus it needs to be rehabilitated (unless I'm wrong and is has been rehabbed since closing?). The front of the Haskell property is not riverfront, and next to the Aetna building is not vacant. Having ideal development and having demand are two different things.
All of the riverfront sites are brownfields.  The fact that its a brownfield only provides additional development incentives.  Several groups have made runs at the SGS property and can't make the numbers work.

MEGATRON

October 31, 2012, 03:03:20 PM
The market has changed since the economy went into recession four to five years ago.  All I'm saying is you can't simply state there's no demand for anything.  You may struggle to land a specific desired use at a predetermined targeted price point but that doesn't mean there's no demand for anything.
If the Y has been sitting on that property 50 years (which I believe its somewhere in that neighborhood), why would that want to sell at a low point in the market?  Of course there is demand if the price is lowered substantially.
We're way off on a red herring, in regards to this point of this thread, which is the building's design.  My main point I was attempting to make in response to your original statement about there being no demand for anything is that, that's simply not true.  There's too much currently going on in the area to lend any validity to the concept of that stretch of Riverside Avenue being useless.
Hold on.  I am not saying its useless at all.  I am, however, saying that forcing the Y, right now in this current market, to develop a portion of the property for some use other than the Y is absurd. 

thelakelander

October 31, 2012, 03:09:10 PM
Would making them follow the area's design guidelines be absurd?  After all, there is no conversation if the guidelines are followed.

CityLife

October 31, 2012, 03:12:24 PM

Read the recent TU article about demand downtown. Its extremely high and The Strand wouldn't charge such high prices if there wasn't high demand for riverfront living. You are also forgetting Berkman Plaza and the other one on the Southbank (name escapes me).

The reason that so few have been built is that the cost to acquire riverfront land makes it cost prohibitive. Which is precisely why I said its a great opportunity to make it a mixed use project with residential. Especially when considering that residential and The Y are symbiotic uses. The land is already being built on, so a developer would just have to pay for the increased costs of a taller building and little extra to the YMCA for the trouble. Win-Win. Developer has a significantly reduced cost for riverfront property, plus an on-site gym/pool already built. YMCA would make extra money from the developer and/or perhaps even the cost of a parking garage, plus a 4th or 5th floor Y would have much better scenic views of the river/DT than it would at the 1st or 2nd floor.

I'm not saying that its is a sure thing, just something that I hope the Y has seriously considered or reached out to developers about.
Please link the article.  I'd love to read it.

So, you want the Y to sell its property at a reduced price?  Why should the Y give a develop a reduced cost on riverfront property?

You can find it just as easily as I can. Go to Jacksonville.com

You got that I want the Y to sell its property at a reduced price from my posts? Really? I was saying the Y should let a developer build an extra few floors of residential in the same building with the same footprint.
I looked.  Can't find it.  That's why I asked.  Don't worry about it.

"The land is already being built on, so a developer would just have to pay for the increased costs of a taller building and little extra to the YMCA for the trouble...Developer has a significantly reduced cost for riverfront property. "  Yeah, somehow I got that a developer would not have to pay market cost for the property.  Imagine that. ::)

Uhhhh, the developer would not be paying market cost because they would just be paying for the increased costs of vertical construction, plus some sort of bonus to the Y for partnering with them (on a site that was getting developed anyways). Its really not that complicated of a concept....They wouldn't be acquiring the property, simply partnering with the Y on an existing development.

MEGATRON

October 31, 2012, 03:13:28 PM
Would making them follow the area's design guidelines be absurd?  After all, there is no conversation if the guidelines are followed.
No, not at all Lake.  I was more responding to an early post in which a poster stated that the Y should be forced to issue an RFP for frontage development within X years.  I don't like that idea.  That front commercial/residential component will come together when the time is right.

MEGATRON

October 31, 2012, 03:18:57 PM
CityLife, what the hell would the Y go for that???  The Y has been trying to sell that property for 10 years.  Why would it turn around and sell the development rights at less than market value (and, yes, what you are referencing is less than market value).

CityLife

October 31, 2012, 03:31:25 PM
CityLife, what the hell would the Y go for that???  The Y has been trying to sell that property for 10 years.  Why would it turn around and sell the development rights at less than market value (and, yes, what you are referencing is less than market value).

How do you know what I'm proposing is less than market value? Are you saying that vertical development rights as part of a proposed building should be the same price as market value of virgin riverfront soil?

Perhaps I should simplify the concept, because I'm not sure you are quite getting it. The Y is proposing a 3 story building along the river. They could partner with a developer to build a mid rise building with residential or a hotel, with the developer paying for the increase in costs from the original three story proposal....plus an additional payment for the vertical development rights, and the increased costs for parking. Which obviously would be WELL below the cost of virgin riverfront land. The benefit to the Y would be the payment for development rights, which could be a flat amount or even a % of the developers profit, as well as the potential to be on higher floors with more scenic views of the river/DT, as well as more potential members of the Y.

Its obviously too late to even consider this...but I wish it was something that was at least explored. Hopefully a strong DIA will be able to facilitate better development and make deals like the above happen.

MEGATRON

October 31, 2012, 03:39:14 PM
I get the concept.  I think you are drastically underestimating riverfront vertical development rights.  Again, the Y has been marketing that property for over a decade.  It has looked at all sorts of alternatives.

goldy21

October 31, 2012, 03:40:23 PM
CityLife, what the hell would the Y go for that???  The Y has been trying to sell that property for 10 years.  Why would it turn around and sell the development rights at less than market value (and, yes, what you are referencing is less than market value).

How do you know what I'm proposing is less than market value? Are you saying that vertical development rights as part of a proposed building should be the same price as market value of virgin riverfront soil?

Perhaps I should simplify the concept, because I'm not sure you are quite getting it. The Y is proposing a 3 story building along the river. They could partner with a developer to build a mid rise building with residential or a hotel, with the developer paying for the increase in costs from the original three story proposal....plus an additional payment for the vertical development rights, and the increased costs for parking. Which obviously would be WELL below the cost of virgin riverfront land. The benefit to the Y would be the payment for development rights, which could be a flat amount or even a % of the developers profit, as well as the potential to be on higher floors with more scenic views of the river/DT, as well as more potential members of the Y.

And you continue to make assumptions that they haven't already evaluated myriad options by now.  What Megatron and I are saying is that they HAVE looked at a bunch of permutations and nothing has made financial sense.  If someone was clamoring to partner with them, then they would have done it by now.  Three years from now that might be a different story.  But in the meantime, they have a crumbling facility and enough fundraising momentum that they need to move forward based on status quo. 

MEGATRON

October 31, 2012, 03:45:34 PM
Thank you, Goldy.  The Y has been evaluating this for years.  Ideally, they don't build on the waterside of Riverside at at all and the Y has delayed as long as possible with the hope that the right deal would show up.

CityLife

October 31, 2012, 03:47:56 PM
goldy, I never once made an assumption. Just said I hope that the proposed option had been explored. Since you seem to know about the project, can you tell me if they tried to partner with developers on a taller building with residential or hotel uses? If they can't make a deal like that happen, can we expect them to be able to put together a good deal for the Riverside Avenue parcel when the market dictates?

Do you disagree with the scenario I proposed earlier about phasing it as a PUD to ensure that development occurs along Riverside Ave as conceptually proposed? Or is that just a ploy to make the project look more desirable to the public and the DDRB as Captain Z. indicated could be a possibility?

iluvolives

October 31, 2012, 04:28:03 PM
I prefer to have the Y on the parcel next to the river. Right now the area behind the Y along the riverwalk is probably the most utilized portion of the riverwalk. If you go there anytime on weeknights after 5:00 or on the weekends there are tons of people who meet to run/walk. i think if something else was built there it would be less utilized.
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