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Retail-less Parador Parking Garage Up For DDRB Appoval

After being initially rejected with a bland building design, Parador Partners will go before the Downtown Development Review Board (DDRB) to have their revised plan conceptually approved. Metro Jacksonville has the renderings and wants to know what you think should happen today and why.

Published September 6, 2012 in Development      116 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

The Original Garage Concept

Parador has an existing redevelopment agreement with the City of Jacksonville to construct a parking garage that has at least 500 spaces.  $3.5 million will be provided by the City of Jacksonville towards the project's costs in exchange for 200 daily and 375 night and weekend public spaces on a first come first serve basis to benefit the Jacksonville Landing and other surrounding commercial businesses.

The original Parador Partners parking garage would have been located along Hogan Street, between West Bay Street and Independent Drive, across from the Jacksonville Landing and St. Johns River.  Parador's plan encountered heavy opposition for its lack of street level retail and creativity for a garage on one of downtown Jacksonville's most desirable sites.


Original garage site plan.


Original garage elevations.


General Information

Quote
DDRB Application 2012-006 is before the DDRB seeking a revised Conceptual approval for a proposed six level 600 vehicle parking garage with future commercial development located at the southeast quadrant of Bay and Hogan Streets in the Downtown Central Civic Core. The applicant proposes a mixed use phased development project providing accessory parking for the SunTrust Tower and Jacksonville Landing developments. Phase 1 is comprised of the 600 space parking garage with a faux “window box” treatment of the Bay Street first floor faade of the garage. Phase II of the development consists of commercial / retail space fronting Hogan Street.

The site is north of the Sister Cities Plaza and adjacent street, which the applicant has an option to purchase per a redevelopment agreement between the applicant and the City. The site is currently used for surface parking and is marginally improved. A small portion of the site fronting Bay Street, adjacent to the 100 Bay Street Building, is presently being used for surface parking and as a place to house the building’s dumpster.

The DDRB deferred action at the June 7, 2012 meeting due to concerns about the lack of retail in the garage design and scheduled a Workshop June 14, 2012 to further explore ways in which retail could become a viable component of the project design. The workshop provided

discussion and input from DDRB members, staff, applicant, and the general public. The applicant has indicated they did not include retail into the design because they do not feel there is the demand for the retail space at this time and, to include it, would require the installation of a garage wide fire prevention sprinkler system adding significant cost to the project. After much discussion, the applicant feels the appropriate approach to addressing the concerns of the workshop members on this issue is to reposition the garage closer to the Sun Trust Tower, which allows for needed space to construct retail space outside of the garage structure that faces Hogan Street in the future when retail is viable. The repositioning of the garage on the site, as proposed, will create approximately 38 feet of public plaza area between the garage and the sidewalk fronting Hogan Street and 5 feet of additional public plaza area between the garage and the sidewalk fronting Bay Street. The proposed public plaza area will be landscaped with pavers, benches and lighting that will be pedestrian friendly until the retail component is determined viable and constructed. The adjacent sidewalks will also be improved and connected to the public plaza area.

To determine when the commercial/retail space is viable and constructed, the applicant has proposed to design and construct the commercial/retail space when tenant occupancy of the Sun Trust Tower reaches 65% and provide the DIA Board staff semi-annual tenant occupancy reports indicating the tenant occupancy rate. The building’s current tenant occupancy rate is 20%. The applicant proposes to design and construct the commercial/retail space within one year of reaching the desired tenant occupancy rate (Applicant’s Commercial/Retail Mitigation Strategy). The applicant has incorporated this, and other design ideas discussed at the workshop into their design, to improve the aesthetics of the garage, and are now before the DDRB seeking conceptual approval on their revised design plans.

Staff notes that the conceptual review of information provided indicates that the applicant will need to address the mitigation for deviations or modify the design to comply with the development guidelines prior to final DDRB review and approval. Deviations required on the current design include the following:

1. Deviation from Section 656.361.13 Entrances to not provide an entrance to Bay Street.
(addressing pedestrian entrance from Bay Street)

2. Deviation from Section 656.361.17 Surface Parking Trash, Storage, and Loading area Screening and Landscaping Requirements to not provide required 50% retail for frontage on Bay and Hogan Streets. (may not be necessary on Hogan Street if proposed applicant mitigation (Applicant’s Commercial/Retail Mitigation Strategy) to provide semi-annual tenant occupancy reports to DDRB staff indicates a tenant occupancy of 65% has been met and applicant agrees to commence design and construction of commercial/retail space as further detailed above and under Staff Recommendations))

3. Deviation from Section 656.361.20 Streetscape Design Standards to modify required streetscape standards for frontage on Bay and Hogan Streets. (clarify alternate streetscape design proposed)

Source: DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD REQUEST FOR REVISED CONCEPTUAL REVIEW APPLICATION 2012-006


The Revised Garage Concept



































DDRB Staff Recommendation

Quote
Based on the foregoing, the Downtown Development Review Board Staff recommends conceptual approval of DDRB Application 2012-006, subject to the following:

1. Applicant to clarify/show compliance with the Entrances requirements or receive a deviation to Section 656.361.13 Entrances to not provide entrances to the building faade facing Bay Street prior to final DDRB approval.

2. Applicant to receive a deviation to Section 656.361.20 to allow for alternative Streetscape and landscape requirements for Hogan Street frontage prior to final DDRB approval.

3. Deviation from Section 656.361.17 Surface Parking Trash, Storage, and Loading area Screening and Landscaping Requirements to not provide required 50% retail for frontage on Bay provided DDRB agrees to the proposed Applicant’s Commercial/Retail Mitigation Strategy for Hogan Street, as further detailed under Recommendation No. 4 below.

4. In lieu of seeking a deviation to Section 656.361. 17 Surface Parking Trash, Storage, and Loading area Screening and Landscaping Requirements to reduce the commercial/retail requirement of 50% of street frontage on Hogan Street, the applicant shall agree to provide building tenant occupancy monitoring reports for the Sun Trust Tower to the DIA Board staff on a semi-annual basis with reports delivered in June and December of each year after DDRB approval of Phase 1 of the project until the 65% tenant occupancy rate of the Sun Trust Tower located at 76 South Laura Street is achieved. Within one year after a 65% occupancy rate is achieved, the applicant shall commence construction of the DDRB approved plan for the commercial/retail space and complete the space with active tenants in place within 12 months of commencement (Applicant’s Commercial/Retail Mitigation Strategy).

Source: DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD REQUEST FOR REVISED CONCEPTUAL REVIEW APPLICATION 2012-006


DDRB Meeting Location and Time

Downtown Development Review Board (DDRB)
City Hall at St. James, 117 West Duval St.
1st Floor, Lynwood Roberts Room
Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 2:00 p.m.



DDRB Staff's Recommendation Shortsighted?

Does DDRB staff really believe the retail portion will be constructed after the Suntrust Tower's occupancy increases from 20% to 65%?  Is there really a link between the feasibility of street level retail located a block away from the Suntrust Tower and its occupancy rates?  Considering the sum of money taxpayers will be putting into this questionable investment, is there something wrong with telling Parador to comply with the minimum design standards instead of applying for a "unenforceable" deviation that will only result in permanent dead space at street level?  Now that you've had a chance to review the revised project's design, what do you think should happen today and why?

Update by Ennis Davis







116 Comments

I-10east

September 06, 2012, 03:37:40 AM
It looks great, alot better than the original IMO. It has a nice lil' funky urban flair to it, with some retail added. It definitely doesn't look like the typical downtown Jacksonville parking garage. Looks like a best case scenario to me.

vicupstate

September 06, 2012, 05:33:57 AM
Is there the possibility that at some point a building could go on top of this garage?  It is such a prime space, I hate to see it be so limited 

dougskiles

September 06, 2012, 05:54:57 AM
Quote
Considering the sum of money taxpayers will be putting into this questionable investment, is there something wrong with telling Parador to comply with the minimum design standards instead of applying for a "unenforceable" deviation that will only result in permanent dead space at street level?

There is something wrong with not enforcing the minimum standards.  Particularly when there is public money on the table.  There is no doubt that Parador needs dedicated private parking to fill up the adjacent office building.  However, we don't need the public parking.  There is an oversupply of public parking downtown.

Quote
Now that you've had a chance to review the revised project's design, what do you think should happen today and why?

The DDRB should reject the proposal.  Either the retail gets built at the initial phase, OR the size of the garage is reduced to what they need for the office building, the garage is placed such that a taller and deeper building can be constructed along the street edges and the $3.5 million is taken out of the deal.

acme54321

September 06, 2012, 06:48:49 AM
Folks, what we have here is lipstick on a pig.

Actionville

September 06, 2012, 07:23:23 AM
Reject

JFman00

September 06, 2012, 07:26:09 AM
If they don't include the street-level retail now, they'll never add it on.

Adam W

September 06, 2012, 07:31:01 AM
I see "future retail" = no retail.

thelakelander

September 06, 2012, 07:52:17 AM
It looks great, alot better than the original IMO. It has a nice lil' funky urban flair to it, with some retail added. It definitely doesn't look like the typical downtown Jacksonville parking garage. Looks like a best case scenario to me.

If its going to be built and COJ is going to pay for nearly half of it, then the best case scenario to me would be for COJ/DDRB to remain firm on having this thing built to the minimum design standards, which means including street level retail. 

If the site were in an odd ball, off the beaten path location, I could see the argument for not doing any retail.  However, given the location, this really needs to be something at ground level that can help stimulate pedestrian connectivity and interactivity between the riverfront and Hemming Plaza district.  Complying with the minimum standards in place does that.  The way the proposal has been written up, retail will never be built or at a minimum, you're looking at several years of dead space on that block. 

I'd also suggest shifting the garage closer to the Suntrust Building or designing the garage's first floor to accommodate some retail.  Depths of 38' aren't ideal for retail and will only strengthen the idea that downtown can't support retail.  At a minimum, we should be striving for at least 65'-70' of retail depth.  Depending on how the retail design is handled, that would be a prime site for something like a CVS or Walgreens right now. 

With that in mind, regardless of what it may look like, I think 5/3 Bank's parking garage overlooking Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati is a good example to follow for having a parking garage at a high profile downtown location. Its core purpose is to park cars but at street level, its one of the more interactive pedestrian scale environments in that downtown.  When it comes down to it, these are the things that can either work to stimulate vibrancy or kill it.








Intuition Ale Works

September 06, 2012, 07:59:01 AM
Where did this $3.5 million come from to help pay for the garage?

thelakelander

September 06, 2012, 08:21:36 AM
Humana paid it to the City when they failed to build dedicated parking for the Landing years ago, which brings up another question (although this is outside of the DDRB's arena).

The City believes giving Parador the $3.5 million will relieve them on their dedicated parking obligation for the Landing, that stems back to the days when Rouse owned it.  However, last time it was reported, Sleiman didn't agree.

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2011-09-13/story/jacksonville-landing-says-35-million-grant-parking-garage-not-enough

So are we giving the $3.5 million to another party, and not really settling the Landing obligation?

Overstreet

September 06, 2012, 08:30:32 AM
Looks like the King Street garage with facade changes.  Costs have lowered due to the economy but given the "glue and glitter" it looks like $6 to $9 million to me.

Tacachale

September 06, 2012, 08:33:58 AM
This is just awful. There's no excuse for this, unfortunately it sounds like the deal is done.

Ocklawaha

September 06, 2012, 08:43:01 AM
Absolutely NO! The revision appears to be the original building with some crape paper and cardboard glued to the sides. What we have here isn't simple lipstick on a pig... in this case the lipstick is on the wrong end!

We have shown that the garages needn't look like some stoic institution. We have also shown that not just Hogan Street is effected, but the entire frontage on Bay, and most on Water Street, so adding retail 'later' on just one side doesn't cut it. This building as planned will create another vast black hole along downtown streets which once bustled with life.

We may be getting the long hoped for college downtown, and the streetcar could happen if the council gets off the mobility plan moratorium. Why not get off the vague 'future date' and plan for success rather then a reactionary glue and crayons cosmetic makeover.

Jason

September 06, 2012, 08:45:37 AM
I just can't believe we're having to fight the construction of a flipping parking garage on one of this city's prime downtown properties!!  There HAS to be something/somewhere better.  There HAS to be another way.  That property can single handedly make or break the CBD's street level vibrancy and the beauty of our skyline and they're wanting to cover it up with a friggin PARKING GARAGE!?!?!?!?.

thelakelander

September 06, 2012, 08:47:26 AM
Looks like the King Street garage with facade changes.  Costs have lowered due to the economy but given the "glue and glitter" it looks like $6 to $9 million to me.

Lol, you're right.  I was thinking it looked like the Fidelity garage.

mbwright

September 06, 2012, 08:52:31 AM
Another mess.  Better of building nothing, than garbage.  This plan should be rejected.  Retail must be added, with possible flexibility to add more later (as part of design).  Since this does not address the Landing parking, this is a huge waste of money.  Is there another 3.5M elsewhere that would take care of the Landing parking? 

thelakelander

September 06, 2012, 08:52:50 AM
I just can't believe we're having to fight the construction of a flipping parking garage on one of this city's prime downtown properties!!  There HAS to be something/somewhere better.  There HAS to be another way.  That property can single handedly make or break the CBD's street level vibrancy and the beauty of our skyline and they're wanting to cover it up with a friggin PARKING GARAGE!?!?!?!?.

I get asked all the time why has it taken so long to pump energy and life into downtown.  This situation is a prime example of why.  Revitalization isn't about spending money and putting up stuff just to say you accomplished something.  It's really about clustering complementing uses within a compact pedestrian scale setting.  No matter what you insert into a space, it still needs to find a way to integrate and activate the sidewalk and street adjacent to it.  We've failed and continue to fail at realizing and enforcing this simple strategy.  I don't think the DDRB has any control over if a garage goes on this site or not but they can make the developer comply with the minimum design standards.

PeeJayEss

September 06, 2012, 09:00:24 AM
The "window box" treatment doesn't look any different than a garage. The 5/3 garage does a good job of hiding the fact thats its a parking garage (not that I think its pretty).

This re-design is a minor improvement, but its still not good enough. What recourse does the city have if Suntrust hits 65% occupancy and Parador doesn't build the building? If we're giving them money 1) some of it should be held back until retail is constructed or 2) failure to construct retail within ~5 years of reaching %65 should result in the money being owed back to the city.

Why don't we just pass on the $3.5 million to the Landing and say that satisfies our parking obligation (also, you can't use that money anywhere but the Landing/downtown)?

I say reject, or at least don't give any city money to this piece.

simms3

September 06, 2012, 09:06:24 AM
It looks great, alot better than the original IMO. It has a nice lil' funky urban flair to it, with some retail added. It definitely doesn't look like the typical downtown Jacksonville parking garage. Looks like a best case scenario to me.

OMG.  Get out much?

As Lake said, this still does not even meet minimum design standards as provided by code.  Also, this is what progressive sunbelt cities are reluctantly allowing to be built blocks off the main path.  Is that what you want in skyline shots of Jacksonville?  It is hardly impressive for a garage - I've seen better in suburbs.  When are companies in Jacksonville going to have a little bit of pride - Haskell's name is all over this as are the partners as are the architects.  What a shame.

Need I state the obvious that this is probably one of the top 3 prime development sites in the city, if not the absolute most prime piece of land, and THIS is what's going to occupy it?  Also, does anyone truly believe we need another garage, let alone one with this many spaces?  Fill the buildings first and work on integrating alternative routes/methods to get to work!  The masses in other cities would be out protesting this thing if it were approved for such a prime piece of land; I have personally witnessed small protests of even better garages in utter urban wastelands because people have become so anti-garage/anti-car and are longing for better.

Ok rant over.

fsquid

September 06, 2012, 09:12:06 AM
It looks great, alot better than the original IMO. It has a nice lil' funky urban flair to it, with some retail added. It definitely doesn't look like the typical downtown Jacksonville parking garage. Looks like a best case scenario to me.

what?

jcjohnpaint

September 06, 2012, 09:14:51 AM
Is the garage able to take a tower on top? 
-The design looks even worse
-The retail space will not handle anything of significance
-The Landing deal isn't cured- and isn't this one of the main reason to build the garage?
-Tax Payers money- where is the Tea Party on this one? 
-The developers should not have the upper hand when so much tax money is being used on this-  Them telling us what the terms are. 

Ocklawaha

September 06, 2012, 09:16:55 AM
Roads do NOT move people, they move cars. Likewise a sold block of parking garage doesn't entertain people, it entertains cars. If these trends continue in Jacksonville there could be a day when we all just stay home and send our cars into the city to work. As we write, Mickey-D's is trying to find a way into your glovebox. Continue this madness and all we'll have is a sea of cars... prettiest sight this side of I-4.

WE NEED RETAIL

WE NEED SERVICES

WE NEED FIXED MASS TRANSIT

jcjohnpaint

September 06, 2012, 09:18:55 AM
Maybe we need an analogy that Jax would understand: 
Would you have a big people less, store less section in a shopping mall?

duvaldude08

September 06, 2012, 09:20:24 AM
Its looks better than the original design, HOWEVER this is still not what we are looking for at all. To me, it seems they spruced up the physical aspect of it and left everything else almost viturally the same.

tufsu1

September 06, 2012, 09:44:56 AM
Roads do NOT move people, they move cars.

maybe so...but it shouldn't, and doesn't have to, be that way

Jason

September 06, 2012, 09:55:33 AM
I just can't believe we're having to fight the construction of a flipping parking garage on one of this city's prime downtown properties!!  There HAS to be something/somewhere better.  There HAS to be another way.  That property can single handedly make or break the CBD's street level vibrancy and the beauty of our skyline and they're wanting to cover it up with a friggin PARKING GARAGE!?!?!?!?.

I get asked all the time why has it taken so long to pump energy and life into downtown.  This situation is a prime example of why.  Revitalization isn't about spending money and putting up stuff just to say you accomplished something.  It's really about clustering complementing uses within a compact pedestrian scale setting.  No matter what you insert into a space, it still needs to find a way to integrate and activate the sidewalk and street adjacent to it.  We've failed and continue to fail at realizing and enforcing this simple strategy.  I don't think the DDRB has any control over if a garage goes on this site or not but they can make the developer comply with the minimum design standards.

I'm with you.  Still, even with the built-in retail etc. it would be a travesty to have the largest hole in our skyline plugged with a....  jeeze   >:(




Just look at the skyline and tell me why anyone would think about building a damn parking garage in that location....



Why not revisit the Sleiman proposal?  Why not build a garage with first level retail at the old Andrew Jackson site on the southeast corner of Hogan and Independent?  Why note slide in some free angled parking on the Hogan Street cul-de-sac?  Why not make the existing parking lot free?  Why not work a deal with the Modis Building to allow after hours parking in their garage?

There are too many options that need to be exhausted before we kill the potential of a skyline and vibrancy enhancing tower by consuming the property with another parking garage (especially one that doesn't even meet the minimum standards set by the city).




..... Lake, my rant was in no way directed at you.  :)

JeffreyS

September 06, 2012, 09:56:28 AM
This is awful. I made the first meeting when they put this off. I doubt I will make it today but we could sure use a crowd to go raise a fuss. Go if you can.  They are not living up to the minimums and we are paying them 3.5 mil.

The bad part is the city has all the leverage here we can literally dictate terms. I used to think we needed urban planners to run the city but what we need are people who have been in sales and can see that plainly the applicant is going to do this deal no concessions needed.

dougskiles

September 06, 2012, 10:02:19 AM
Glad to see so many people fired up about it.

The meeting is at 2 pm in the Lynwood Roberts room at City Hall.

I hope to see all of you there.

fsujax

September 06, 2012, 10:12:00 AM
This is a disaster and I hope people can show up at City Hall to speak in opposition to this.

Jdog

September 06, 2012, 10:48:46 AM
And they're based in Jacksonville?

Sad, very sad, commentary. 


Ocklawaha

September 06, 2012, 11:14:09 AM
"Make no little plans - they have no magic to stir mens hearts!"

About this plan:

It will become a gathering place for empty automobiles.

At 10 am, 2 pm or 4 am, you'll be able to hear your own heart beating while standing in the middle of this thing.

Parador hasn't discovered 'paint'.

The building isn't neo-classical, not art deco, not ultra modern, in fact it's not anything at all.

They think they've tossed us a bone to call off the guards? 

Hardly, but this will test the will and resolve of our city's officialdom, or will it be another case of 'officialdumb?'

JaxArchitect

September 06, 2012, 11:40:35 AM
This design is horrific!  It is completely unimaginative and sophomoric and needs to be rejected......and don't even get me started about the "future retail."  We all know that this is a euphemism for "retail that will never happen."  We don't need to limit our possibilities to the typical precast concrete facade, although I understand its merits in terms of cost.  There are countless examples of well designed cost-effective parking garages we could all cite. A site such as this deserves better!
 

Tacachale

September 06, 2012, 12:24:43 PM
I won't be able to make it, but will there be an opportunity for comment? If so, would anyone be willing to read a brief letter for me?

dougskiles

September 06, 2012, 01:06:52 PM
Yes and I am happy to read the letter.  Send me a PM - but do it quick because I am walking out the door shortly.

Debbie Thompson

September 06, 2012, 01:11:54 PM
I can't get off work to go to the meeting.  Anything with taxpayer money needs to satisfy the obligation to the Landing that was promised when it was built, or that will come up again and again.  It needs retail now, agree it won't be built later.  Who do they think they are kidding?

urbaknight

September 06, 2012, 01:41:16 PM
What's with the storm water vault? Can they at least recycle the water collected and use it to water the lawns in the dead space? And will they actually cut the grass once in a while? LOL

JaxNative68

September 06, 2012, 02:07:47 PM
its not surprising.  afterall it is Haskell, who is in bed with the city of jax and has no real designers working for them.  could this be anymore wallet driven by them?  bland design by Haskell, cheaply constructed by Haskell, and big profits from the city for Haskell.

Rocshaboc

September 06, 2012, 03:06:47 PM
Here's my 2 cents. Aw-ful. Prime location downtown gets that?

fsujax

September 06, 2012, 04:08:56 PM
Any update on what happend at the meeting today?

Ocklawaha

September 06, 2012, 04:36:30 PM
Yeah they voted to keep the plan as-is and dedicate the entire ground floor to a streetcar barn / museum complex...

Yeah Right! @!%@$#^%!$!%#%!

Really? Anyone heard anything?

Whats say if this is approved, one of you run for the tar bucket and I'll start a low fire... Who's in charge of feathers?

I-10east

September 06, 2012, 05:56:39 PM
I must admit, I'm definitely not a parking garage aficionado, so hopefully that's some solace from my first comment. It does look better than the original proposal, can I atleast get that much? Let me stop while I'm ahead. *Angry mob with pitchforks and torches continue to march down Independent Drive* LOL 

thelakelander

September 06, 2012, 06:07:04 PM
I think the main issues are its a bad use for the site (which is out of the DDRB's control) and that its horrible at street level because it permanently cements a large pedestrian dead zone in the heart of downtown (the DDRB does have control over this).

vicupstate

September 06, 2012, 06:24:01 PM
I must admit, I'm definitely not a parking garage aficionado, so hopefully that's some solace from my first comment. It does look better than the original proposal, can I atleast get that much? Let me stop while I'm ahead. *Angry mob with pitchforks and torches continue to march down Independent Drive* LOL 

The fact of the matter is, as much room for improvement as there is, which is a lot, if built, it WOULD be nicer than any garage in Jacksonville today. 

Frankly, I don't think a garage even with retail should go there.  The site is just too important.  Is the city in any way REQUIRED to spend this $3.5mm on a garage for this building?  If not, it should spend it on the Laura Trio or some other project, and just wait for the market to build something better on this site.  Without the subsidy, I doubt the numbers would work to build a garage without office space included. 

edjax

September 06, 2012, 06:27:27 PM
Any updates?  I mean it is over 4 hours after meeting started. I would think that a site dedicated to the issues of downtown would have an update by now on an issue of such importance. Guess not

thelakelander

September 06, 2012, 06:33:29 PM
It was approved 3-1.  Chris Flagg voted against it because he believes the product isn't best suited for that piece of property.

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2012-09-06/story/city-board-oks-concept-parking-garage-across-jacksonville-landing

Quote
Ashish Bahl, a Parador principal, said the 65 percent occupancy rate is not an arbitrary number.
“That's the point when we make money, and we’re more than happy to funnel it back into Jacksonville,” he said.

The parking garage could fulfill the city’s long-standing obligation to provide parking for the Landing, if the mall’s ownership agreed. In that case, the city would earmark up to $132,500 per year to Parador for a maximum payout of almost $1.6 million for a parking validation program that would give discounted parking to Landing patrons.

The validation program would begin five years after the garage is built. The Landing owner, Toney Sleiman, so far has not agreed to let the proposed garage fulfill the city’s obligation.

Tacachale

September 06, 2012, 06:47:09 PM
Expected, but terrible.

JeffreyS

September 06, 2012, 06:59:26 PM
They defiantly let everyone down after big talk in the first meeting. Pathetic please retire you incompetent boobs.

dougskiles

September 06, 2012, 07:26:39 PM
Definitely a let down.  It was really as if the workshop in June never happened.  What's more bizarre, is that the city is holding the cards in this game.  Without the public grant, the parking garage can't happen - with or without ground floor retail.

What I learned most from today, is that I have a LOOOOONG way to go in understanding how things work in Jacksonville.

jcjohnpaint

September 06, 2012, 08:13:10 PM
I dont agree with Sleiman often, but discounted rate- that is crap.  Deal broken and the city knows it.  That retail area will never be built and there is no need for this garage. 

fieldafm

September 06, 2012, 08:41:05 PM
Both Doug and I spoke, with Doug also reading Tachale's statement into the records.

Not sure what was more painful... Listening to the architect who normally designs commecial buildings in industrial parks complete jibber jabber about what an urban environment should look like... Or the complete look of dismay on the faces of the board members who didn't grasp the economic reality that retail bays under 40' in depth are about 40-45' too short (even using a local example in the Everbank Plaza garage on Riverside Ave) and all you needed to do to rectify that was move the damn building about 25 feet to make it happen(which there is enough room to do so).  It was also made clear that the mayor wanted this deal to happen. 

Meanwhile, twenty plus years and counting and the Landing is still waiting on the City to fulfill its parking obligation. 

And the applicant was correct, 65 percent occupancy was not arbitrary.  Given that once Class A office space reaches 50pct occupancy, the building becomes much more attractive to sell.  Given the low acquisition costs of the building 4 years ago, my guess is Parador sells it before that 65pct number is reached, thereby dissolving themselves of the responsibility of building the retail which they have made clear is not their kind of business.  All the while they get taxpayer assistance to make that kind of transaction possible.  That's a sweet deal, glad we the taxpayers can subsidize building permanent dead zones on PRIME downtown real estate. 

thelakelander

September 06, 2012, 08:45:25 PM
I'm not surprised, although it is a shame we've got people making these types of long term environment shaping decisions that don't understand basic retailing principles.  Next time you drive to your local strip center or drop by SJTC  make note of the average retail bay depth and width.   You'll notice they average nearly double or triple of what we've been approving in our downtown garage designs, which we'll then turn around and say there's no market because we can't lease the poorly designed spaces. 

This is an example of why downtown is the way it is today after 50 years of revitalization talk and money spent.  Unfortunately, until we can't get the simplistic basics right, don't expect much out of the new DIA or Mayor Brown either.  I'd love to be proven wrong but I've got over a half century of facts backing my position.  That's one of the reasons I'm not a big fan of spending massive amounts of money to "market" when we can't get the basics right for free.  Seriously, if we can get the basics right, most of downtown's issues will resolve themselves fairly quickly and without significant cost to the taxpayer.

JaxJag

September 06, 2012, 09:30:31 PM
PLEASE GOD, dont let this lip-sticked pig be built or ill be forever ashamed of our city's officials and thier choice to let such an obomination be built, as will everyone else who cares for Real GROWTH in downtown. You want to see growth downtown well THIS IS NOT IT.

JeffreyS

September 06, 2012, 09:38:17 PM
I may have just given up on Jax.

thelakelander

September 06, 2012, 11:43:40 PM
No need to give up. It illustrates what a lot of us already have known.  To turn things around, we'll have to do a lot of things ourselves and "in spite of", which is an unfortunate reality.

thelakelander

September 07, 2012, 02:27:16 AM
Sleiman says the garage doesn't work for the Landing.  Why are we building this again?

Quote
But Sleiman doesn’t see this garage as the answer.
“It’s too small. It’s not what I need,” he said. “If I have a major tenant that needs exclusive parking, that can’t provide it.”
Even if it doesn’t fulfill its obligation to Sleiman, some city officials say this garage will nonetheless help relieve downtown parking woes.

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2012-09-06/story/more-parking-jacksonville-landing-moves-step-forward

dougskiles

September 07, 2012, 06:21:05 AM
^To help fill up the SunTrust building.

The question is - if the garage provided dedicated parking for the Landing, would Sleiman accept it as satisfying the parking agreement?

thelakelander

September 07, 2012, 07:56:53 AM
^From my understanding, the $3.5 million was for the Landing's parking situation, not Suntrust.  It appears COJ believes this will satisfy their obligation. So is it safe to assume, we're going to have another fight on our hands between Sleiman and COJ?

fsujax

September 07, 2012, 07:59:10 AM
^^Yep. Doesn't this still have to be approved by City Council? maybe it can be stopped there.

CG7

September 07, 2012, 08:10:00 AM
I could live with the garage without retail, if the plaza they are planning on the future retail site could be constructed in such a way a to allow food trucks to set up every day.

JeffreyS

September 07, 2012, 08:17:18 AM
At this point at least leave enough room for retail and upgrade the facade.

Keith-N-Jax

September 07, 2012, 08:19:11 AM
I may have just given up on Jax.



^^^ This, despite all the big talk, plans, and ideas they always resort back to the usual- talk big think small. It'll never change.

dougskiles

September 07, 2012, 08:24:19 AM
I could live with the garage without retail, if the plaza they are planning on the future retail site could be constructed in such a way a to allow food trucks to set up every day.

That is what they are proposing.  But - the food truck decision isn't one for DDRB to make.  And, as Mike Field very clearly demonstrated, the depths they are setting aside for future retail don't meet standard marketable dimensions.  There is room, however, to push the garage closer to the SunTrust building so that a more viable retail building could be constructed.

^^Yep. Doesn't this still have to be approved by City Council? maybe it can be stopped there.

Council already approved the grant, see 2011-0366

^From my understanding, the $3.5 million was for the Landing's parking situation, not Suntrust.  It appears COJ believes this will satisfy their obligation. So is it safe to assume, we're going to have another fight on our hands between Sleiman and COJ?

The $3.5 million is in the deal regardless of whether or not Sleiman agrees.  What hinges on Sleiman's acceptance is if the city contributes up to $132,250 per year for a parking validation program.  And from what I understand, that is where the issue comes in.  If the parking count for Sleiman were increased to 300 per day (up from 200) AND the Landing had the right to make those spaces dedicated for retail tenants, I believe they would agree to this.

By giving them the right to those spaces, the city would effectively save $1,587,000 over the life of the deal by not having to pay for the parking validation.  However, then Parador would only have 200 spaces left to serve the SunTrust building.  At a rate of 2/1,000 sf, that doesn't get them enough to adequately fill the building.

CityLife

September 07, 2012, 08:26:38 AM
And the applicant was correct, 65 percent occupancy was not arbitrary.  Given that once Class A office space reaches 50pct occupancy, the building becomes much more attractive to sell.  Given the low acquisition costs of the building 4 years ago, my guess is Parador sells it before that 65pct number is reached, thereby dissolving themselves of the responsibility of building the retail which they have made clear is not their kind of business.  All the while they get taxpayer assistance to make that kind of transaction possible.  That's a sweet deal, glad we the taxpayers can subsidize building permanent dead zones on PRIME downtown real estate.

There are also serious issues with the ability to enforce the 65% requirement. The city does not and will not have somebody just sitting around counting the occupancy levels of the Sun Trust Building. It will really only kick in if someone (likely a poster here) somehow gets their occupancy figures and reports it to the city. Additionally, the owners will likely find creative ways to give off the appearance that occupancy is below 65% even if it isn't.

IF this thing gets approved, the city's lawyers need to craft the verbiage so that the requirements get passed on to future owners. Because like you said, they will do everything they can to get out of the requirements. Heck, Parador could just create a new LLC and sell it to itself. Which I've seen happen before...I'm currently dealing with a developer who bought a real estate project from another developer and is trying everything possible to get out of the unfulfilled requirements of the original owner.  That isn't a road the city should want to go down.



thelakelander

September 07, 2012, 08:30:59 AM
The $3.5 million is in the deal regardless of whether or not Sleiman agrees.  What hinges on Sleiman's acceptance is if the city contributes up to $132,250 per year for a parking validation program.  And from what I understand, that is where the issue comes in.  If the parking count for Sleiman were increased to 300 per day (up from 200) AND the Landing had the right to make those spaces dedicated for retail tenants, I believe they would agree to this.

By giving them the right to those spaces, the city would effectively save $1,587,000 over the life of the deal by not having to pay for the parking validation.  However, then Parador would only have 200 spaces left to serve the SunTrust building.  At a rate of 2/1,000 sf, that doesn't get them enough to adequately fill the building.

If the parking obligation situation with the Landing called for 300 dedicated spaces, why not just go up another floor or two to accommodate them?  I know it increases the construction costs but Suntrust is getting nearly 50% of the costs to construct the garage from the City.

fsujax

September 07, 2012, 08:38:50 AM
@Doug, Council approved the grant, but dont they have to give final approval of the project?

thelakelander

September 07, 2012, 09:09:42 AM
I could live with the garage without retail, if the plaza they are planning on the future retail site could be constructed in such a way a to allow food trucks to set up every day.

That is what they are proposing.  But - the food truck decision isn't one for DDRB to make.  And, as Mike Field very clearly demonstrated, the depths they are setting aside for future retail don't meet standard marketable dimensions.  There is room, however, to push the garage closer to the SunTrust building so that a more viable retail building could be constructed.

Moving the garage a little closer to the Suntrust building would be ideal, in terms of making sure the retail spaces are useful if and when they come online.  For example, it's probably too late now but some consideration should be given to the type of retail desired for these spaces.  A smaller 10,000sf CVS would need roughly a 75' x 35' box to play with.  Here's a footprint for a smaller CVS (focus on the building and not the suburban parking lot).



A standard 4-story Hampton Inn hotel would need around 70' x 250' to play with, assuming the associated parking would be in the garage.  In addition to that, a standard specialty retail bay is close to 20' wide x 70' deep.

Furthermore, the more setback that can be created along Hogan provides and opportunity for something greater than ground level retail (maybe a hotel, apartments, etc.) to shield the garage altogether.  You're limited at 38' but the closer you can get to 70' provides for a future with a great number of infill alternatives.  That's the best option for these bland precast Haskell garages around the urban core.

Jdog

September 07, 2012, 09:17:39 AM
Has anybody brought forth an argument about inconsistency between the Landing and this dead zone; that is, I thought a main problem of the Landing was that it turned its back on downtown, that it should be opened up in the middle?  How well can the Landing embrace the rest of an active (hopefully increasing) downtown and create a synergy?  Unless I'm missing something this seems asinine to me. 

   

dougskiles

September 07, 2012, 10:16:46 AM
@Doug, Council approved the grant, but dont they have to give final approval of the project?

The ordinance gave the city authorization to enter into a development agreement with Parador.  As I understand it, the DDRB's final approval would clear the way for construction.  But... if DDRB doesn't approve the final concept, then they would not have the zoning rights.  Then the developer could go back to city council and ask to modify the agreement.

However, there is another aspect to this that hasn't been addressed - and that is the mitigation that will be required to comply with the Transportation Concurrency Exception Area (TCEA) conditions.  The TCEA requires that all new projects mitigate their impact to the pedestrian and transit systems downtown.  I brought this up yesterday, but there was no response.

If the parking obligation situation with the Landing called for 300 dedicated spaces, why not just go up another floor or two to accommodate them?  I know it increases the construction costs but Suntrust is getting nearly 50% of the costs to construct the garage from the City.

Another interesting fact in this issue is that the agreement with Project Riverwatch (Kuhn's project) was a grant of $3.5 million upon completion of a 900-space garage that provided 300 daily public spaces.  They still weren't dedicated exclusively to the Landing.

It does beg the question - does it make sense to increase the size, and be done with the Landing issue forever?

thelakelander

September 07, 2012, 10:23:21 AM
^Did they change that from the Humana deal, which did call for dedicated spaces?  Also, did Sleiman ever agree to that deal or was it modified without the Landing's input?

Has anybody brought forth an argument about inconsistency between the Landing and this dead zone; that is, I thought a main problem of the Landing was that it turned its back on downtown, that it should be opened up in the middle?  How well can the Landing embrace the rest of an active (hopefully increasing) downtown and create a synergy?  Unless I'm missing something this seems asinine to me.

Yes, what happens on the south side of the garage will be a critical component of downtown's future.  The intersection of Water and Hogan Streets really should be a high activity zone and major destination point in the heart of downtown.

tufsu1

September 07, 2012, 11:15:03 AM
just out of curiosity....what would stop a retail space from just turning the building on Hogan to go north/south...in essence, Lake shows that a small CVS needs 35' in width....the space along Hogan will be 38'

thelakelander

September 07, 2012, 11:20:12 AM
That CVS footprint was a 75' x 134' box.  To accommodate the square footage, you'd be requiring a retailer to basically develop a special set design that would struggle to fit a typical interior layout at 38' x 263' to accommodate the same amount of desired square footage.  Complicating the matter would be the central access drive to the garage off Hogan Street, which further splits the useable space.  Given that retailers have several options when it comes to site selection, the odd ball space most likely loses out in the site selection process.



Looking at this site plan, I'd say it would be better to shift the Hogan Street entrance to the far right which would combine the odd ball retail section in the process.

JaxNative68

September 07, 2012, 12:26:47 PM
It was approved 3-1.  Chris Flagg voted against it because he believes the product isn't best suited for that piece of property.

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2012-09-06/story/city-board-oks-concept-parking-garage-across-jacksonville-landing

Quote
Ashish Bahl, a Parador principal, said the 65 percent occupancy rate is not an arbitrary number.
“That's the point when we make money, and we’re more than happy to funnel it back into Jacksonville,” he said.

The parking garage could fulfill the city’s long-standing obligation to provide parking for the Landing, if the mall’s ownership agreed. In that case, the city would earmark up to $132,500 per year to Parador for a maximum payout of almost $1.6 million for a parking validation program that would give discounted parking to Landing patrons.

The validation program would begin five years after the garage is built. The Landing owner, Toney Sleiman, so far has not agreed to let the proposed garage fulfill the city’s obligation.

Chris Flagg is the only one on that board with any sense and a true planning/design background.  To bad he is outnumbered by idiots.

fieldafm

September 07, 2012, 01:50:36 PM
just out of curiosity....what would stop a retail space from just turning the building on Hogan to go north/south...in essence, Lake shows that a small CVS needs 35' in width....the space along Hogan will be 38'

No, they need much bigger than that








All of these examples wouldn't fit on that site.

I'll have to dig up some pictures I have on my camera of a few Staples urban design layouts... same thing. 

38' would work for like a Subway franchise... but simply moving the garage closer to the Suntrust Building would allow for a 70' setback for future retail. 

That would allow you to even construct housing, like this example in nearby Orlando:



fieldafm

September 07, 2012, 02:23:17 PM

Has anybody brought forth an argument about inconsistency between the Landing and this dead zone; that is, I thought a main problem of the Landing was that it turned its back on downtown, that it should be opened up in the middle?  How well can the Landing embrace the rest of an active (hopefully increasing) downtown and create a synergy?  Unless I'm missing something this seems asinine to me.

Yes, what happens on the south side of the garage will be a critical component of downtown's future.  The intersection of Water and Hogan Streets really should be a high activity zone and major destination point in the heart of downtown.

Parador has an option to buy the adjoining property at Sisters City Plaza fronting the Landing.  At one point, I understood that Marriot had looked at a potential hotel there.  That deal fell through (Marriot has dangled their carrot in front of quite a few horses downtown, you'll hear about another one very soon).  But the thought would be that you could close down that little circular closed off street at Hogan/Water and have a decently sized triangular layout for something.

And JDog, that architect that bored me to death talking about what an urban environment should look like... said that in other cities he has seen spaces like the one proposed here be a place 'where sculptors could sculpt all day'.  I guess he's more well traveled than I.  I can't imagine artists jumping ship from CORK to come down and setup outdoor living studios to sculpt things in the hot sun downtown (underneath the 'shade' of palm trees).

Also when asked what materials will the future retail be made from, the answer was 'either pre-cast concrete or stucco, whatever is more reas- umm practi-  umm umm'  at which point I blurted out 'cheaper'  to which he finally finished his sentence with 'less cost prohibitive'

Lake and I both gave them great examples to go off of.  I don't know what happened in the workshop, but it's obvious that they didn't study those examples too closely. 


Remember, taxpayers are subsidizing this.  I have no problem with the developer wanting a parking garage for his building.  They simply just need to a) construct it according to the minimum design standards downtown (which are far less restrictive than virtually ALL downtown areas) b) not take taxpayer money from a dedicated pot to satisfy a 20 year long legal requirement to provide parking to the Landing to pay for half of the construction cost  and c) don't allow some arbitrary occupancy rate designed to mitigate the risk to the developer as the impetus to receiving TAXPAYER money to finance this project


Downtown, the taxpayers and the entire city of Jacksonville simply deserve better.

PeeJayEss

September 07, 2012, 03:16:40 PM
Downtown, the taxpayers and the entire city of Jacksonville simply deserve better.

Downtown, sure. And the city as an abstract, yes. But the people of Jacksonville? I'm not so sure we deserve better. For the most part, we just elect hacks and sit back and enjoy our low taxes and a corresponding level of amenities and services. The civic involvement expressed by this forum is, unfortunately, not indicative of the city as a whole.

dougskiles

September 07, 2012, 03:30:35 PM
Downtown, the taxpayers and the entire city of Jacksonville simply deserve better.

Downtown, sure. And the city as an abstract, yes. But the people of Jacksonville? I'm not so sure we deserve better. For the most part, we just elect hacks and sit back and enjoy our low taxes and a corresponding level of amenities and services. The civic involvement expressed by this forum is, unfortunately, not indicative of the city as a whole.

We are much closer than you think.  In any group (city, company, church, whatever) the direction is provided by about 5% of the people (maybe even less).  Those who have the motivation and interest to invest time directing the future of the organization.  That isn't to say that the other 95% are doing something wrong, it's just not the role they have chosen to play.

The 95% are looking for good judgement and leadership that they can trust.  That trust has been broken.  I feel that the time couldn't be more perfect for a change in community leadership.

Think of it this way, we don't need to become a majority of all the people in Jacksonville, we just need to become a majority of the 5%.

fieldafm

September 07, 2012, 03:31:18 PM
I've also heard that the reason this garage is being pushed so hard is that it is one of the few Class A office spaces downtown that has the size for say PSS and Advanced Disposal... and that the incentives packages will favor downtown locations. 

It makes sense in that light why the powers that be are pushing this thing so hard.  I still just can't comprehend how moving the freaking building back 25 feet to allow for realistic infill opportunities isn't a big deal. 

That would eliminate an uneccessary courtyard b/w the garage and the Suntrust Building.  Which in the grand scheme of things, is a courtyard more important than providing for the activation of the streetscape with market rate infill opportunities in a downtown environment in one of the most prime empty sites in Downtown Jacksonville?   

JeffreyS

September 07, 2012, 03:54:43 PM
^If the point is to get out of doing retail make the space so that reasonable efforts to rent it won't work. My guess is they won't build until they have renters so when they have to solicit they can approach people who have more space needs and prevent it from ever happening.

The way to get the ball rolling is force them to build appropriate spaces up front as the incentive to work hard to find retail renter.

tufsu1

September 07, 2012, 05:12:23 PM
just out of curiosity....what would stop a retail space from just turning the building on Hogan to go north/south...in essence, Lake shows that a small CVS needs 35' in width....the space along Hogan will be 38'

my bad...I now see tyhe CVS is 75' x 135' (not 75' x 35')....my point is, while not idea, the retail depth needed could be done parallel to Hogan St...the downside is that back-of-house wouldn't face the garage and instead be on the street....which is part of the problem with the Landing

thelakelander

September 07, 2012, 05:28:10 PM
^The major negative is you significantly reduce not only your potential retail uses with limited depths but you also kill the possibility of greater infill development.  For example, the wider your depth is, the better chance you could accommodate a new mixed use structure with several floors above street level retail included.  In the current configuration, maybe you'll get that long lost Starbucks back because to leasing rates to cover the new construction will probably be above the level of a mom & pop startup.  Nevertheless, I wish them the best of luck in landing a company like PSS at the Suntrust Tower.  That would be a major coup for DT.

Steve_Lovett

September 08, 2012, 02:24:51 AM
It was approved 3-1.  Chris Flagg voted against it because he believes the product isn't best suited for that piece of property.

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2012-09-06/story/city-board-oks-concept-parking-garage-across-jacksonville-landing

Quote
Ashish Bahl, a Parador principal, said the 65 percent occupancy rate is not an arbitrary number.
“That's the point when we make money, and we’re more than happy to funnel it back into Jacksonville,” he said.

The parking garage could fulfill the city’s long-standing obligation to provide parking for the Landing, if the mall’s ownership agreed. In that case, the city would earmark up to $132,500 per year to Parador for a maximum payout of almost $1.6 million for a parking validation program that would give discounted parking to Landing patrons.

The validation program would begin five years after the garage is built. The Landing owner, Toney Sleiman, so far has not agreed to let the proposed garage fulfill the city’s obligation.

Chris Flagg is the only one on that board with any sense and a true planning/design background.  To bad he is outnumbered by idiots.

Chris is a great guy, but the statement that he's the only one on that Board with planning/design background/sense is simply not true.

Unfortunately many members of the DDRB weren't in attendance for this discussion. I understand they were scrambling at the start of the meeting just to establish a quorum. That's a shame - especially for an important discussion such as this.

I haven't seen the 10 stipulations that this project was approved with (and I don't know what they are), but the merits of the approval/disapproval should take into account the conditions placed on the decision.

simms3

September 08, 2012, 10:45:28 AM

Has anybody brought forth an argument about inconsistency between the Landing and this dead zone; that is, I thought a main problem of the Landing was that it turned its back on downtown, that it should be opened up in the middle?  How well can the Landing embrace the rest of an active (hopefully increasing) downtown and create a synergy?  Unless I'm missing something this seems asinine to me.

Yes, what happens on the south side of the garage will be a critical component of downtown's future.  The intersection of Water and Hogan Streets really should be a high activity zone and major destination point in the heart of downtown.

Remember, taxpayers are subsidizing this.  I have no problem with the developer wanting a parking garage for his building.  They simply just need to a) construct it according to the minimum design standards downtown (which are far less restrictive than virtually ALL downtown areas) b) not take taxpayer money from a dedicated pot to satisfy a 20 year long legal requirement to provide parking to the Landing to pay for half of the construction cost  and c) don't allow some arbitrary occupancy rate designed to mitigate the risk to the developer as the impetus to receiving TAXPAYER money to finance this project


Downtown, the taxpayers and the entire city of Jacksonville simply deserve better.

This is a good point that I believe we made the first go around as well a year ago it seems.  Taxpayers are essentially subsidizing Parador Partners the ability to exit their risky deal to sell office condos in downtown Jacksonville and that's all.  Personally I think it's a crime.

Retail or no retail  (and I have a hard time thinking anything substantial, even a CVS, would consider the site with current opportunity downtown) this site deserves to be a grass lot until something grand with hard backing can do the job.  This could be the most blatantly bad and inequitable decision ever made for downtown to allow and subsidize this horrible project that so many Jacksonville companies seem proud to carry their names on.


It was approved 3-1.  Chris Flagg voted against it because he believes the product isn't best suited for that piece of property.

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2012-09-06/story/city-board-oks-concept-parking-garage-across-jacksonville-landing

Quote
Ashish Bahl, a Parador principal, said the 65 percent occupancy rate is not an arbitrary number.
“That's the point when we make money, and we’re more than happy to funnel it back into Jacksonville,” he said.

The parking garage could fulfill the city’s long-standing obligation to provide parking for the Landing, if the mall’s ownership agreed. In that case, the city would earmark up to $132,500 per year to Parador for a maximum payout of almost $1.6 million for a parking validation program that would give discounted parking to Landing patrons.

The validation program would begin five years after the garage is built. The Landing owner, Toney Sleiman, so far has not agreed to let the proposed garage fulfill the city’s obligation.

Chris Flagg is the only one on that board with any sense and a true planning/design background.  To bad he is outnumbered by idiots.

Chris is a great guy, but the statement that he's the only one on that Board with planning/design background/sense is simply not true.

Unfortunately many members of the DDRB weren't in attendance for this discussion. I understand they were scrambling at the start of the meeting just to establish a quorum. That's a shame - especially for an important discussion such as this.

I haven't seen the 10 stipulations that this project was approved with (and I don't know what they are), but the merits of the approval/disapproval should take into account the conditions placed on the decision.


What a damn shame.  I realize that unlike many city workers DDRB members are almost performing a community service, but this is one of the most if not the most important decision they will have to make regarding any projects downtown and most couldn't make it?  No excuses unless one's loved one were dying or something tragic.  If you can make a meeting to discuss signage for small businesses or 7-11 way back on State St or some retail buildouts in some old crappy garages, you HAVE to make a meeting to discuss this.  Pathetic and shameful they didn't (did the City threaten DDRB members in avoiding the vote or voting for it if they were in attendance?  Sounds like the Mayor was FOR this project!!)

Ocklawaha

September 08, 2012, 12:07:50 PM
To achieve those extra few feet needed for retail, do I sense another metrojacksonville video presentation on our horizon?

jcjohnpaint

September 08, 2012, 12:30:37 PM
They should add 5 more floors to this garage... Three for the landing (end this issue once and for all) and two so the city will never have the right to bitch about no parking downtown every again!

dougskiles

September 08, 2012, 01:28:29 PM
I am beginning to feel the same way - and as long as this new structure is moved closer to the Suntrust building so as to allow a successful retail building along the perimeter, it could be a win for all.

And who knows - there may be some other opportunities out there that haven't been explored yet.

In fact, this decision would be a PERFECT test case for the IBM Smarter Cities program of developing a more objective decision-making process.

There are three (3) significant goals that the development of this site can achieve:

1. Provide dedicated private parking for the SunTrust building that would have the potential to bring another 800 workers downtown.

2. Provide dedicated public parking for the Landing and fulfill the city's obligation.

3. Provide street level businesses that will eliminate a dead zone of pedestrian activity.

Is it possible to achieve all three?  Absolutely.  Should we accept anything less? No.

Jason

September 10, 2012, 09:34:05 AM
What parking arrangements does the building currently have with surrounding garages/lots?  And why are those arrangements suddenly not sufficient?  Did the building grow taller last year?

I don't see how giving money to a private company for an uneeded garage on a PRIME peice of real estate is any benefit to the city or The Landing.  The Landing needs parking on site and has/had a development strategy to provide it.  All that is needed is the means to provide it as promised by the city decades ago.  The deal is and should remain between the City and The Landing.... leave the other properties alone.

JaxArchitect

September 10, 2012, 10:35:56 AM
I've read all of the posts about moving the garage closer to the Suntrust Bldg and I don't completely agree.  I do think that they could maybe move it 5' to 10' closer to the Suntrust Bldg but beyond that, this would do a great disservice to the quality of the Suntrust Bldg and (maybe more importantly) the marketability and value of the rentable real estate in those offices where windows and views are important.  Furthermore, if they simply incorporate the first 20' deep parking stall on the first floor to the rear of the retail space, those retail spaces would be 58' deep (completely acceptable for downtown) rather than 38'.  If these spaces are critical to the proforma, they would have to be replaced by adding another level to the garage.  The only other complication is that the first floor would have to most likely have a higher floor-to-floor height than currently planned in order to fit the retail into the first floor of the garage.  This is done all the time and should not be a deal killer.

Also, I need to reiterate that this building design is terrible and should never have been approved.

fieldafm

September 10, 2012, 10:47:40 AM
Quote
If these spaces are critical to the proforma, they would have to be replaced by adding another level to the garage.

I agree, but you have to understand the context:  this garage is to be constructed as cheaply as possible.  Adding another level will make this 'economically unfeasible'.  That was made unequivocably clear during the entire process.

I think it's ludricrous that taxpayers are subsidizing this and are subsequently getting dicated the terms... escpecially since the money was provided through a settlement that was earmarked to satisfy a decades long commitment to the Jacksonville Landing. 

If you can't afford to build it correctly then the answer is quite simple:  Don't build it. 

If the taxpayers weren't paying for HALF the cost of a private developer's parking garage, I would be moved to conclude that a proper setback is a reasonable solution.

But subsidizing this parking garage (haven't we learned that lesson yet: http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2011-10-27/story/jacksonville-has-time-make-decision-3-parking-garages ) and approving a design that all but ensures unleasable property downtown is absolutely absurd!

JaxArchitect

September 10, 2012, 10:58:16 AM
I completely agree that this project's main objective is to be cheap.  It's very apparent.

thelakelander

September 10, 2012, 11:02:43 AM
Quote
Furthermore, if they simply incorporate the first 20' deep parking stall on the first floor to the rear of the retail space

That would be great but the developer doesn't want any retail within the garage structure itself.  Also, the Jax Daily Record has an article up about this project with some good quotes.  After all the discussion about this being a high profile downtown lot that's key to the overall area's future, I still don't think the Haskell project manager gets it.

Quote
Flagg suggested changing the design to include environmentally conscious elements such as plant material on its exterior walls, a “green roof” and LED lighting.

“We need to be as innovative as we can be if we’re going to put a parking garage in a prime location,” he said.

Following the board’s comments, Haskell Director of Project Development John Norris said putting so many conditions on what the client has to provide could make the project untenable.

“There is a break-even point. You can only do so much to a building before it becomes financially unfeasible. How much can you ask of one particular project? It is a parking garage. Putting a green wall on a building does not make more people want to park in it,” he said.

http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=537451

simms3

September 10, 2012, 12:39:49 PM
Has anyone suggested that if parking rates downtown are so low that they can't even justify a slightly prettied above grade structure without free money to the tune of at least a third of the replacement cost from the city, then perhaps there isn't really market demand for parking to justify this project in the first place?

The fact remains that the proposed garage is still as cheap as a garage can possibly go.  It's going to be prefab tilt-up construction the way Haskell does all of its garages, the design elements are bare minimal, there is no retail built in and if it is, it's so minimal it does not detract from the overall parking schematic, and this isn't a large garage, the city is putting up $3.5MM it has in its coffers from some unknown source and in addition the city is going to subsidize a large portion of the parking each year (i.e. the income of the property) so that Toney Sleiman can continue to do jack shit with the Landing.

Overall, while the economics are not as grand as the Courthouse, this is by far a worse blunder.  People proud to be involved with this project should kindly walk themselves out of the city and try to find another that may accomodate them (doubtful they would be able to).

Trying to stimulate creative adaptive re-use of historic building fabric to remove blight and increase tax rolls and surrounding property values, potentially bringing residents and hotel rooms with resulting bed tax is one thing (and also creating a better vibe that may be more attractive to companies seeking to be near the action and their young workforce).  But stimulating an ugly eyesore of a massive parking garage on the city's Postcard Lot to help out a trio of inexperienced real estate investors (I believe one is even a doctor, but don't quote me, since WHEN do we help out doctors making poor financial decisions??) and a local disgruntled strip mall landlord who probably won't actually put more than a dime into the Landing even with the parking.  People should be getting fired over this, seriously.

Lunican

September 10, 2012, 01:23:37 PM
Has anyone suggested that if parking rates downtown are so low that they can't even justify a slightly prettied above grade structure without free money to the tune of at least a third of the replacement cost from the city, then perhaps there isn't really market demand for parking to justify this project in the first place?

Of course there is no market for those parking spots. They can't even fill the empty lot this thing is proposed for.

thelakelander

September 10, 2012, 01:38:43 PM
^Now that is interesting.  The surface lot right there now doesn't fill up.  I guess they figure that structured parking is more attractive than a surface lot if the city is going to subsidize its construction.

dougskiles

September 10, 2012, 02:22:33 PM
The issue with the parking spaces is directly related to the owner's ability to lease out the building.  Without dedicated parking, they can't find tenants.  The dirt lot (which will need to be made code compliant soon or shut down) doesn't provide this kind of dedicated parking.

The real question is, why was the Suntrust building developed with no dedicated parking?  Sometime ago, there must have been a deal in place for them to get parking offsite.

Non-RedNeck Westsider

September 10, 2012, 02:44:04 PM
Property Type:  Office 
Total Space Available:  214,189 SF 
Secondary Type:  - 
Max Contig Space:  44,007 SF 
Class:  A 
Annual Rent:  - 
Building Size:  383,239 SF 
% Leased:  62.4% 
Year Built/Renov:  1989 / 2004 
Typical Floor Size:  17,000 SF 
Stories:  23  Elevators:  9 with 1ft 
Parking:  Ratio of 2.00/1,000 SF 
Parcel No:  074465-0000, 074465-0001 
Amenities:  Bus Line, Concierge, Corner Lot 

I'm guessing somewhere they're counting 384 parking spots? 

Also, doesn't the % Leased # look a tad inflated?

fieldafm

September 10, 2012, 02:44:57 PM
Quote
Furthermore, if they simply incorporate the first 20' deep parking stall on the first floor to the rear of the retail space


That would be great but the developer doesn't want any retail within the garage structure itself.  Also, the Jax Daily Record has an article up about this project with some good quotes.  After all the discussion about this being a high profile downtown lot that's key to the overall area's future, I still don't think the Haskell project manager gets it.

If the developer added another floor, you would have enough space on the first floor to build out proper retail bays right now.  You wouldn't have to worry about having the building set back from the street to allow for future infill.  Problem solved.

However, at the very first meeting it was repeated that 'building retail now would add more than $300k to the cost due to the inclusion of fire suppression systems'  (wow less than 5% of the cost of construction, half of which is covered by taxpayers) and 'adding another floor with retail on the bottom would add unfeasible costs to the project'. 

Keep in mind, this taxpayer subsidy represents about 35% of the acquisition cost of both properties, one parcel includes 152,000 square feet of available Class A office space in a market that could well include two potential large company moves downtown (that will be subsidized as well).  That's about as sweet a deal as it comes.

The comment that 'You can only do so much to a building before it becomes financially unfeasible. How much can you ask of one particular project? It is a parking garage.'  is about as telling as you can get. 

Subsidizing the destruction of downtown's economic fabric is not much of a vision and is not asking too much of a building. 

I genuinely hope the developer backfills those spaces quickly.  I agree that dedicated parking certainly makes this building more attractive for future leasing opportunities.  I can't fault someone for that.  If it was my building, I'd want a parking garage too(just not at the taxpayers expense).  I'd also offer transit subsidies for potential tenants for the Skyway/King Street garage, but that's another story.

However, I cannot under any circumstance stand for a taxpayer subsidized dead space in the middle of downtown by allowing this zoning exception.  What is the public benefit in that?  Zoning exceptions are supposed to result in a better product, not creating three larger problems by not addressing a longstanding elephant in the room (Landing parking).

Last I checked, you don't get four strikes in baseball.

Quote
Sometime ago, there must have been a deal in place for them to get parking offsite.

There was.  The former owner (Cameron Kuhn) acquired SunTrust(bldg) and the adjoining parking lot and was going to build a large tower on site with a dedicated parking garage beneath the new building that would serve both towers and have dedicated spaces for the Landing.  He went belly up, and as such the money reserved for that garage (which was in place b/c it provided dedicated parking to the Landing) languished and reappeared when Sleiman tried to purchase the surface lot adjacent to the Enterprise Center.  Of course, we all know that deal fell through.

fieldafm

September 10, 2012, 02:47:17 PM
Property Type:  Office 
Total Space Available:  214,189 SF 
Secondary Type:  - 
Max Contig Space:  44,007 SF 
Class:  A 
Annual Rent:  - 
Building Size:  383,239 SF 
% Leased:  62.4% 
Year Built/Renov:  1989 / 2004 
Typical Floor Size:  17,000 SF 
Stories:  23  Elevators:  9 with 1ft 
Parking:  Ratio of 2.00/1,000 SF 
Parcel No:  074465-0000, 074465-0001 
Amenities:  Bus Line, Concierge, Corner Lot 

I'm guessing somewhere they're counting 384 parking spots? 

Also, doesn't the % Leased # look a tad inflated?

It's a tower of office condos.  There are people who own a portion of those office condos already in the building.  When Parador bought it, they only purchased a little over 200k square feet (if I'm not mistaken).

Non-RedNeck Westsider

September 10, 2012, 03:13:24 PM
the 65% number stuck in my head from your response ealier in the thread...

And the applicant was correct, 65 percent occupancy was not arbitrary.  Given that once Class A office space reaches 50pct occupancy, the building becomes much more attractive to sell.  Given the low acquisition costs of the building 4 years ago, my guess is Parador sells it before that 65pct number is reached, thereby dissolving themselves of the responsibility of building the retail which they have made clear is not their kind of business.  All the while they get taxpayer assistance to make that kind of transaction possible.  That's a sweet deal, glad we the taxpayers can subsidize building permanent dead zones on PRIME downtown real estate.

I posted those figures, because based on the leased % now...   It seems as though the retail portion is already really close to a go as is.  I'm assuming leased % = occupancy %.

and if that's a concern (a real concern, not a WLA concern) then we should be pushing even harder for them to put in a viable setback, because it's not a wait and see event.  The occupancy could easily hit 65% (5,500 sqft) prior to construction.

simms3

September 10, 2012, 04:01:18 PM
I would be interested in learning more about office condos.  I'm picturing medical office near a hospital or on a suburban arterial, or small strip specialty centers filled with mom and pop businesses, but I'm drawing a total blank as to what kinds of businesses would wish to own semi-complicated real estate that is beholden to an association in a class B office tower in a CBD with a bad business environment?

Also, assuming the building is 62.4% sold and the condo association was created at least 4 years ago when Kuhn re-organized the multitenant building into condos, isn't there a law that will force the landlord to hand over control of the building to the association at some point by now?

And so assuming Parador Partners, LLC has the adjacent land under a different entity, no matter if the building has dedicated spaces with the garage, etc, aren't there new and increased hurdles to go through to put new condo owners in the building?  Any new buildout or improvement is going to require association consent and must fit association guidelines.

Why is the city risking $3.5MM on this when there is probably little chance of finding a large buyer such as PSS and dealing with the association just increases time and cost to do a deal?  Why would PSS wish to own its own real estate such as in the form of an office condo?

Screw dedicated parking and simple design/aesthetics, with $3.5MM on the stake can the city publicly answer any and all questions regarding the viability of such an investment, the reasoning for such an investment, provide a proforma and deep dive analysis, etc etc?  I remember reading about Parador Partners, LLC when doing some research, it seems at least one is a doctor with no or limited real estate/finance experience.  Do these people have a model?  Do they act as guarantors on a recourse loan?  Who's the lender?  I doubt there's debt because they would have foreclosed already if I had to guess the covenants to perform and no traditional lender would place a term loan on this project.

Ok, questions done, now can someone answer and provide detailed background on the development partnership and its past experience?  Can someone answer my questions on office condos?  Can someone tell me the $3.5MM is actually going to solve something, even if it's just some folks' bad investment?

fieldafm

September 10, 2012, 04:12:11 PM
You're making a lot of assumptions.

First, the building is Class A.

Yes, there was previously a mortgage on this property (it is not at all difficult to finance such a project).  Parador bought the building from the bank who had a default judgement against Kuhn.

No one has said that future tenants will be buying office condos... you can still lease out significant space in the building. 

There is a world of financial and commercial transactions out there that work differently than what your experience may be. 

You keep calling this a bad investment.  Frankly, with how low the acquisition costs were... this is a really good investment, especially considering the favorable mix of office space in the city that is starting to tilt in downtown's favor.  Throw in a subsidized parking garage and the financials work even better.  They'll flip this thing in under 3 years.     

Regardless, none of these things have anything to do with a zoning exception and the merits of the design review.

If the developer has a dedicated parking garage (in an environment where some large incentivized deals are brewing) that building can be leased out relatively quickly.  It offers some of the largest available chunks of built Class A office space in the city.  Downtown is where you'll see most(not all, Flagler has a lot of land) of the large deals migrate to over the next couple of years simply due to the size of office space available there. 

JFman00

September 10, 2012, 05:00:36 PM
What coercive power does the city have to ensure that the build-out occurs at all/on-time if the occupancy requirements are met?

simms3

September 10, 2012, 05:50:32 PM
You're making a lot of assumptions.

First, the building is Class A.

Yes, there was previously a mortgage on this property (it is not at all difficult to finance such a project).  Parador bought the building from the bank who had a default judgement against Kuhn.

No one has said that future tenants will be buying office condos... you can still lease out significant space in the building. 

There is a world of financial and commercial transactions out there that work differently than what your experience may be. 

You keep calling this a bad investment.  Frankly, with how low the acquisition costs were... this is a really good investment, especially considering the favorable mix of office space in the city that is starting to tilt in downtown's favor.  Throw in a subsidized parking garage and the financials work even better.  They'll flip this thing in under 3 years.     

Regardless, none of these things have anything to do with a zoning exception and the merits of the design review.

If the developer has a dedicated parking garage (in an environment where some large incentivized deals are brewing) that building can be leased out relatively quickly.  It offers some of the largest available chunks of built Class A office space in the city.  Downtown is where you'll see most(not all, Flagler has a lot of land) of the large deals migrate to over the next couple of years simply due to the size of office space available there. 

Thanks for answering my questions.  I guess I jumped the gun a bit, but because the building has multiple ownership there still has to be some sort of association, which never makes anything easier for anybody.  Good to know DT will be a favored deal zone in the future and it makes sense given the blocks of space available and the rates, and obviously dedicated parking attached to a building is a nice amenity anywhere, but I still debate yours and other's opinions that the building is Class A.  For Jacksonville, yes; for most other cities, no.

If this is as good an investment as you say (I suppose the acquisition cost was extremely low given the submarket, the occupancy, and the fact the seller was a bank which probably wanted to offload this baby from its balance sheet ASAP), why is the city giving them ANY money?  And if the city gives them $3.5MM, can we have full disclosure on the deal?  Can they make public their projected cash flows, their business plan, their financials (I'm talking the mothership, whatever entity holds the pass throughs that individually own the land for the garage and the remaining office space in SunTrust)?  Still waiting on just one story yet in my lifetime written by an outsider for a national publication on the upside for investors of the Jacksonville or downtown Jacksonville office market.  Not much has been written on the topic.

simms3

September 10, 2012, 07:55:58 PM
One more questions: is there precedent for the city acting as a preferred equity partner?  So let's say the $3.5MM will help Parador's backers and principals be made whole.  Who's to say the city shouldn't be rewarded with a little 12% interest on its investment in the project?  If city leaders are going to fuck over the cityscape in the name of a possible tenant that may not come and in the name of a disgruntled strip mall king who demands parking for his pet project, but hasn't actually done anything worthwhile yet to the Landing and may not even with his parking, then can the taxpayer or city at least make a little money off of the deal to sell its soul?

simms3

September 10, 2012, 08:05:24 PM
And if not quite preferred equity return, senior to Parador's pass through which owns the SunTrust of course (not the garage), what's the cost of capital for the city on average?  Can we at least get that sort of return on the $3.5MM?  We all know the Sleiman money (~$135K/year) is completely free, technically, but that can be arranged to produce a return, too, and Sleiman should pay it.

Let's force the city either to generate returns on its money for the taxpayer, or only to invest in or lend to projects with experienced backing AND major benefits to the cityscape AND to the tax rolls.  If landing a major tenant to SunTrust will produce tax returns greater than the $3.5MM discounted at the city's cost of capital over 10 years from the initial investment, then I suppose that's better than nothing, but can we see the analysis or the plan?

Does the city have analysts on this?  In my city a lot of special financing packages are made pretty public and the city and its development agencies have an army of analysts.  Is it the same in Jacksonville?  Can just anyone get money for their project in Jacksonville?  How are projects chosen?  What are the criteria?  Who sets the criteria?

ChriswUfGator

September 12, 2012, 08:53:14 AM
Also, doesn't the % Leased # look a tad inflated?

Oh, don't get me started on that.

Owners & managers (especially C&W) lie like cheap rugs about vacancy rates on the northbank. About the only honest one down there is Sleiman, who admits COJ screwed him and the whole thing's empty.

PeeJayEss

September 12, 2012, 02:21:45 PM
Oh, don't get me started on that.

Owners & managers (especially C&W) lie like cheap rugs about vacancy rates on the northbank. About the only honest one down there is Sleiman, who admits COJ screwed him and the whole thing's empty.

Exaggeration of vacancy rates should be illegal!!  :P

fieldafm

October 11, 2012, 10:09:02 AM
Parador's proposed exception request is up for final review today:

http://www.coj.net/departments/office-of-economic-development/docs/downtown-development/ddrb-meeting-packet-october-2012.aspx

I-10east

June 11, 2013, 04:52:16 PM
A 'big tenant' is lined up to occupy the building.

www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/blog/2013/06/suntrust-tower-owner-moving-forward.html

thelakelander

June 12, 2013, 02:03:26 AM
So, will they be adding the retail component, since they have their big tenant?

Jason

June 12, 2013, 08:30:39 AM
Doubtful.

JayBird

June 12, 2013, 08:44:34 AM
But wasn't that part of the agreement with the City? Also, wouldn't be cheaper in long run to build retail component now instead of later?

thelakelander

October 02, 2013, 10:41:15 PM
This project is still behind schedule but they intend to break ground before the end of the year.

Parador's Downtown parking garage to break ground by year's end

full article: http://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2013/10/02/paradors-downtown-parking-garage-to.html

urbaknight

October 03, 2013, 01:52:13 PM
Just a half hour ago, my friend And I were talking about the garage. Hope to see it happen soon.

Just below the article they have an article about the landing and that slaiman is considering adding residential to the landing. Just scroll down a little bit and you should see it. If he can successfully put in those much needed apartments (for rentals, NOT condos that cost 100's of thousands to buy) then he would partially be redeemed in my book.

edjax

October 03, 2013, 02:54:01 PM


Parador garage plans filed
Thursday, October 3, 10:11 AM EDT
A long-planned parking garage is taking shape along Hogan Street across from the Jacksonville Landing and next to the SunTrust Tower. The Haskell Co. has filed site development plans with the city for the six-level Parador Partners parking garage at 37 S. Hogan St. Downtown. The project is designed on vacant space. Plans show a 607-space garage that also has a line of retail spaces facing Hogan Street.


^^the above is from the daily record.  It seems to indicate what was filed with the city actually includes the retail on Hogan.  Does this really mean they are going to proceed from the beginning with the retail component??

tufsu1

October 03, 2013, 04:04:41 PM
^ the agreement they struck required a retail component once the tower was leased at a certain percentage (I think something like 60%)....if they get this insurance company signed, it will meet the threshold.

edjax

October 03, 2013, 04:09:38 PM
^ yes I understood that to be the case. So this filing then with the city to begin construction indicating the retail does not mean they follow what they are filing?  Seems like if what was approved did not require the retail until the threshold was met they would then file with the city to begin construction documents that do not include the retail. 
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