Retail-less Parador Parking Garage Up For DDRB Appoval

September 6, 2012 116 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

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.



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

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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 fašade 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

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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 fašade 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