Thursday, August 21, 2014
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
 
Join Metro Jacksonville and get in on the conversation today!Already have an account?  Sign In

Author Topic: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project  (Read 4708 times)

Captain Zissou

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2957
Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2013, 10:47:19 AM »
I looked at the property with a few friends shortly before you purchased the property, Ron, and it looked like a great investment.

Our plan was to leave Gus' shoes in the first floor for the time being, initially demo and clean up the top two floors to be leased out to artists for sleeping and studio space.  Once the real estate market improved, we were going to develop the top 2 floors into 2 units a piece for lease and future condo conversion.  This was before the huge surge towards multi-family development and before some of the progress downtown that has occured over the past 18 months.  Once the top two floors were finished, we were going to address the first floor.  Our timing was based on the Laura Trio project being completed by the time we had finished the apartments so that we could have a better idea of what the area still needs.  More than likely, at least one of the partners involved would have moved into one of the apartments upstairs.

It has been wonderful reading about your progress in the project and it's great to be able to see what a hypothetical for us looks like in the actual process.  I think that a restaurant would be high risk/high reward, but there is plenty of evidence that a well executed concept can thrive downtown even in the worst markets.  Look at Burrito Gallery, Olio, Zodiac, etc......

stephendare

  • Metro Jacksonville
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 38212
  • truth beauty art and love
    • MetroJacksonville
Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2013, 10:47:43 AM »
anything like a grocery store would not have time to open downtown in that space before Spring 2014 anyways.
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

strider

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1601
Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2013, 10:57:28 AM »
Ron, I think if you really go back and research it, you will find you are making a mistake in not pursuing tax credits.  The federal tax credits have actually enabled many to renovate structures that otherwise would have been lost.  I know of cases where the sale of the tax credits has actually paid a substantial part of the rehab expense.  Each case is different but the potential is there and large enough to justify the paperwork. If you don't have the time, hire someone to do it.
"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement." Patrica, Joe VS the Volcano.

Captain Zissou

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2957
Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2013, 11:06:02 AM »
We were also going to pursue one of the Laura Street facade grants from DVI when we were looking at the property.  I don't think that money was ever spent and they have gone well beyond the timing deadline with the landing, so maybe they could with you as well. 

stephendare

  • Metro Jacksonville
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 38212
  • truth beauty art and love
    • MetroJacksonville
Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2013, 11:07:40 AM »
We were also going to pursue one of the Laura Street facade grants from DVI when we were looking at the property.  I don't think that money was ever spent and they have gone well beyond the timing deadline with the landing, so maybe they could with you as well.

Actually I think Ron has already taken advantage of the facade grant for his tables out front.  Some of the money has been spent.  I bet Riverside Planner could fill us in on the progress of the facade funds....
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

ronchamblin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 988
Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2013, 11:09:27 AM »
From what I understand, there is a possible ten year timeline on this project?

Is that accurate?

If so, wouldn't it be a better idea to either partner with someone else or find a different developer for the project?

I hope it's not accurate, that there is not a ten year time limit.  In any case, I must do things according to my time and money constraints.  I agree that getting a partner with enough money would be a great way to speed up the process of developing the property, but I've always avoided partnerships, which, as I think about it, has a lot to do with why I'm still in business, and one reason why I've expanded overall through the years.

Although many partnerships do quite well, I recommend that all business persons avoid partnerships if at all possible, as one never knows the mental developments over time within the mind of the partner.

And as for finding another developer...... well.... the building sat for many years without anyone purchasing it, or developing it.  And if I did not purchase it in April of last year, it probably would still be sitting there.  As it is, as soon as I complete another construction project, we are going to begin the cleanout and limited demo within weeks.  In fact, if another project had not taken my time and money, I would already be well along on this building.  I suspect that even if I offered the building for sale, no new developer would come to it's rescue. 

Look at all the buildings sitting in our core, with no developers.  The only reason I'm able to "do" this building is because it is small enough for me, "and" it is small enough so that during these depressed times in the core, it can still produce an income, with the right business within.  That's the problem with the larger buildings, such as the Barnett etc.  They are too big to be profitable in the core at this time.  In order for anyone to develop these giants, millions would have to be invested to ensure enough income from them.  On these large buildings, who has the money, the plan, and the wish to risk?  There is not enough ongoing vibrancy/population in the core to invite development of the large buildings.  All we can do now is "work" the smaller projects through to income producers.   

But... you will see my good friend Stephen, the project will soon begin to take shape. Be patient with me.  I suspect that just as you can "smell, feel, and live" the restaurant business, among others perhaps, and therefore you have great confidence in "doing" them, I can "smell, feel, and live" projects such as this, just as some others here on MJ can do.  Therefore, there is sound cause for confidence within me on things like this, even when I don't have, for a time, the money to push aggressively ahead with them.

But... yes, if there was a time limit, I would be in trouble.

stephendare

  • Metro Jacksonville
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 38212
  • truth beauty art and love
    • MetroJacksonville
Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2013, 11:17:29 AM »
Ive done more than my fair share of renovations and rehabs in urban environments as well.  Four of them within a block of the building in fact.

I don't doubt that the building would be unpurchased, from the experience of everyone who ever tried to purchase the building from its former owners over the decades.

But there is another side of that coin as well, and that is the slow rot of a building left unused for years.  And perhaps a little discomfort with partners would be worth the money difference in renovating now vs ten years from now.

I am glad to hear that you have experience rehabbing apartments and residential units, it was something I didnt know.  Based on your experience with renting out apartments, what kind of residents are you going to appeal to in the upstairs apartments?
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

fieldafm

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3944
Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2013, 11:25:21 AM »
We were also going to pursue one of the Laura Street facade grants from DVI when we were looking at the property.  I don't think that money was ever spent and they have gone well beyond the timing deadline with the landing, so maybe they could with you as well.

Actually I think Ron has already taken advantage of the facade grant for his tables out front.  Some of the money has been spent.  I bet Riverside Planner could fill us in on the progress of the facade funds....

Although Ron is more than capable of speaking for himself, he used the facade grant funds for a pretty spectacular mural over Chamblins which will be painted by Shaun Thurston starting in February.  If you are downtown, watching Shaun's progress throughout this process will make for quite the enjoyable lunch break.

stephendare

  • Metro Jacksonville
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 38212
  • truth beauty art and love
    • MetroJacksonville
Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2013, 11:28:03 AM »
We were also going to pursue one of the Laura Street facade grants from DVI when we were looking at the property.  I don't think that money was ever spent and they have gone well beyond the timing deadline with the landing, so maybe they could with you as well.

Actually I think Ron has already taken advantage of the facade grant for his tables out front.  Some of the money has been spent.  I bet Riverside Planner could fill us in on the progress of the facade funds....

Although Ron is more than capable of speaking for himself, he used the facade grant funds for a pretty spectacular mural over Chamblins which will be painted by Shaun Thurston starting in February.  If you are downtown, watching Shaun's progress throughout this process will make for quite the enjoyable lunch break.

Exactly!  And a great use of the DVI money.  The rest of Laura Street should be so lucky.
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

thelakelander

  • Metro Jacksonville
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 22623
Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2013, 11:29:59 AM »
We were also going to pursue one of the Laura Street facade grants from DVI when we were looking at the property.  I don't think that money was ever spent and they have gone well beyond the timing deadline with the landing, so maybe they could with you as well.

Actually I think Ron has already taken advantage of the facade grant for his tables out front.  Some of the money has been spent.  I bet Riverside Planner could fill us in on the progress of the facade funds....

An email from DVI to me earlier this month. 

Quote
We started with 12 buildings that were eligible for the grant program.  We had 9 owners agree to become involved with the program (now 8 since Ron has purchased Gus’ shoe store).   Of the 8 available 100 Laura Street, Wells Fargo and Chamblin’s are in the process of completing their plans – hopefully in the next month.  The other five are still in the process of finalizing their plans.
 
We want all work to be completed by the end of March – in time for One Spark.
 
Hope this helps.

PeeJayEss

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 778
Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2013, 11:32:57 AM »
Four of them within a block of the building in fact.

Sweet! Which places?

stephendare

  • Metro Jacksonville
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 38212
  • truth beauty art and love
    • MetroJacksonville
Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2013, 11:40:34 AM »
Four of them within a block of the building in fact.

Sweet! Which places?

Two of them are no longer there, but I renovated the top floors of the old Arcade/Center Theatre in the mid 80s, the top two floors of the Investors Building on Adams Street in the late 80s for use as an apartment (before the Schultz acquisition) my old Loft at 47 West Duval and of course the Boomtown space in Hemming Park.

http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/082600/dsd_loft.html
http://www.myspace.com/boomtowntheater
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

sandyshoes

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 280
Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2013, 11:45:38 AM »
Just playing devil's advocate here;  if I were a tenant, the thought of moving in/out all my belongings when there is only one stairway for everyone to use would scare me off - logistically speaking.  If I were trying to push a sofa upstairs and my neighbors wanted to come down the stairs, you see where that's going.  Perhaps I misunderstand.  A suggestion for something to fill the storefront - as you already have a cafe in the Bookmine, and there is one next door, how about a little neighborhood grocery store, for convenience?  Somebody could run downstairs and pick up whatever they needed, and people nearby could do that on the way home from the office.  Some meats, fresh veggies, staples, a few drugstore type items, laundry soap...nothing huge.  What a dream to have a little mom & pop store.  Wonder if Julie of the Julie's Urban Grocery store would consider something like that, minus her original plans for delivery service?  Thanks for asking for input and thanks for listening.  Whatever you do I know it will be awesome. 

02roadking

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 647
Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2013, 12:21:55 PM »
We're no Brooklyn, N.Y. but, this would look nice...

Springfield since 1998

devlinmann

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 166
Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2013, 12:49:41 PM »
Ron Chamblin is a generous and kind man dedicated to the sustained development of downtown.