Brooklyn area revitalization efforts get a boost

June 28, 2006 0 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

The Mayor's office announced today, in conjuction with Miles Development Partners, Hallmark Partners, Marks Gray law firm, and Elkins Constructors, the continued efforts to revitalize the Brooklyn area of downtown Jacksonville. The major impetus for this announcement seems to be a newly announced development by Miles Development Partners that will bring the estimated total residential units up to 1,500 for both rent and sale. This will be in addition to an estimated 11,300 square feet of Class A office space to be contained within an 8-story building. Developers of this building will be Marks Gray, PA and Elkins Constructors.In regards to this office building, an agreement has recently been reached between Hallmark Partners, builders of the building on Riverside Avenue, and the JTA which will allow the developers to construct the building 45 feet from the curb of Riverside Avenue. Marks Gray has also announced that they have hired a new architectural firm to produce the renderings for this building. Marks Gray will be occupying the 8th flooor of the building and estimated completion date is 2009.

The following is a partial release of today's announcement from the Mayor's Office...






 Significant private and public plans to improve the area




JACKSONVILLE, Fla., June 28, 2006 –Mayor John Peyton today joined members of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission (JEDC) and representatives of the Miles Development Partners, Hallmark Partners and the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast to announce a series of significant private and public initiatives designed to redevelop and revitalize Jacksonville’s Brooklyn neighborhood. These efforts will concentrate on the areas located within Riverside   Avenue on the east, McCoy’s Creek on the north, Park Street on the west and Forest Street on the south.




The private development projects, led by Miles Development Partners and Hallmark Partners, will result in an exciting mixed-use residential environment offering retail and office space and up to 1,500 residential units for both rent and sale. A cornerstone of the Miles Development Project is an emphasis on workforce housing, as both rental and for sale properties, with price ranges lower than those currently offered in downtown housing projects.




“The creation of a diversified and vibrant downtown is a focus of my administration, and the development of workforce housing in our urban core is an integral part of how we define a successful downtown,” said Mayor Peyton. “The developments planned for the Brooklyn area will contribute to this vision by creating an attractive environment in the central business district where employees will want to live, work and play.”




“Miles Development Partners is proud to be a part of this integrated redevelopment plan for Brooklyn,” said Daniel J. Miles, President, Miles Development Partners.  “It is our company’s strategy to help revitalize urban areas that have been long overlooked for development and we are excited to bring a vibrant mixed-use community to Brooklyn.”




Hallmark Partners’ project includes approximately 250 residential units, more than 111,300 square feet of Class “A” office space and several restaurants and complimentary retail/service uses. The property, labeled 200 Riverside, will build on the Mayor’s vision for Brooklyn as the point of confluence between the established downtown business district and the dynamic residential and retail growth in Riverside. The project’s location will front the planned Brooklyn Central Park. Hallmark has worked extensively with the JEDC and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) to create a park setting as the cornerstone for this new area and Jacksonville’s first transportation-oriented development.






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“Elkins Constructors and Marks Gray plan to occupy approximately half of the office building and discussions are underway with other owner occupants as the project moves forward” said Alex Coley, Principal with Hallmark Partners. “This is an exciting opportunity to bring Class “A” office space with the potential for ownership to tenants interested in the Brooklyn area, and at the same time, bring a new currently unavailable downtown residential product into this exciting market place.”




In addition to private development efforts, the plan could also result in a new state-of-the-art, 60,000 square foot YMCA facility to serve this growing neighborhood. Details of which are still being negotiated by Miles Development Partners and the YMCA with a possible location on the west side of Riverside Avenue, strategically placed next to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s Elevated Transit Station at McCoy’s Creek planned for the area. With its improved access to the downtown transit system, the YMCA facility, a popular community asset, will allow for increased activity and movement between downtown and the Brooklyn community.




“The discussions to build this new YMCA location shows what positive things are happening in our community,” said Trigg Wilkes, CEO for the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. “It has always been a dream of the YMCA’s to be an intricate part of Brooklyn’s revitalization and I am pleased with this potential opportunity for the YMCA.”




The City of Jacksonville will complement this extraordinary redevelopment initiative by creating a new Brooklyn Central Park and a reclaimed McCoy’s Creek greenway. The project will include bike and pedestrian pathways that link Brooklyn to the Riverwalk and will eventually provide additional connections between Downtown and Brooklyn.




The partnership between the private and public entities is a key component of Brooklyn’s revitalization. A number of city and state agencies are collaborating on the project, including the JEDC, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) and the Florida Department of Transportation, who are all working with the private developers to ensure success in this area.




“This is a great step in the execution of the Brooklyn Neighborhood Strategy Plan,” said JEDC Executive Director Ron Barton. “The area holds great promise for creating a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood in the heart of downtown. With the help of our private and non-profit partners, we look forward to providing housing, retail and commercial opportunities with superior open space and recreational amenities.  These projects will also create additional emphasis for the city’s efforts to address affordable housing and revitalization of the Brooklyn neighborhood west of Park Street.”




In addition to providing housing for downtown workers, the redevelopment project will increase the connectivity between the downtown core and Brooklyn, while acting as a catalyst for additional private capital investment in the area. Work will begin on the redevelopment of the area with Miles Development Group bringing forward the first phase of its project before the JEDC’s Design Review Committee (DRC) in July and Hallmark Partners’ project before the DRC in August.