1534 Oak Street Breaks Ground

June 28, 2011 120 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

On Monday, Insetta Family Properties' broke ground on their latest project in Riverside. Their groundbreaking eliminates the last remaining vacant lot on Margaret Street between Five Points and the St. John's River.

Plans for the site include Black Sheep Restaurant Group's newest venture, which will replace Chew, currently located on West Adams Street in Downtown.  Chew will remain open until "about December", according to Jonathan Insetta and Allan DeVault of Black Sheep Restaurant Group.

The second and third floors, which are 6,000 square feet each will be dedicated to office space, and above that will feature rooftop lounge area, something unique to the area.

In addition to the improvements directly related to the building, the group will be adding 11 parking spaces along Oak Street, and has come to an agreement with JEA for them to relocate the utilities on the site underground.  Furthermore, Florida House Bill 1009 allows the restaurant to serve a full bar, not just beer and wine, in a restaurant that has 100 seats, as opposed to the standard 150 seats normally required.

Construction is expected to take about 10 months on the new restaurant, which would mean the building would be complete around the first of May.

Chew will feature covered seating along Margaret Street.

The Margaret Street elevation

The entrance to the building's upper levels will be along Oak Street. The plain wall that was criticized by some in earlier renderings have been changed.

Renderings of the Margaret and Oak Street entrances.

Renderings of the Oak and Margaret Street facades.

Site Clearing Photos

Few were opposed to the concept of a Jonathan Insetta restaurant in Five Points, given the quality of his previous venues (Chew Downtown and Orsay in Avondale).  There was some concern about the design of the building shown in the original renderings, which featured a solid wall along Oak Street.  The current renderings of the building feature windows and landscaping, which is definitely more friendly to the pedestrian.  Furthermore, the typical Jacksonville model when developing on an odd-shaped lot is to add a "park", which essentially means building a square building, and planting grass on the irregular shape.  Hats off to them for actually working with the site's uniqueness.  Overall, it's a great way to close the gap in the Margaret Street corridor.

Development update by Steve Congro