220 Riverside Breaks Ground: A New Day For Brooklyn?

November 14, 2012 58 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Does the ground breaking of 220 Riverside represent the beginning of an urban development boom in downtown's final frontier? With 220 Riverside now underway, here is a brief summary of 220 Riverside's groundbreaking and a look at additional proposed projects in Brooklyn.

Jacksonville-based Hallmark Partners and city, business and community partners gathered on Tuesday morning to celebrate the start of construction on 220 Riverside, a mixed-use development in the city’s historic Brooklyn neighborhood. The 220 Riverside project will feature a 294-unit, seven-story multifamily rental housing development and 18,000 square feet of retail space, all centered around a community park.

“Great cities need an iconic place for the community to come together,” said Alex Coley, president for Hallmark Partners, which is developing 220 Riverside along with apartment industry leader MAA and Bristol Development Group. “After planning for more than a decade, we are thrilled that 220 Riverside can and will be that place for Jacksonville, combining housing, shopping and eating establishments with a vibrant, dynamic gathering space for Jacksonville.”

220 Riverside's West Elevation

220 Riverside's South Elevation

The 220 Riverside project represents a $39.5 million investment into property that has long been vacant. It will spur economic growth in this distressed area and serve as a catalyst for future redevelopment. Additionally, the 220 Riverside project will serve as an important point of connection as the revitalization of historic Brooklyn will expand the housing and entertainment venues of Riverside and Avondale into the downtown core.

“Downtown Jacksonville is on the move. There is a buzz unlike we’ve felt in years and 220 Riverside is playing a major role in the rebirth of our city center,” said Mayor Alvin Brown. “I’ve made it no secret that Downtown is a major priority, but government can’t do it alone. By working with the city, Hallmark Partners is reducing costs while growing an estimated $6.9 million for the city and schools over the next 20 years. Let this be a great example to show that private sector investment Downtown benefits us all.”

In addition to increasing housing and retail space in downtown, 220 Riverside will feature an adjacent urban park that will operate under a unique public-private partnership. Part of Hallmark Partners’ rental proceeds from the retail portion of the development will fund ongoing park maintenance and operational expenses. The park will be operated, managed and owned by a nonprofit created by Hallmark Partners. Approximately the size of a football field and able to accommodate more than 1,000 people, the park will support more than 250 days of programming and special events throughout the year.

“The 220 Riverside project will breathe life into the Brooklyn neighborhood, bringing needed housing, economic opportunities and public amenities to this community,” said City Councilman Warren Jones. “Hallmark Partners and 220 Riverside are part of a group of pioneers working toward the redevelopment of Brooklyn. In conjunction with community leaders and areas businesses, this group is leading the way for a better quality of life for our downtown residents and visitors and inspiring future growth.”

MAA, a market leader in multifamily residential investment, joined the 220 Riverside development team earlier this month and Tom Grimes, a Jacksonville native and executive vice president and COO for MAA, said he expects 220 Riverside to greatly impact downtown Jacksonville.

“The 220 Riverside project will create value for our shareholders by serving as a much-needed residential and retail anchor for this historic community,” said Grimes. “We are proud to be part of the team that will bring quality living, working and entertainment opportunities to Jacksonville.”

Construction of 220 Riverside is anticipated to last 20 months, with an estimated completion date of August 2014.

Source: Hallmark Partners Press Release

A Brooklyn Development Boom On The Horizon?

220 Riverside (Number 1) is the first of many developments that could be underway, completed, or far along by 2014.  Others include:

2. Unity Plaza

Unity Plaza with 220 Riverside in the background.

San Marco isn't the only urban neighborhood that will see the addition of a new public square in 2013.  Complementing 220 Riverside, Unity Plaza will be an urban public square at the intersection of Riverside Avenue and Forest Street.  Modeled after Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square, Unity Plaza will be operated by a nonprofit board and heavily programmed.

3. Riverside Place

Riverside Place conceptual site plan.

Proposed by Atlanta-based Lincoln Property Company and Pope & Land Enterprises, Inc., Riverside Place could add 280 additional multifamily apartments in Brooklyn.  Bounded by Park, Leila, Jackson, and Magnolia Streets, the development's 11-acre site plan features four, four story apartment buildings surrounded by eight, two-story carriage houses.

Source: http://www.popeandland.com/properties/detail.aspx?id=73

4. Riverside & Jackson

Initial Riverside & Jackson (bottom) and DDRB approved Riverside Place (top) site plan.

Adjacent to Riverside Place, Atlanta-based Fuqua Development has proposed a 60,000 square foot shopping center that will complement Riverside Place. Conceptual site plans indicate space for a high-end 20,000 square foot specialty grocery store, 15,000 square foot pharmacy, restaurants, and specialty retail.  According to the Jacksonville Business Journal, Fresh Market may potentially be the development's anchor.  Riverside & Jackson is anticipated to be completed in Spring 2014.

Source: http://www.fuquadevelopment.com/files/jacksonville/riversideandjackson.pdf

5. Riverside YMCA

Proposed Riverside YMCA perspective looking from the Northbank Riverwalk.

Located at 221 Riverside Avenue, the proposed YMCA building will be a three story, 85,000 square feet structure.   The 60 foot high building will include a splash pool over a storm water vault and park facing the riverwalk.

Source: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2012-oct-a-closer-look-at-riverside-ymcas-development-plans

6. Riverside Dog Park

Proposed Riverside Dog Park site plan.

With the support of the City of Jacksonville, Florida Department of Transportation, and an in-kind donation from the Haskell Company, Riverside Avondale Preservation is making progress on transforming a forgotten piece of property under Interstate 95 into a two-acre dog park.


- One-and-a-quarter acre large/active-breed area. The active area will feature decomposed granite ground cover, an eighth of a mile walking path and a shade pavilion.

- Quarter-acre small/passive-breed area featuring significant old-growth tree coverage and bench seating.

- Ample on-street parallel parking will be created along with one dedicated handicapped-accessible parking space, adjacent to the existing JEA substation.

- Double-gated entries for both pet areas.

- A new sidewalk that will connect Park and College Streets – serving as a neighborhood connector.

- Dog Park will extend north to Annie Lyttle School property line, hopefully renewing interest in the rehabilitation of this historic building.

To learn more about this project or support RAP's fundraising efforts, visit http://www.riversideavondale.org/index.php?id=236 for more information.

7. Riverside Streetcar

Original image (without Jacksonville signage) provided by Scarequotes at Flickr.com

With council's decision to end the Mobility Fee Moratorium and development in Brooklyn and Riverside picking up steam, capital can now be generated to fund the eventual construction of a starter streetcar line connecting Brooklyn and LaVilla with Downtown Jacksonville, Riverside, and the Southbank (via connectivity with the skyway).  The starter line, which includes a $36 million segment tying East Bay Street with Five Points and a shorter $14 million extension from Five Points to Park & King, would be funded 100% by Mobility Fee revenue.  If desired by the City, this project could be jump started through the use of the mobility fee as a method to leverage additional dollars and grants from various federal or public/private resources.  While 220 Riverside gets things started, the streetcar could be the economic game changer that converts isolated pockets of activity into one large market rate vibrant zone stretching from downtown to Riverside.

This graphic highlights various conceptual routes for a streetcar tying Riverside, Brooklyn, and downtown together with Skyway connectivity to access the Southbank and San Marco.  In the upcoming days, we'll highlight a "no-frills" and affordable solution to enhance skyway service with the new Riverside Avenue developments.

With 220 Riverside now under construction, what's your prediction for Brooklyn?

Article by Ennis Davis