Author Topic: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote  (Read 5276 times)

KenFSU

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More info. They hope to be underway within the next 90 days. LaQuinta is one of the chains they're negotiating with:

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/ambassador-hotel-downtown-was-sold-last-week
Super news. That's more like it.

Sort of....but I'll say again: La Quinta doesn't say Luxury hotel. Now, La Quinta is owned by Wyndham....perhaps they mean one of THEIR brands? Though, their brands aren't exactly at the top of the food chain (from Wikipedia, I think it's right):

AmericInn
Baymont Inn & Suites
Days Inn
Dazzler Hotels
Dolce Hotels and Resorts
Esplendor Boutique Hotels
Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham
Howard Johnson
La Quinta Inns & Suites
Microtel by Wyndham
Ramada Worldwide
Super 8
The Trademark Hotel Collection
Travelodge
TRYP by Wyndham
Viva Wyndham
Wingate By Wyndham
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Wyndham Garden Hotels
Wyndham Grand

They also mention Cambria, which is near the top of Choice hotels's pyramid. Better...but not amazing.

I wish them luck and if they do all of this then I'm fine with any brand really. This entire project doesn't add up. Further:

 - They reference Integrity Hospitality. Take a look at their website: https://integrity-hospitality.com/. Does that scream established company to you? The "Powered by GoDadddy Website Builder" at the bottom really sells me.
 - The first phase is to demolish the old Chamber of Commerce building. Why? If the residential is a later phase why spend the money to tear it down now?


What's interesting to me is that the developer originally only wanted to do hotel, no residential, but the DIA talked them into adding the residential component.

Will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Tacachale

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More info. They hope to be underway within the next 90 days. LaQuinta is one of the chains they're negotiating with:

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/ambassador-hotel-downtown-was-sold-last-week
Super news. That's more like it.

Sort of....but I'll say again: La Quinta doesn't say Luxury hotel. Now, La Quinta is owned by Wyndham....perhaps they mean one of THEIR brands? Though, their brands aren't exactly at the top of the food chain (from Wikipedia, I think it's right):

AmericInn
Baymont Inn & Suites
Days Inn
Dazzler Hotels
Dolce Hotels and Resorts
Esplendor Boutique Hotels
Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham
Howard Johnson
La Quinta Inns & Suites
Microtel by Wyndham
Ramada Worldwide
Super 8
The Trademark Hotel Collection
Travelodge
TRYP by Wyndham
Viva Wyndham
Wingate By Wyndham
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Wyndham Garden Hotels
Wyndham Grand

They also mention Cambria, which is near the top of Choice hotels's pyramid. Better...but not amazing.

I wish them luck and if they do all of this then I'm fine with any brand really. This entire project doesn't add up. Further:

 - They reference Integrity Hospitality. Take a look at their website: https://integrity-hospitality.com/. Does that scream established company to you? The "Powered by GoDadddy Website Builder" at the bottom really sells me.
 - The first phase is to demolish the old Chamber of Commerce building. Why? If the residential is a later phase why spend the money to tear it down now?

Who the hell cares what hotel it is?
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

Captain Zissou

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Steve needs a place to crash after too many Old Fashioneds at the Volstead. His head rests on only the finest of pillows.

Steve

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More info. They hope to be underway within the next 90 days. LaQuinta is one of the chains they're negotiating with:

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/ambassador-hotel-downtown-was-sold-last-week
Super news. That's more like it.

Sort of....but I'll say again: La Quinta doesn't say Luxury hotel. Now, La Quinta is owned by Wyndham....perhaps they mean one of THEIR brands? Though, their brands aren't exactly at the top of the food chain (from Wikipedia, I think it's right):

AmericInn
Baymont Inn & Suites
Days Inn
Dazzler Hotels
Dolce Hotels and Resorts
Esplendor Boutique Hotels
Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham
Howard Johnson
La Quinta Inns & Suites
Microtel by Wyndham
Ramada Worldwide
Super 8
The Trademark Hotel Collection
Travelodge
TRYP by Wyndham
Viva Wyndham
Wingate By Wyndham
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Wyndham Garden Hotels
Wyndham Grand

They also mention Cambria, which is near the top of Choice hotels's pyramid. Better...but not amazing.

I wish them luck and if they do all of this then I'm fine with any brand really. This entire project doesn't add up. Further:

 - They reference Integrity Hospitality. Take a look at their website: https://integrity-hospitality.com/. Does that scream established company to you? The "Powered by GoDadddy Website Builder" at the bottom really sells me.
 - The first phase is to demolish the old Chamber of Commerce building. Why? If the residential is a later phase why spend the money to tear it down now?

Who the hell cares what hotel it is?

Honestly I 'm fine if it's a La Quinta or anything. I'm just seeing how this whole "development" seems inconsistent (luxury hotel and we're talking to La Quinta) and unrealistic (what have these guys done, now they're taking on a pretty major development).

I'd love to be wrong though!

Steve

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Steve needs a place to crash after too many Old Fashioneds at the Volstead. His head rests on only the finest of pillows.

Well that's part of it:)

Really, I'd love to see either a Marriott/Starwood or a IHG property. In all of downtown, of the top four hotel groups (counting Marriott and Starwood separate since until August they really are operating separately, and even into 2019 in many ways), downtown is only represented by one (Hilton).

That aside, I'm not a fan of demo-ing a building for what seems like a pie in the sky plan. Leave the building! Not that we've ever seen a development put on indefinite hold downtown....

KenFSU

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With all these new hotel announcements, my kneejerk reaction is, can the market support them all?

Assuming the Ambassador (100 Rooms), Hotel Indigo (90 rooms), Trio Marriott (131 Rooms), Sister Cities Plaza property (guessing here, ~100 rooms), the AC at the District (200 rooms), and even the Berkman II (~200 rooms) all happen, we're talking roughly 820 new hotel rooms downtown to fill.

Don't forget about the Brooklyn Marriott project

Well, I do think we can support them all for a few reasons:

 - Loyal Marriott and IHG folks aren't staying downtown today....because they can't. That alone will help business travelers.
 - The Hyatt's occupancy will dip for sure. Sorry, it's a 963 room hotel.
 - In theory, the AC at the District would cater to some of the office and residential space at the district, creating new demand.
 - Likely, one of them doesn't get built. In terms of likelihood of getting built, I'd throw it in this order:
   - Courtyard at the Trio
   - Indigo
   - Sister Cities Hotel
   - Ambassador
   - Berkman
   - AC at the District.

I'm guessing at least one of them doesn't happen.

Sister cities is the least likely imo since VyStar’s acquisition of the suntrust building. To add a little more good news it looks like someone bought the Berkman last night with plans for a hotel and garage.

Does VyStar's acquisition kill the hotel? I don't think it did. They are separate parcels, though I'm not sure of the details (and has VyStar closed yet)?

Sister Cities is still a go.

128-room Hyatt Place.

Per the JBJ, conceptual meetings ongoing, as recently as last week.

Steve

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With all these new hotel announcements, my kneejerk reaction is, can the market support them all?

Assuming the Ambassador (100 Rooms), Hotel Indigo (90 rooms), Trio Marriott (131 Rooms), Sister Cities Plaza property (guessing here, ~100 rooms), the AC at the District (200 rooms), and even the Berkman II (~200 rooms) all happen, we're talking roughly 820 new hotel rooms downtown to fill.

Don't forget about the Brooklyn Marriott project

Well, I do think we can support them all for a few reasons:

 - Loyal Marriott and IHG folks aren't staying downtown today....because they can't. That alone will help business travelers.
 - The Hyatt's occupancy will dip for sure. Sorry, it's a 963 room hotel.
 - In theory, the AC at the District would cater to some of the office and residential space at the district, creating new demand.
 - Likely, one of them doesn't get built. In terms of likelihood of getting built, I'd throw it in this order:
   - Courtyard at the Trio
   - Indigo
   - Sister Cities Hotel
   - Ambassador
   - Berkman
   - AC at the District.

I'm guessing at least one of them doesn't happen.

Sister cities is the least likely imo since VyStar’s acquisition of the suntrust building. To add a little more good news it looks like someone bought the Berkman last night with plans for a hotel and garage.

Does VyStar's acquisition kill the hotel? I don't think it did. They are separate parcels, though I'm not sure of the details (and has VyStar closed yet)?

Sister Cities is still a go.

128-room Hyatt Place.

Per the JBJ, conceptual meetings ongoing, as recently as last week.

Hyatt Place huh? A little surprised by another Hyatt flag but definitely not a bad thing.

jagsonville

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Hyatt Place huh? A little surprised by another Hyatt flag but definitely not a bad thing.
[/quote]

I stand corrected about Vystar’s purchase killing this project. Hyatt place would be great for that area, I wonder what they will do about parking with parador being used for VyStar and presumably Indigo still. Adkins might want to hold off on finalizing that garage and add another level!

KenFSU

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$6.4 million incentive package passed yesterday by the DIA.

$1.5 from the historic trust fund, plus a $4.9 million REV grant.

Captain Zissou

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$6.4 million incentive package passed yesterday by the DIA.

$1.5 from the historic trust fund, plus a $4.9 million REV grant.

What a bargain compared to the carnival on the waterfront.  This is the kind of project we need to be supporting.  My only concern is the potential demolition of an existing building without replacing it.

thelakelander

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Interesting position Captain Zissou. I understand that they may not be apples to apples, but imagine if $36 million were divided into six Northbank adaptive reuse projects of vacant buildings similar in scale to the Ambassador. What type of impact would that have on downtown's image and foot traffic, when mixed with what already exists or is underway? While not as sexy to suburbanites, one could argue that there would be greater ROI with less risk. Anyway, let's just hope the carnival thing is highly successful and doesn't end up lighting money on fire.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

KenFSU

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$6.4 million incentive package passed yesterday by the DIA.

$1.5 from the historic trust fund, plus a $4.9 million REV grant.

What a bargain compared to the carnival on the waterfront.  This is the kind of project we need to be supporting.  My only concern is the potential demolition of an existing building without replacing it.

Interesting position Captain Zissou. I understand that they may not be apples to apples, but imagine if $36 million were divided into six Northbank adaptive reuse projects of vacant buildings similar in scale to the Ambassador. What type of impact would that have on downtown's image and foot traffic, when mixed with what already exists or is underway? While not as sexy to suburbanites, one could argue that there would be greater ROI with less risk. Anyway, let's just hope the carnival thing is highly successful and doesn't end up lighting money on fire.

The DIA acknowledged the obscene subsidy.

Their justification was that they'd talked to four different developers and no one had the capital to make the project work alone.

They felt that this newest group had the best chance of doing something with the property, and if they didn't play ball with them, the Berkman shell might still be sitting there a decade from now.

Also worth noting that the developer basically admitted yesterday that the Berkman hotel & entertainment complex would turn their back to downtown in an effort to hide the jail from sight.

It's amazing but not surprising to me that all of these decisions continue to be made in a total vacuum. Seems like you could make much more informed decision about subsidizing Berkman II if you knew whether there were plans for a convention center next door. What about the USS Adams, which the DIA has already agreed to let dock on the same property as the amusement park? Is it still coming? Doesn't Iguana already have development rights for this portion of the Shipyards? What's required to clean it up? What's the plan for Met Park once the ramps come down? How does putting a parking garage on this portion of the Shipyards effect the city's ability to perform an in-kind land swap with the Shipyards once Met Park is developed?

With all the money we're throwing around, hopefully someone has a vision for how this all comes together.

Captain Zissou

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^ I totally agree.  The only person with a long range cohesive plan for anything is Lori Boyer's river activation initiative.  I hate that I have to miss a presentation she is doing on Oct 18th.  She is making sure waterfront developers are including a riverwalk in their developments so that we wont have to go back and do it later.  She is also making a large pedestrian project on the southbank that involves a half a dozen developments.

CityLife

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Interesting position Captain Zissou. I understand that they may not be apples to apples, but imagine if $36 million were divided into six Northbank adaptive reuse projects of vacant buildings similar in scale to the Ambassador. What type of impact would that have on downtown's image and foot traffic, when mixed with what already exists or is underway? While not as sexy to suburbanites, one could argue that there would be greater ROI with less risk. Anyway, let's just hope the carnival thing is highly successful and doesn't end up lighting money on fire.

REV Grants (property tax abatements) don't come from an existing pot of incentive money though, so it's not like the $20 million REV grant on the waterfront hotel is taking incentives away from other potential projects. I'm sure if six developers came forward with adaptive reuse projects like the Ambassador, they would get a break on future property taxes generated by the redevelopment.

Completely agree with Ken's point about trying to evaluate all of the projects and subsidies together. With all of the requests for incentives on projects Downtown, it would be nice if the DIA created some sort of matrix to be able to evaluate projects fairly against each other for non REV Grant type requests. With scores weighted for projects that would have the greatest overall impact on Downtown.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2018, 09:49:21 AM by CityLife »

KenFSU

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Permits were filed yesterday to begin interior demolition work at the Ambassador.

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2018/10/12/ambassador-hotels-restoration-moves-closer-to.html