Author Topic: Is the FTU site locked into a suburban site plan?  (Read 1659 times)

thelakelander

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Is the FTU site locked into a suburban site plan?
« on: September 20, 2021, 08:56:13 AM »
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The Downtown Investment Authority has approved a $31.59 million incentives package for the former Florida Times-Union site on Brooklyn's riverfront. In doing so, has the site been locked into a suburban-style site plan that's incongruous with an urban environment?


Read More: https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/is-the-ftu-site-locked-into-a-suburban-site-plan/
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Zac T

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Re: Is the FTU site locked into a suburban site plan?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2021, 10:23:06 AM »
When is the next meeting related to this development?

Captain Zissou

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Re: Is the FTU site locked into a suburban site plan?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2021, 12:24:04 PM »
I think with some tweaks the current design can be saved.  Remove all of the scattered parking at riverside and the dead end road because that will just add to site traffic.  People will just drive back and forth between them to save walking an extra 50 feet.  Keep the two north/south roads where they are and make the main east west road in the middle where it is currently dead end parking.  Put angle parking on the north/south roads with retail commercial fronting the street for the whole length on the west "main entrance" and retail on the first floor of the phase 2 residential at the intersection of the east/west road. The garage entrance on should be on the east/west road.  The signature restaurant should be at the intersection of the main road and the riverwalk, but not obstruct river views.  For events you can close the entrance road south of the east/west road and there should be public space/river access where the current garage entrance is.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2021, 12:26:31 PM by Captain Zissou »

thelakelander

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Re: Is the FTU site locked into a suburban site plan?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2021, 01:16:42 PM »
Definitely seems doable. There's a ton of space dedicated to vehicular movement, especially having individual entrances/ramps for each level of the garage, outside of the parking structure itself. I assume that's a cost savings move, given the sloping elevation of the site. My main question would be around determining if the site plan is far enough along to where the developer is already locked into the Phase I residential and garage footprints of the plan? They basically drive the direction of everything else moving forward.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2021, 03:34:05 PM by thelakelander »
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Tacachale

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Re: Is the FTU site locked into a suburban site plan?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2021, 03:15:33 PM »
^Yeah. I'd say if there's any hope of saving it at all, it'll take very quick action by DIA. Otherwise we're just going further and further down the same path.
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?

jcjohnpaint

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Re: Is the FTU site locked into a suburban site plan?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2021, 03:42:09 PM »
That is why I was so surprised they were moving so fast on this. A conceptual design still costs time and money, even if it isn't exact. Meaning it has to be close to what the developer was thinking. I really wish they put more thought into the creek activation and location. If they keep it where it is, they could have shops on each side similar to cities like Venice or Amsterdam. At least don't make it a bad afterthought for part 2 of the project.

Zac T

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Re: Is the FTU site locked into a suburban site plan?
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2021, 03:18:30 PM »
When asked about the FTU site plan, Lori Boyer stated that Fuqua has already submitted conceptual designs to DDRB and that any changes to the site plans would have to be made by them. The DIA is mostly concerned with the riverfront restaurant and daylighting McCoy's creek

Charles Hunter

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Re: Is the FTU site locked into a suburban site plan?
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2021, 04:33:38 PM »
The DIA is worse than useless. They are causing harm to downtown, instead of improving it.
Time for a Reset.

thelakelander

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Re: Is the FTU site locked into a suburban site plan?
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2021, 05:10:03 PM »
When asked about the FTU site plan, Lori Boyer stated that Fuqua has already submitted conceptual designs to DDRB and that any changes to the site plans would have to be made by them. The DIA is mostly concerned with the riverfront restaurant and daylighting McCoy's creek
Hate to say we told everyone so. That site plan was anything but conceptual and now we've likely committed ourselves to incentiving a substandard layout and using tax money to prop up a restaurant that will ultimately fail.

Also, when daylighted, the creek will be an afterthought and not properly integrated with the development.  When you don't get your site plan properly set up early, none of the vertical fluff is going to overcome that.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2021, 05:16:13 PM by thelakelander »
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: Is the FTU site locked into a suburban site plan?
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2021, 06:35:13 PM »
Are there any city planners on the DIA board or is it just people associated with development generally?  I appreciate people serving/volunteering in unpaid civic positions but the trade-off is you may have people in over their heads regarding evaluating the projects the staff presents to them due to lack of experience, time, capacity or interest.  I think we had this problem at JEA, thus the blowup there, and we have at JTA, thus the U2C going forward toward doomsday.

Civic boards should follow best practices for corporate boards:  A diversity of perspectives, experiences and talents relevant to the board's mission from people who understand they have a fiduciary responsibility to appropriately investigate, question and evaluate to some level of detail what they are presented with by staff.  Not be a rubber stamp.  Also, not have a conflict of interest or be too buddy-buddy with the staff that they aren't comfortable confronting them with some degree of skepticism at times.  Corporate boards also compensate board members at a level that assures the board members will devote the time and energy to perform their roles adequately.  There are clearly exceptions, but given there are thousands of well managed and successful companies using this model, it works most of the time.

Charles Hunter

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Re: Is the FTU site locked into a suburban site plan?
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2021, 10:04:27 PM »
Here's what the Ordinance Code says about DIA Board Members, reformated into bullet format for clarity

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From Section 55.107
(b)(1)  Board membership. The Board shall consist of nine members,
five to be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by Council and
one shall be a resident or have substantial business interests in the Southbank CRA; and
one shall be a resident or have substantial business in the Northbank CRA.


four to be appointed by the Council President and confirmed by Council. Of the four appointed by Council,
one shall be a resident or have substantial business interests in the Southbank CRA; and
one shall be a resident or have substantial business interests in the Northbank CRA.

The remaining five members shall fulfill one of the following categories without duplication:
downtown resident (a minimum of two years);
a downtown retail operator;
a downtown real property owner,
a member of the banking or finance industry,
a person with business management expertise,
a practicing attorney,
a person with commercial real estate experience,
an architect,
or an urban planner.

(2) Term of office and appointment. Members shall be appointed for four-year staggered terms, expiring on June 30 of the subject term. ... No member shall serve for more than two consecutive full terms; ...

(3)  Removal. Members shall serve at the pleasure of the Mayor and may be removed at any time by the Mayor with Council approval.

There are nine categories for the "remaining five members" and one person cannot check two (or more) of those boxes.

The current DIA Board Members - the DIA website does not identify into which of the boxes their members belong, just what their "day job" is.

Mayor's appointees
W. Braxton Gillam, Esq. - Board Chair - an Attorney, term expires 6/30/24
William E. Adams, Esq. - lawyer - 6/30/22
Todd Froats - Pres. ICX Group (ICX Group provides companies with highly skilled professionals on a project, consulting or permanent basis) - 6/30/22
David Ward, Esq. - Senior Corporate Counsel, Global Payments, Inc. - 6/30/23
Craig Gibbs, Esq. - lawyer 6/30/20, 2nd Term

Council appointees
Carol Worsham - Board Vice Chair - VP of HDR - 6/30/22
James P. (Jim) Citrano, Jr. - Board Secretary - Sr. VP and Commercial Real Estate Mgmt. BB&T (now Truist) Bank - 6/30/23
Oliver Barakat - Sr. VP CBRE Brokerage Services -  6/30/23
Ron Moody - CEO Moody Williams Appraisal Group - Council - 6/30/24

I don't see any planners or architects on the DIA Board.

thelakelander

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Re: Is the FTU site locked into a suburban site plan?
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2021, 10:18:30 PM »
HDR is a planning firm. Their VP is on the DIA board. There are also planners at the staff level. I have no idea how we keep approving and incentiving autocentric infill. There's way too much of the core of this site dedicated to asphalt. Seriously, does that parking garage really need four separate auto entrances and multiple ramps outside of it. I'd rather incentivize a better garage layout in order to free up space in the center of the site than fund an isolated and poorly accessible full service restaurant at the helipad.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Charles Hunter

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Re: Is the FTU site locked into a suburban site plan?
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2021, 10:24:15 PM »
HDR is a planning firm. Their VP is on the DIA board.

That does not mean that Ms. Worsham is a Planner, just that she may have Planners as [in]direct reports.  At my last job, the Planning staff reported to an Engineer.

thelakelander

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Re: Is the FTU site locked into a suburban site plan?
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2021, 04:27:25 PM »
Previous Plan:




Latest Plan:
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

jaxlongtimer

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Re: Is the FTU site locked into a suburban site plan?
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2021, 06:13:20 PM »
^ Ennis, hard to read the fine print without being able to blow these up.  Can you give us a summary of the changes and your comments on same?