The Jaxson

Jacksonville by Neighborhood => Downtown => Topic started by: Steve on July 13, 2018, 05:52:36 PM

Title: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on July 13, 2018, 05:52:36 PM
Well this doesn’t suck:

A St. Augustine-based development company has purchased five parcels of downtown land that includes the abandoned Ambassador Hotel.

The developers plan to renovate the hotel — which is on the National Register of Historic Places — and build 200 apartments and 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space nearby.

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2018/07/13/luxury-hotel-200-apartments-and-retail-coming-to.html?ana=e_jac_bn_exclusive&u=L7p4RmGNN8OFDbqDKooLdw0da09ae7&t=1531518475&j=82692841
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on July 13, 2018, 06:35:35 PM
Nice! That's a site and street that could really use an economic shot in the arm.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on July 13, 2018, 08:14:59 PM
What a way to end the week.

Absolutely love the Ambassador building, cannot wait to see it restored, and thrilled that they're eager to move fast.

Between this and the Jones Furniture project, that's two blocks right in the heart of the urban core brought back to life.

Don't know the proper name of the building, but I've heard there's interest in the five-story building between the Ambassador and Jones Furniture as well (the one behind the Federal Reserve).

Quite the nice little murderers' row of rooftop bars we're looking at here, either on or a block or two off Laura Street.

1) Ambassador Hotel
2) Marriott at the Trio
3) Hotel Indigo
4) Cowford Chophouse
5) An additional rooftop restaurant/bar in the works, far enough along that renders and cost estimates exist

Really, really solid month for downtown Jax, between the Ambassador, the Barnett flying along, the District sale closing, the McCoys Creek allocations, the parking lot sale, etc.

Plus, the convention center RFP closes in two weeks.

I give full credit to the new website :)
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on July 13, 2018, 08:20:28 PM
If all of those actually open, a year after that I’ll need to go to meetings.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on July 13, 2018, 08:39:35 PM
Also, though (rightfully) panned the renderings for the Residence Inn in Brooklyn has a rooftop bar.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on July 13, 2018, 09:45:52 PM
Also, per the article, the building adjacent to the Ambassador (404 N. Julia) will be demolished to make way for 200 apartments with ground-level retail. Seems like a crazy high number of units for that parcel unless they go like 15+ stories. I wonder what the parking plan is for 300+ vehicles?
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: heights unknown on July 14, 2018, 12:29:04 PM
Well this doesn’t suck:

A St. Augustine-based development company has purchased five parcels of downtown land that includes the abandoned Ambassador Hotel.

The developers plan to renovate the hotel — which is on the National Register of Historic Places — and build 200 apartments and 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space nearby.

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2018/07/13/luxury-hotel-200-apartments-and-retail-coming-to.html?ana=e_jac_bn_exclusive&u=L7p4RmGNN8OFDbqDKooLdw0da09ae7&t=1531518475&j=82692841
What sucks? THIS is great news. Glad they are saving the Ambassador. Lot of memories in that basement bar for me LOL.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: heights unknown on July 14, 2018, 12:33:28 PM
Also, per the article, the building adjacent to the Ambassador (404 N. Julia) will be demolished to make way for 200 apartments with ground-level retail. Seems like a crazy high number of units for that parcel unless they go like 15+ stories. I wonder what the parking plan is for 300+ vehicles?
So Ken; that parcel for the apartment units is small? How small is it? Is it possible they will have a few stories for parking underneath the apartments/tower (if it is a tower as you say)?
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on July 14, 2018, 12:47:21 PM
^I don't know anything beyond what's in the article, but to build 200 apartments and 15,000 square feet of retail (twice the size of the Carling, for context} on that parcel, even with offsite parking, they'd have to go pretty vertical.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on July 14, 2018, 01:56:58 PM
Also, per the article, the building adjacent to the Ambassador (404 N. Julia) will be demolished to make way for 200 apartments with ground-level retail. Seems like a crazy high number of units for that parcel unless they go like 15+ stories. I wonder what the parking plan is for 300+ vehicles?

Just looked at the parcel. In comparison, 11 E has about that many apartments but no where near that much retail. Oh, and 11E is 17 floors. They probably don’t have to go that high, but they might.

Regardless, this development both in size and importance is, as our friend at Fucillo Nissan would say....

(http://users.content.ytmnd.com/a/f/e/afea1928a8c9b19689ee6cbaa0fad6ac.jpg)
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Charles Hunter on July 14, 2018, 02:45:46 PM
According to the Property Appraiser's page, the 404 parcel is just over 17,000 square feet, with about 209 feet of frontage along Duval.  https://paopropertysearch.coj.net/Basic/Detail.aspx?RE=0738020000
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: howfam on July 14, 2018, 05:41:53 PM
^I don't know anything beyond what's in the article, but to build 200 apartments and 15,000 square feet of retail (twice the size of the Carling, for context} on that parcel, even with offsite parking, they'd have to go pretty vertical.


KenFSU: Then lets go vertical.  It's about time for a flurry of high rise construction in downtown, and that spot is just right for a 15-20 story high rise with parking underneath.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: remc86007 on July 14, 2018, 05:50:52 PM
I'd love for the city to see some high rise construction. I think it can't be overstated the positive impression of a city and its economy when people see serious cranes in action.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: MusicMan on July 14, 2018, 05:55:15 PM
KenFSU  what is "the parking lot sale" you mention?

St Joe sold a parcel immediately behind the new courthouse on Duval Street. 541 Duval Street to be exact. Is that the one?
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: edjax on July 14, 2018, 08:34:38 PM
KenFSU  what is "the parking lot sale" you mention?

St Joe sold a parcel immediately behind the new courthouse on Duval Street. 541 Duval Street to be exact. Is that the one?

Assuming the parking lot next to Omni that sold this week to the Miami developer.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: acme54321 on July 14, 2018, 11:22:11 PM
Starting to feel like 2006 around here!  ;D
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: MusicMan on July 15, 2018, 08:06:29 AM
"Assuming the parking lot next to Omni that sold this week to the Miami developer."

Can someone post a link to this story, if a link exists, please?
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on July 15, 2018, 08:14:43 AM
https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/the-mathis-report-miami-investor-buys-downtown-parking-lot-next-to-omni-jacksonville-hotel
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: itsfantastic1 on July 15, 2018, 09:43:41 AM
This is really great for the Ambassador and it's always great to see new residences downtown, but is the neighboring 404 N. Julia building of any significance? Seems like just giving it a face-lift would be cheaper than a full tear down. As there is a huge vacant lot next to it on Duval. Is that part of the project as well?
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on July 15, 2018, 10:36:16 AM
This is really great for the Ambassador and it's always great to see new residences downtown, but is the neighboring 404 N. Julia building of any significance? Seems like just giving it a face-lift would be cheaper than a full tear down. As there is a huge vacant lot next to it on Duval. Is that part of the project as well?
Yes it's historic but altered beyond recognition. It's the old Jax Chamber of Commerce building. The bones may be the same but the facade and roof were dramatically changed in the 1950s.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on July 15, 2018, 10:38:55 AM
You can see a picture of it here: https://photos.metrojacksonville.com/Architecture/Ambassador-Hotel/i-zVmGhxF/A
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: heights unknown on July 15, 2018, 10:57:16 AM
^I don't know anything beyond what's in the article, but to build 200 apartments and 15,000 square feet of retail (twice the size of the Carling, for context} on that parcel, even with offsite parking, they'd have to go pretty vertical.
Thanks Ken. I agree.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: heights unknown on July 15, 2018, 10:58:38 AM
Also, per the article, the building adjacent to the Ambassador (404 N. Julia) will be demolished to make way for 200 apartments with ground-level retail. Seems like a crazy high number of units for that parcel unless they go like 15+ stories. I wonder what the parking plan is for 300+ vehicles?

Just looked at the parcel. In comparison, 11 E has about that many apartments but no where near that much retail. Oh, and 11E is 17 floors. They probably don’t have to go that high, but they might.

Regardless, this development both in size and importance is, as our friend at Fucillo Nissan would say....

(http://users.content.ytmnd.com/a/f/e/afea1928a8c9b19689ee6cbaa0fad6ac.jpg)
LOLOL....super response.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: heights unknown on July 15, 2018, 11:03:49 AM
^I don't know anything beyond what's in the article, but to build 200 apartments and 15,000 square feet of retail (twice the size of the Carling, for context} on that parcel, even with offsite parking, they'd have to go pretty vertical.


KenFSU: Then lets go vertical.  It's about time for a flurry of high rise construction in downtown, and that spot is just right for a 15-20 story high rise with parking underneath.
I think that is the direction they should go, and the direction that we need to go in; our skyline is good, but boring and lacking to say the least for a city of close to 1 million people; however, buildings and skylines don't make a city. We need to get more business as well into the urban core as well as people and residents to really make it all click; and this is just another piece of the puzzle to forge BIG JAX forward toward even more prosperity and success!!!
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: itsfantastic1 on July 15, 2018, 11:09:23 AM
This is really great for the Ambassador and it's always great to see new residences downtown, but is the neighboring 404 N. Julia building of any significance? Seems like just giving it a face-lift would be cheaper than a full tear down. As there is a huge vacant lot next to it on Duval. Is that part of the project as well?
Yes it's historic but altered beyond recognition. It's the old Jax Chamber of Commerce building. The bones may be the same but the facade and roof were dramatically changed in the 1950s.

Thanks, I just hope then whatever they put there maintains the character of the block seeing how there are some historic buildings nearby, it would be quite jarring to see a Vestcor modern style apartment complex next to the Old Post Office and Ambassador Hotel.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: heights unknown on July 15, 2018, 11:15:02 AM
In my opinion, let's do something a little different downtown; let's build this building with NO off site parking; build 15 to 20 stories pure residential, with 5 to 10 stories of parking below the residences. THIS could be made iconic for Jax if the right architect and developer is chosen.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: marcuscnelson on July 15, 2018, 08:48:24 PM
In my opinion, let's do something a little different downtown; let's build this building with NO off site parking; build 15 to 20 stories pure residential, with 5 to 10 stories of parking below the residences. THIS could be made iconic for Jax if the right architect and developer is chosen.

That'd really be something, but I would really question if the market is ready for something that tall as new construction. I could be wrong, and I'd love to be, but as long as we get something that brings residents and business downtown while fitting into the neighborhood, I'm happy.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: acme54321 on July 15, 2018, 09:19:11 PM
You can see a picture of it here: https://photos.metrojacksonville.com/Architecture/Ambassador-Hotel/i-zVmGhxF/A

Wow, that's a shame.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on July 15, 2018, 10:35:37 PM
You can see a picture of it here: https://photos.metrojacksonville.com/Architecture/Ambassador-Hotel/i-zVmGhxF/A

Wow, that's a shame.

Much less of a shame when you see the way it looks now. I'm all for saving our historic building stock from the wrecking ball, and I'd stand in front of the ball myself if they tried to tear down the Ambassador, but what's left of the neighboring building is neither attractive nor interesting. If knocking it down means adding 200-300 new residents downtown and making the Ambassador project viable, it's a small price to pay for the greater good.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: JaxJersey-licious on July 16, 2018, 01:21:03 AM
This is good news and I'm really excited about the all the new interest and plans for the core over this year, but what happened to the plans for the old JEA building site next door? I believe it was of similar scope to the plans for the Ambassador without the hotel component.

And what about the track record of this Axis Hotels group? Too tired to look it up now myself right now but I'd like to see some renderings from recent projects they've done and are working on to get a glimpse of what could be in store for this site.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: acme54321 on July 16, 2018, 06:54:35 AM
You can see a picture of it here: https://photos.metrojacksonville.com/Architecture/Ambassador-Hotel/i-zVmGhxF/A

Wow, that's a shame.

Much less of a shame when you see the way it looks now. I'm all for saving our historic building stock from the wrecking ball, and I'd stand in front of the ball myself if they tried to tear down the Ambassador, but what's left of the neighboring building is neither attractive nor interesting. If knocking it down means adding 200-300 new residents downtown and making the Ambassador project viable, it's a small price to pay for the greater good.

I know, I meant the alterations were a shame.  Usually when they do stuff like that you can tell that the bones are probably still there.  I would never have guessed that building and what's there now are one and the same.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on July 16, 2018, 07:46:23 AM
They're there. Click on this link and scroll down. There's an image showing it on the side with bricked in windows.

https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/the-ambassador-hotel-coming-back-to-life/

With that said, yeah you can't save everything. You'd basically be rebuilding the thing to get back what was lost.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: jaxnyc79 on July 16, 2018, 09:55:00 AM
They're there. Click on this link and scroll down. There's an image showing it on the side with bricked in windows.

https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/the-ambassador-hotel-coming-back-to-life/

With that said, yeah you can't save everything. You'd basically be rebuilding the thing to get back what was lost.

All great news and things moving in the right direction (even if not at an ideal pace), but by God, there's just so much work to do downtown.  The neglect that's happened over time should never be allowed again.  I wish the city could amend its charter to identify and forbid various forms of neglect in the future. 

Having said that, where do we stand now on the revitalization of old building stock in the urban core?  It would be interesting to see a block-by-block heat map of downtown based on a given block's current progress toward full revitalization, which would include dense building stock, and street-level activation (either commercial or residential).  Based on such a color-coded heat map, would we find that we're starting to see certain "district" clustering? 
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on July 16, 2018, 10:48:26 AM
I actually set one up in GIS a few years ago. There wasn't much going on back then. One of these days, I'll dig it up and update.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on July 16, 2018, 11:35:24 AM
The only thing I'll say about this plan is that in looking up the developer, I'm trying to find examples of his work. This is a REALLY ambitious project for a new developer.

He's doing some work in St Augustine - he's supposed to be building the Lotus Inn and Suites at King and Prawn Sts. It's not open yet - trying to figure out what stage this is in. He's also renovating the La Quinta on Anastasia Island. Not sure what stage this is in either.

Neither of them are bookable anytime I can see.

They are also developing Cortez on the Water in St Augustine, and not sure what state this is in either. Next time I get down there I'd like to see if there's even active construction going on at any of these sites (there may not be).

Not that this isn't a cool project, but the last thing we need to do is issue a demo permit for the old Chamber of Commerce building before they see something other than this guy's word.

Like I said, this is a really ambitious project for Downtown Jacksonville. It seems like a tough project for anyone, even for a developer with a lot of experience. Not sure what experience this guy has.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: DrQue on July 16, 2018, 01:33:23 PM
Like I said, this is a really ambitious project for Downtown Jacksonville. It seems like a tough project for anyone, even for a developer with a lot of experience. Not sure what experience this guy has.

It is starting to feel like 2006 again...
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Non-RedNeck Westsider on July 16, 2018, 03:38:26 PM
Like I said, this is a really ambitious project for Downtown Jacksonville. It seems like a tough project for anyone, even for a developer with a lot of experience. Not sure what experience this guy has.

It is starting to feel like 2006 again...

Please no.

Can it at least feel like 2004 - before we knew some shit was going to hit the fan?

I'd rather feel optimistic rather than anxious.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Kiva on July 16, 2018, 06:30:31 PM

It is starting to feel like 2006 again...

Please no.

Can it at least feel like 2004 - before we knew some shit was going to hit the fan?

I'd rather feel optimistic rather than anxious.
+1
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: heights unknown on July 16, 2018, 11:16:29 PM
Some feel the economy will soon crash into a depression type mode, similar to the 1930's or worse; Trump tinkering with trade won't help matters either. I hope THEY are wrong and I am wrong.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on July 17, 2018, 08:01:56 AM
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
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Non-RedNeck Westsider on July 17, 2018, 08:03:05 AM
Some feel the economy will soon crash into a depression type mode, similar to the 1930's or worse; Trump tinkering with trade won't help matters either. I hope THEY are wrong and I am wrong.

There is always a crash, and I was honestly caught completely off-guard when the housing bubble hit in 06-07 and being in the residential housing industry when it happened, I was hit doubly hard.

I've moved over to the commercial side of things since, and now I see commercial construction hitting levels that I've heard people refer to as 'like it was back in the day', so now I'm a bit more cautious.

The whole trade thing has been a good thing from my POV.  Many of the GCs have instructed us to use domestic product as our base price with the import as an alternate - a complete 180 from where I was not even a year ago.  The 20-40% increase in product hasn't slowed anything down - and that money can now recirculate in our economy. 

That's why I can't understand DIA & COJ caving to developers....  If the project will make money, they will develop.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: JeffreyS on July 17, 2018, 08:22:05 AM
There is not always a crash strong financial regulation prevented a crash from the la 1930s until Reagan’s deregulation caused one in 1987. A solid 50 + years.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Tacachale on July 17, 2018, 08:35:03 AM
There is not always a crash strong financial regulation prevented a crash from the la 1930s until Reagan’s deregulation caused one in 1987. A solid 50 + years.

There’s not always a crash but there are always recessions. It’s part of the business cycle and not necessarily a bad thing. And it’s been 9 years so we’re about due.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on July 17, 2018, 09:14:05 AM
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

The Business Journal Article mentioned a 4 or 5 star hotel. That doesn't exactly line up with La Quinta!
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on July 17, 2018, 09:19:49 AM
Also, I love how the first plan is to demolish the old building without a true timetable to build the new one.

Again, I'd love to be wrong but I'm a little skeptical here.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: jaxnyc79 on July 17, 2018, 09:35:30 AM
Is it possible to attach financial conditions to a demolition permit?  For example, until there's proof of the stability of funding sources to finance new construction, the developers can't demolish the old bank building?  It's actually not a bad looking building - kind of interesting.  I'd much rather a brand new multi-level building with new downtown residences, but it would be tragic for them to tear it down, let it sit vacant while they line up capital, and should things not work out, put yet another empty downtown lot on the market.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on July 17, 2018, 10:06:53 AM
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.

Surprisingly, the answer seems to be yes.

Just pulled the last five or six months of hotel data, and downtown occupancy rate is hovering between 75% and 80% monthly. That's some really strong growth, and in line with, or above, that 70-75% occupancy rate where you typically see a bunch of new hotel investment start to take place.

Typical daily demand for downtown hotels is around 1,779 rooms, and industry benchmark for profitability is around 55% occupancy rate.

Back of the napkin calculation, in a total vacuum where demand for rooms neither increases or decreases, the market could absorb roughly 860 additional rooms and everyone should be ok.

I tend to agree with you guys on the demo - though I don't think the building is designated as historic. I've got no problem with the demo if the apartment piece is a sure thing, but would hate to see that become a Phase II that the developer sits on for years while turning the space into a parking lot.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: tufsu1 on July 17, 2018, 10:16:59 AM
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
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on July 17, 2018, 10:40:38 AM
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

(https://snag.gy/kuzdcS.jpg)
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on July 17, 2018, 11:28:06 AM
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.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: jagsonville on July 17, 2018, 11:40:00 AM
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.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Downtown Osprey on July 17, 2018, 12:11:35 PM
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.

I truly hope the Ambassador project works. It's too historical and beautiful of a building to just be sitting there vacant.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on July 17, 2018, 01:32:45 PM
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)?
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: downtownbrown on July 18, 2018, 08:07:31 AM
just reminds me of all the crap we took from the national media during the super bowl back when.  No hotels was a major theme.  I remember being in Chicago watching local media delight in mocking Jacksonville.  It was not a pleasant experience, mostly because they were right.  So national media, watch this space.  In five years we'll be saying "How do ya like me now?".
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: ProjectMaximus on July 18, 2018, 09:44:51 AM
(https://snag.gy/kuzdcS.jpg)

LOL! Well I do wonder how this affects airbnb. As a longtime owner/operator in the urban core, demand has been very high and far exceeded my expectations over the years. I am not too worried about sharing that demand with hotels, my real concern is whether the increased hotel presence increases their lobby efforts against airbnb. Hopefully not, as airbnb collects and pays its full share of the bed tax in Jacksonville.

That said, these hotels are all slated for the Northbank, where airbnb presence is lacking.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: BridgeTroll on July 18, 2018, 10:37:04 AM
just reminds me of all the crap we took from the national media during the super bowl back when.  No hotels was a major theme.  I remember being in Chicago watching local media delight in mocking Jacksonville.  It was not a pleasant experience, mostly because they were right.  So national media, watch this space.  In five years we'll be saying "How do ya like me now?".

Hilarious... especially since Chicago has hosted... um... well zero Super Bowls...
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: civil42806 on July 18, 2018, 12:22:06 PM
The last time I was in the Ambassador was around 1994-1995 period, it was in sad sad shape then, but barely habitable.  Can't imagine what its like after 20 years or so.  Hope it was well mothballed.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: heights unknown on July 18, 2018, 09:29:34 PM
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.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: heights unknown on July 18, 2018, 09:31:54 PM
Some feel the economy will soon crash into a depression type mode, similar to the 1930's or worse; Trump tinkering with trade won't help matters either. I hope THEY are wrong and I am wrong.

There is always a crash, and I was honestly caught completely off-guard when the housing bubble hit in 06-07 and being in the residential housing industry when it happened, I was hit doubly hard.

I've moved over to the commercial side of things since, and now I see commercial construction hitting levels that I've heard people refer to as 'like it was back in the day', so now I'm a bit more cautious.

The whole trade thing has been a good thing from my POV.  Many of the GCs have instructed us to use domestic product as our base price with the import as an alternate - a complete 180 from where I was not even a year ago.  The 20-40% increase in product hasn't slowed anything down - and that money can now recirculate in our economy. 

That's why I can't understand DIA & COJ caving to developers....  If the project will make money, they will develop.

Thanks NRNW; that post and news bit is encouraging. Thanks for the re-education; I am not into real estate, but have learned quite a bit in the last decade.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on July 19, 2018, 10:09:07 AM
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?
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on July 19, 2018, 11:21:48 AM
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.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Tacachale on July 19, 2018, 12:18:12 PM
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?
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Captain Zissou on July 19, 2018, 12:34:43 PM
Steve needs a place to crash after too many Old Fashioneds at the Volstead. His head rests on only the finest of pillows.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on July 19, 2018, 12:41:21 PM
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!
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on July 19, 2018, 12:49:14 PM
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....
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on July 20, 2018, 12:50:10 PM
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.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on July 20, 2018, 01:40:18 PM
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.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: jagsonville on July 20, 2018, 09:24:59 PM

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!
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on September 20, 2018, 08:50:11 AM
$6.4 million incentive package passed yesterday by the DIA.

$1.5 from the historic trust fund, plus a $4.9 million REV grant.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Captain Zissou on September 20, 2018, 09:11:31 AM
$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.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on September 20, 2018, 10:04:31 AM
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.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on September 20, 2018, 10:35:51 AM
$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.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Captain Zissou on September 20, 2018, 11:11:34 AM
^ 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.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: CityLife on September 21, 2018, 09:46:44 AM
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.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on October 12, 2018, 03:57:20 PM
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
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on November 27, 2018, 11:26:23 AM
The Ambassador La Quinta will have a rooftop bar.

Incentive package ready for City Council approval:

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2018/11/27/ambassador-hotel-incentives-ready-for-city-council.html
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on November 27, 2018, 12:04:38 PM
I'm glad this is happening, just surprised at the Flag on the hotel.

Doesn't have to be a Waldorf-Astoria or a Four Seasons, but wow.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on November 27, 2018, 12:38:22 PM
Pretty cool. Glad to see this moving forward so quick, given the last plus decade of projects to be proposed and die for this site.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Dolph1975 on November 27, 2018, 12:43:58 PM
I'm glad this is happening, just surprised at the Flag on the hotel.

Doesn't have to be a Waldorf-Astoria or a Four Seasons, but wow.

I agree.  I too, am glad this is happening.  Anything that will bring life to downtown is A+ in my book; I just don't feel that LaQuinta (successful hotel brand as they are) is synonymous with "luxury".  When this was first announced and described as a luxury or even boutique hotel, I was thinking something along the Kimpton line, knowing that establishments like Waldorf, Four Seasons, Ritz would not be a good fit for the location.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: downtownbrown on November 27, 2018, 01:35:11 PM
Kimpton would be ideal
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on November 27, 2018, 01:37:00 PM
It'll be really interesting to see what the residential portion looks like.

I don't know how you do 200 units, with parking, on that parcel without going 20+ stories.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Jagsdrew on November 27, 2018, 01:54:13 PM
It'll be really interesting to see what the residential portion looks like.

I don't know how you do 200 units, with parking, on that parcel without going 20+ stories.

You should know this by now that they'll bulldoze historic building for parking ;)
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on November 27, 2018, 01:57:38 PM
I really hope this happens.

With that said, I'm admittedly skeptical about the developers here. Here's the website: http://www.augdev.net/

The two principals have a lot of experience it seems with new build stuff, and revamping strip malls. This is not exactly in that same ballpark.

If you scroll through the site there just are a lot of oddities. If you look at some of the projects they contain the line, "Not completed while I was with the company. All development planning and approvals done under my supervision." It's as if they copy and pasted from someone's resume for the website.

I do realize even talented developers have to have their first time on a type of project and maybe this is it for these guys. They want to dump their money into downtown which is good.

Just feels.....odd.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: tufsu1 on November 28, 2018, 11:16:41 AM
I'm glad this is happening, just surprised at the Flag on the hotel.

Doesn't have to be a Waldorf-Astoria or a Four Seasons, but wow.

note that La Quinta is now part of the Wyndham family - and LQ has been going a bit more upmarket in their newest hotels
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on November 28, 2018, 11:30:35 AM
I'm glad this is happening, just surprised at the Flag on the hotel.

Doesn't have to be a Waldorf-Astoria or a Four Seasons, but wow.

note that La Quinta is now part of the Wyndham family - and LQ has been going a bit more upmarket in their newest hotels

Yea, that's fair. And to that point IHG has done a decent job of revamping the Holiday Inn brand over the last decade.

I'm not sure I "get" Wyndham's overall strategy, but that doesn't mean it isn't valid or good.

And bottom line: if this project gets done the hotel brand is at the bottom of my concerns.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on November 28, 2018, 03:14:03 PM
They also mention Cambria, which is near the top of Choice hotels's pyramid. Better...but not amazing.

Jacksonville's first Cambria just announced.

Gate and Baymeadows.

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2018/11/28/upscale-hotel-planned-near-st-johns-town-center.html
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: tufsu1 on November 28, 2018, 04:00:32 PM

I'm not sure I "get" Wyndham's overall strategy, but that doesn't mean it isn't valid or good.


oh I totally don't get it...especially their rewards program - every room in every hotel is the same amount of points - so a Super 8 off the interstate is the same as the Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront or the New Yorker Hotel across from MSG in Manhattan - I have definitely taken advantage!
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on December 03, 2018, 01:13:46 PM
More Info:

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/plan-to-renovate-downtown-ambassador-hotel-advances
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Dolph1975 on December 03, 2018, 01:34:10 PM
More Info:

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/plan-to-renovate-downtown-ambassador-hotel-advances

Alright, so the article states that Cambria is also being considered along with LaQuinta.  That wouldn't be bad, I've stayed at a Cambria and they're nice properties. 
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Westside Guy on December 03, 2018, 01:37:48 PM
More Info:

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/plan-to-renovate-downtown-ambassador-hotel-advances


Key takeaway for me is that the REV grant is tied to the apartment building and not the hotel. Its been my concern that the hotel would get done but the apartments would be put on hold indefinitely like so many other projects in the past. I feel like this incentives package makes the construction of the apartment building more likely.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Kiva on December 03, 2018, 08:17:38 PM
Good point. Also, finally the city is giving incentives once the project is complete. A needed change from the old days!
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on January 02, 2019, 01:06:32 PM
Construction fencing up around the Ambassador.

Small construction crew on site today.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on January 02, 2019, 01:12:11 PM
These are the types of projects that should be highlighted most, IMO. Love when the private sector comes in and quickly gets to work. Especially, when it involves existing building stock.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on January 02, 2019, 02:26:37 PM
While I can't exactly check in yet, I'm shocked this project has made it this far. When you read about the developers, it doesn't exactly scream experience with these type of projects. However, in some ways it's the whole "chicken and egg" with the job vs. the experience.

Hats off to them.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on January 03, 2019, 11:07:36 AM
Active demolition going on today.

Fully fenced off, lots of fun banging and grinding and buzzing coming from inside the Ambassador.

So happy to see this one underway.

(https://i.postimg.cc/xdSwgCqh/1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/nzF6bP41/2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/4ynqnHF7/4.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/d3bhxdbG/3.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/CMXn5TRd/5.jpg)
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: jcjohnpaint on January 03, 2019, 05:25:29 PM
fences just went up around the 200 riverside property. 
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on January 03, 2019, 05:41:58 PM
Nice!
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: jcjohnpaint on January 03, 2019, 05:46:19 PM
What else has been said about the plans for the building on the facing left of ambassador? 
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on January 03, 2019, 07:31:32 PM
It's going to be demolished for a larger structure with 200 apartment units and retail.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: jaxnyc79 on January 03, 2019, 09:48:21 PM
It's going to be demolished for a larger structure with 200 apartment units and retail.

Now just 100 more of these projects in downtown and Jax will be the envy of the south.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: heights unknown on January 03, 2019, 11:25:38 PM
Wow; can't believe it...the old Ambassador Hotel. If those walls (in the basement bar) could talk. I used to drift in, and drift out of that bar many many times back in the 80's and 90's when I was in my 30's. When it was headed south, I knew a couple of people that actually lived at the Ambassador Hotel; towards the end it got seedy and cheap (LOL...to say the least). But it was good...real good. Great to see that it will now become something upwards to a slither short of upscale (am I on point?). Will be coming to town very soon, and it will be good to go down the list through this forum and drive around and look at the progress of all of these projects. Carry on Jax.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on January 04, 2019, 06:29:47 AM
It's going to be demolished for a larger structure with 200 apartment units and retail.

Now just 100 more of these projects in downtown and Jax will be the envy of the south.

Get a good 15-20 of these done within two or three block radius of Laura Street, south of State, and I promise you, the overall image of downtown will change regardless of what takes place near the Stadium, the Southbank, LaVilla or Brooklyn.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: vicupstate on January 04, 2019, 10:04:58 AM
It's going to be demolished for a larger structure with 200 apartment units and retail.

Now just 100 more of these projects in downtown and Jax will be the envy of the south.

Get a good 15-20 of these done within two or three block radius of Laura Street, south of State, and I promise you, the overall image of downtown will change regardless of what takes place near the Stadium, the Southbank, LaVilla or Brooklyn.

#truthbomb
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on January 24, 2019, 07:41:01 AM
City Council Approved the Ambassador Incentive Package

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/the-cawton-report-city-council-approves-ambassador-hotel-deal

Interesting tidbit that I hadn't heard before: the Apartment part of the development is a partnership with Vestcor. For a project that I thought sounded like a disaster to start, I'm believing in it more and more.

Anyone hear if these will be Affordable, Workforce, or Market Rate Apartments.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on January 24, 2019, 08:30:42 AM
Pretty cool. Glad to see this one moving along so quickly. I assume since Vesctor is involved, the apartment component won't have retail?
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Jagsdrew on January 24, 2019, 08:42:04 AM
I totally forgot about the apartment portion of the development. I was gnashing my teeth yesterday over the 6.4 million dollar package La Quinta received but forgot that there are 200+ apartments to go along with it. I'm an idiot.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on January 24, 2019, 09:57:02 AM
Pretty cool. Glad to see this one moving along so quickly. I assume since Vesctor is involved, the apartment component won't have retail?

11 East and The Carling has retail, so I wouldn’t completely rule it out.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: jaxjags on January 24, 2019, 01:32:27 PM
Has anyone seen published conceptual drawings for the apartment part of this project?
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: remc86007 on January 24, 2019, 02:56:37 PM
Walked by the hotel this morning. There were a lot of construction noises coming from inside the hotel and a frontloader was removing debris from the bottom floor. It was super exciting to see and hear after years of walking by an abandoned building.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on January 24, 2019, 11:01:17 PM
Anyone hear if these will be Affordable, Workforce, or Market Rate Apartments.

Market Rate.

Hotel has been slightly downsized (127 rooms down to 100), residential has been slightly upsized (from 200 units up to 220 now).
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on January 24, 2019, 11:04:18 PM
Has anyone seen published conceptual drawings for the apartment part of this project?
Now, before that component moves forward, they'll have to gain design approval from the DDRB.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on January 24, 2019, 11:39:50 PM
P.S. It's largely flown under the radar, but downtown has not had a great couple of months in terms of hotel occupancy.

January's numbers in particular are looking even more alarming (hovering between 56% and 60% - down about 20% YoY).

It's going to be interesting to see what happens as the La Quinta, Hyatt Place, and others come online.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on January 25, 2019, 08:16:23 AM
P.S. It's largely flown under the radar, but downtown has not had a great couple of months in terms of hotel occupancy.

January's numbers in particular are looking even more alarming (hovering between 56% and 60% - down about 20% YoY).

It's going to be interesting to see what happens as the La Quinta, Hyatt Place, and others come online.

Interesting. Any idea how the city as a whole is doing?

Here’s how I see it: Downtown’s base is logically business travelers. Business travelers are fairly brand loyal, and there’s no Marriott presence and no IHG presence. Hilton has a decent southbank presence, then obviously Hyatt and Omni.

My thought is the downtown hotels may cannibalize the room nights at places like JTB/95, but less so from existing downtown properties (maybe a little)

It surprised me a little the brands for the Hyatt Place (considering the 900+ room Hyatt) and LaQuinta. I know Marriott is planting a flag with the Trio development and the Brooklyn Residence inn, and IHG has the proposed Indigo.

I agree it’s likely one of those don’t break ground. The Indigo one is the one I’ve heard the least about.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on January 25, 2019, 08:35:50 AM
I see all of these as more likely to happen. The ones I would not hold my breath on is Berkman, the Shipyards and the AC Hotel at the District. It just seems like once a few of these open, they'll absorb whatever demand is here until downtown grows a bit. In addition, the longer these other places take to break ground, the more likely the economy won't be as healthy as it is now.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on January 25, 2019, 08:39:46 AM
Here was the last story about Hotel Indigo (November 2018). The developer isn't asking for incentives and already owns the building.

Quote
Since May, he said his development team has been working to push the project forward.

“We are fully entitled and our design docs are at about 80 percent completion,” he said.

“All we need now is finish our capital stack to get construction underway so we hope to be online toward the end of 2019.”

Profit is a former NFL player whose investment business is based in Bethesda, Maryland. He is not seeking incentives from the Downtown Investment Authority or the city of Jacksonville for the hotel.

Profit also announced he was not pursuing federal historic tax credits because he plans to modify the building layout to increase occupancy.

Full article: https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/developer-of-downtown-hotel-indigo-will-not-seek-historic-tax-credits
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on January 25, 2019, 09:05:04 AM
Any idea how the city as a whole is doing?

In addition, the longer these other places take to break ground, the more likely the economy won't be as healthy as it is now.

City hotels are bucketed into six areas: Arlington, Beaches, Downtown, Northside/Airport, Southside/Mandarin, Westside. Downtown closed out last week at 56% occupancy. All other areas were between 70% and 80%. Downtown was in the 70s for most of last fiscal year, and in the same ballpark as the other regions, but whether it be changing tastes, or fewer events (Jags didn't help), perception shift after the shooting, or maybe even residual effects of the damage the politics have caused to the Landing, downtown's numbers have started to drop in Q4 to present.

To Ennis' point, we may already be there. Jacksonville had something crazy like 8 years of continous annual RevPar growth. We also had a streak going up until Q4 of last year of over a year of weekly RevPar growth. Numbers throughout the city are finally showing real evidence of softening, which is also mirrored in tourism numbers in other cities througout the state (Jacksonville's actually fairing better than most of other Florida cities).

I think if we don't continue to focus on making our downtown a more attractive, vibrant place to spend time, the numbers might not be so pretty when the new hotels come online. I hope you're right Steve about drawing from JTB/95, but I question whether Hyatt Place, Indigo, La Quinta, or the Brooklyn hotel on their own will add net new room occupants to downtown.

I think the Courtyard at the Trio will add net new visitors, due to the story and additional development that comes with it. Same with the pie-in-the-sky Berkman plan. IF - a huge if here - the Berkman opens as a Hard Rock or other nice property with a swim-up pool, restaurants, a family arcade, and the goofy rides, I think it probably creates enough additional demand for hotel rooms downtown so as to not just cannibalize the existing base. A Lot J hotel is more of a wildcard.

I think everyone can win though if we continue to make smart investments in downtown, like the Emerald Necklace, and actually work with Sleiman to make the Landing a great anchor for Indigo, Courtyard, Hyatt Place, La Quinta, etc.

One thing that continues to blow my mind though when looking at the downtown numbers is why in the world we included so many hotel rooms in the Convention Center RFP...

Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: ProjectMaximus on January 25, 2019, 09:18:17 AM
Perhaps we are prepping to host that once-every-30-years-Super Bowl.

I wonder if I will see an impact on our airbnb rentals in San Marco. We have two units and they are over 90% occupied every month. I get the sense our guests are slightly more business oriented vs leisure, with an occasional overnight passing-through traveler. Our rates are a good deal vs hotels...both units are 2 bedroom and typically rent in the $65-100/night range inclusive of taxes and fees.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: CityLife on January 25, 2019, 09:23:41 AM
Ken, what were the other areas hotel occupancy last year? Did they dip too like DT, or hold steady?

I would guess that the opening of Daily's Place and the subsequent wave of excitement and shows (along with a good Jags season) propped up the hotel occupancy rates for 2017. From a quick glance, Daily's didn't have nearly as many shows in 2018 as it did in 2017.

https://www.setlist.fm/venue/dailys-place-amphitheater-jacksonville-fl-usa-6bd54eba.html?page=12


Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on January 25, 2019, 09:29:28 AM
I think everyone can win though if we continue to make smart investments in downtown, like the Emerald Necklace, and actually work with Sleiman to make the Landing a great anchor for Indigo, Courtyard, Hyatt Place, La Quinta, etc.

One thing that continues to blow my mind though when looking at the downtown numbers is why in the world we included so many hotel rooms in the Convention Center RFP...

We can pretty much bet on the house that all projects won't materialize (they never do....not even in places like NYC and Miami) and we won't continue to make smart investments in downtown.  Just in recent months, we nuked the entire idea of resolving the convention center situation and we imploded a perfectly fine building without even issuing a RFP for adaptive reuse. Now we're considering moving a public utility and hundreds of jobs out of downtown to help subsidize a competing development in a flood zone. Nothing about these decisions represent the concept of continued smart investments.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on January 25, 2019, 10:57:43 AM
Ken, what were the other areas hotel occupancy last year? Did they dip too like DT, or hold steady?

They mostly held steady or rose, but all areas started to dip in Q4.

Technically, though downtown had the lowest occupancy rate in Q4, by a comfortable margin, it was the only region that showed growth on paper in Oct-Dec.

All five other regions showed monthly losses versus the previous year in all three months of the quarter.

The downtown growth in Q4 is misleading however, as the Hyatt was fully/partially closed post-Irma throughout Q4 2017, but still technically on the books and counting against occupancy.

This is what makes the January numbers scary to me. Occupancy is down 20% and RevPar is down like 25% versus January 2018 (YoY losses are closer to 10% for other regions, with the beaches actually being up a bit), and this is compared to a month last year where the Hyatt was still under construction and hadn't fully reopened and was subsequently dragging the downtown numbers down with it.

Don't get me wrong, downtown had super strong growth in 2018, by far the strongest growth in the city in terms of hotels, it's just a little odd to see what's happening in the last few months.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on January 25, 2019, 11:18:54 AM
Is anything possibly related to the government shut down?
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on January 25, 2019, 11:45:57 AM
Is anything possibly related to the government shut down?

The shutdown certainly doesn't help.

Last January had stronger trade show business as well.

Assuming a bipartisan resolution to the shutdown is on the horizon (huge assumption, obviously), February will be the real test.

Hopefully it's just a blip, as all the previous trends have been super positive.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Wacca Pilatka on January 25, 2019, 01:49:33 PM
Could part of the formula be that there was a playoff game in Jacksonville last January with quite a few Buffalo travelers coming to town to destroy property?
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on January 25, 2019, 02:19:59 PM
Could part of the formula be that there was a playoff game in Jacksonville last January with quite a few Buffalo travelers coming to town to destroy property?

Definitely doesn't help, but the dip isn't isolated to a single week. Downtown's seen at least three or four weeks since mid-December where hotel occupancy has had year-over-year dips of around 20%, with occupancy some weeks dipping a low as 37% (vs. 54%-65% for the rest of the city). Don't necessarily think the sky is falling, clearly the economic situation is hurting travel everywhere, it'll just be interesting to see how the market absorbs the extra rooms.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on January 25, 2019, 02:53:39 PM
Are there also concerns about how the market will absorb the extra rooms going up outside of downtown? There seems to be a lot of them. Here's a couple from a quick search:

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/the-mathis-report-courtyard-by-marriott-proposed-south-of-unf-along-kernan

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/seeing-potential-in-arlington-miami-area-developer-wants-to-transform-bethelite-property

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/hotel-notes-holiday-inn-express-breaks-ground-near-town-center

Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on January 25, 2019, 03:21:53 PM
Are there also concerns about how the market will absorb the extra rooms going up outside of downtown? There seems to be a lot of them. Here's a couple from a quick search:

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/the-mathis-report-courtyard-by-marriott-proposed-south-of-unf-along-kernan

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/seeing-potential-in-arlington-miami-area-developer-wants-to-transform-bethelite-property

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/hotel-notes-holiday-inn-express-breaks-ground-near-town-center



Don't forget Margaritaville out at the beaches too.

And naw, I don't think anyone's too concerned.

I honestly don't think anyone's even that concerned about downtown occupancy at the moment.

A year of solid growth followed by a bad six weeks could just be a blip.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on March 21, 2019, 07:14:07 PM
With interior demo done, permits have been filed for construction of the La Quinta.

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/permit-sought-to-transform-former-ambassador-hotel-into-a-la-quinta



Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on March 21, 2019, 08:46:10 PM
Now that Hotel Indigo has disappeared, this may be my favorite DT project right now. No flashy renderings. No puff pieces in the media about what "could" come. These guys are moving just about as fast as I've ever seen a group move in DT Jax on a building some wanted razed because it had been vacant for so long.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: heights unknown on March 21, 2019, 09:06:02 PM
I agree Lake, and, this is tremendous news. Kind of sad as many memories from my youth in that basement bar will be gone forever (nothing lasts forever); but oh, for the sake of progress? Yes!
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Steve on March 21, 2019, 10:01:52 PM
Now that Hotel Indigo has disappeared, this may be my favorite DT project right now. No flashy renderings. No puff pieces in the media about what "could" come. These guys are moving just about as fast as I've ever seen a group move in DT Jax on a building some wanted razed because it had been vacant for so long.

I still can’t believe this one is happening. When they first announced plans, it seemed like a total pie in the sky. I’ll celebrate when I can check in to a room, but a very good sign.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: heights unknown on March 21, 2019, 10:03:12 PM
Same here Steve, same here; I won't celebrate and/or pop the champagne until then.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on October 24, 2019, 09:10:13 AM
Construction on the hotel to begin within 10 days, per the developer.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on October 24, 2019, 09:20:21 AM
https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/the-mendenhall-report-historic-preservation-and-revitalization-trust-fund-debated

Hopefully they will! Also, hopefully the council will replenish the Historic Preservation and Revitalization Trust Fund. I love Lori Boyer but I don't agree with the position that earmarking money in it would become bad optics for the development community. Status quo, regarding the city's financial commitment and will for preservation and adaptive reuse is already bad. Any steps the city can play to embrace inclusiveness and equity in the downtown revitalization scene are a good thing.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: vicupstate on October 24, 2019, 09:35:05 AM
Quote
Before the project can begin, a development agreement with the terms of a $233.3 million city-backed incentives package must be approved by the DIA board and City Council.

Lot J developer Jacksonville I-C Parcel One Holding Company LLC expects to break ground on the project in January.

It is almost November, do we know what is in the incentives package yet or how it is being paid for?
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on October 24, 2019, 09:39:53 AM
^No to both, although I'm sure the council has been lobbied for months behind closed doors.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Kerry on October 24, 2019, 09:53:03 AM
For what it is worth - the Ambassador Hotel group and the old Independent Life Building group are the same people - Augustine Development Group.

http://www.augustinedevelopment.com/
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on October 24, 2019, 09:56:18 AM
https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/the-mendenhall-report-historic-preservation-and-revitalization-trust-fund-debated

Hopefully they will! Also, hopefully the council will replenish the Historic Preservation and Revitalization Trust Fund. I love Lori Boyer but I don't agree with the position that earmarking money in it would become bad optics for the development community. Status quo, regarding the city's financial commitment and will for preservation and adaptive reuse is already bad. Any steps the city can play to embrace inclusiveness and equity in the downtown revitalization scene are a good thing.

100% agree here.

Also love LB, and I think she's a great addition to the DIA, but with Jacksonville's historic struggles in terms of downtown development, a part of me really wonders if we should have brought in someone from outside the market with decades of national experience to offer a fresh perspective on these issues.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: KenFSU on October 24, 2019, 09:59:08 AM
^No to both, although I'm sure the council has been lobbied for months behind closed doors.

Seems like a pretty safe bet :D

That said, we're really coming down to the wire here to get a full development agreement through the DIA and City Council if the Jags intend to break ground in January during the offseason as originally proposed.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on October 24, 2019, 10:06:13 AM
https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/the-mendenhall-report-historic-preservation-and-revitalization-trust-fund-debated

Hopefully they will! Also, hopefully the council will replenish the Historic Preservation and Revitalization Trust Fund. I love Lori Boyer but I don't agree with the position that earmarking money in it would become bad optics for the development community. Status quo, regarding the city's financial commitment and will for preservation and adaptive reuse is already bad. Any steps the city can play to embrace inclusiveness and equity in the downtown revitalization scene are a good thing.

100% agree here.

Also love LB, and I think she's a great addition to the DIA, but with Jacksonville's historic struggles in terms of downtown development, a part of me really wonders if we should have brought in someone from outside the market with decades of national experience to offer a fresh perspective on these issues.

The quote from a developer actively involved in the adaptive reuse of two long vacant buildings should be the end of the debate....

Quote
Bryan Greiner is president of Augustine Development Group Inc., the parent company of Axis Hotels LLC., which owns and intends to redevelop the Ambassador Hotel Downtown.

Built in 1922, the Ambassador Hotel will undergo a $6 million renovation to become a 127-room La Quinta Inn & Suites hotel. The six-story, almost 60,000-square-foot building will benefit from a $1.5 million Redevelopment Completion Grant from the trust fund.

The deal involves demolishing a former bank building next door at 404 N. Julia St. for construction of 220 apartments.

Greiner said Tuesday he thinks replenishing the fund would be positive for developers.

“Without that grant, I don’t think the project would have been viable,” he said.

Replenish the fund and keep working to add money to it!
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Tacachale on October 24, 2019, 10:09:26 AM
https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/the-mendenhall-report-historic-preservation-and-revitalization-trust-fund-debated

Hopefully they will! Also, hopefully the council will replenish the Historic Preservation and Revitalization Trust Fund. I love Lori Boyer but I don't agree with the position that earmarking money in it would become bad optics for the development community. Status quo, regarding the city's financial commitment and will for preservation and adaptive reuse is already bad. Any steps the city can play to embrace inclusiveness and equity in the downtown revitalization scene are a good thing.

100% agree here.

Also love LB, and I think she's a great addition to the DIA, but with Jacksonville's historic struggles in terms of downtown development, a part of me really wonders if we should have brought in someone from outside the market with decades of national experience to offer a fresh perspective on these issues.

The quote from a developer actively involved in the adaptive reuse of two long vacant buildings should be the end of the debate....

Quote
Bryan Greiner is president of Augustine Development Group Inc., the parent company of Axis Hotels LLC., which owns and intends to redevelop the Ambassador Hotel Downtown.

Built in 1922, the Ambassador Hotel will undergo a $6 million renovation to become a 127-room La Quinta Inn & Suites hotel. The six-story, almost 60,000-square-foot building will benefit from a $1.5 million Redevelopment Completion Grant from the trust fund.

The deal involves demolishing a former bank building next door at 404 N. Julia St. for construction of 220 apartments.

Greiner said Tuesday he thinks replenishing the fund would be positive for developers.

“Without that grant, I don’t think the project would have been viable,” he said.

Replenish the fund and keep working to add money to it!

This is bizarre because it's the opposite of what she's been arguing up to now. In fact, when I interviewed Carlucci (https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/carlucci-seeks-to-replenish-downtown-preservation-trust/), he cited her comments that the trust "could use an infusion of cash, since it is entirely committed now" as one reason he pushed for the bill in the first place.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Bill Hoff on October 24, 2019, 02:41:37 PM
https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/the-mendenhall-report-historic-preservation-and-revitalization-trust-fund-debated

Hopefully they will! Also, hopefully the council will replenish the Historic Preservation and Revitalization Trust Fund. I love Lori Boyer but I don't agree with the position that earmarking money in it would become bad optics for the development community. Status quo, regarding the city's financial commitment and will for preservation and adaptive reuse is already bad. Any steps the city can play to embrace inclusiveness and equity in the downtown revitalization scene are a good thing.

100% agree here.

Also love LB, and I think she's a great addition to the DIA, but with Jacksonville's historic struggles in terms of downtown development, a part of me really wonders if we should have brought in someone from outside the market with decades of national experience to offer a fresh perspective on these issues.

The quote from a developer actively involved in the adaptive reuse of two long vacant buildings should be the end of the debate....

Quote
Bryan Greiner is president of Augustine Development Group Inc., the parent company of Axis Hotels LLC., which owns and intends to redevelop the Ambassador Hotel Downtown.

Built in 1922, the Ambassador Hotel will undergo a $6 million renovation to become a 127-room La Quinta Inn & Suites hotel. The six-story, almost 60,000-square-foot building will benefit from a $1.5 million Redevelopment Completion Grant from the trust fund.

The deal involves demolishing a former bank building next door at 404 N. Julia St. for construction of 220 apartments.

Greiner said Tuesday he thinks replenishing the fund would be positive for developers.

“Without that grant, I don’t think the project would have been viable,” he said.

Replenish the fund and keep working to add money to it!

This is bizarre because it's the opposite of what she's been arguing up to now. In fact, when I interviewed Carlucci (https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/carlucci-seeks-to-replenish-downtown-preservation-trust/), he cited her comments that the trust "could use an infusion of cash, since it is entirely committed now" as one reason he pushed for the bill in the first place.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but my read is that the Mayor doesn't care for Carlucci, and thus has discouraged support for his bill. He doesn't wish to see an adversary get a feather in his cap.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Captain Zissou on October 24, 2019, 02:51:43 PM
I see what Boyer is saying, but I don't think it conveys the message she thinks it does given our city's recent history of screwing over developers.  Yes, if we have a pot of $4M dedicated to historic building restoration and we have projects looking for $8M of funds, that could be an issue.  I still think that's better than having no funds dedicated whatsoever.  I would rather know that there is a specific mechanism in place that needs to be replenished to fund my project rather than no money earmarked. 
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on October 24, 2019, 03:03:09 PM
Perhaps I'm wrong, but my read is that the Mayor doesn't care for Carlucci, and thus has discouraged support for his bill. He doesn't wish to see an adversary get a feather in his cap.

This is possibly true. I also see it as a control the purse strings type of issue as well.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: heights unknown on October 24, 2019, 04:00:02 PM
Construction on the hotel to begin within 10 days, per the developer.

Super good news. A little bitter sweet for me though; a lot of memories in that basement bar relative to a young "Heights Unknown" (Garry) back in the day (80's, 90's). But progress, progress, progress, all for the good of the land called Jacksonville!
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Kiva on October 24, 2019, 05:41:57 PM
^No to both, although I'm sure the council has been lobbied for months behind closed doors.
Must be why they call it the Sunshine law!
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: Ken_FSU on November 18, 2019, 09:16:09 AM
Construction fencing is back up.
Title: Re: Luxury hotel, 200 apartments and retail coming to site of former Ambassador Hote
Post by: thelakelander on November 18, 2019, 09:31:08 AM
Site work is also underway on Vestcor's Brooklyn Lofts project and the Residence Inn development adjacent to Unity Plaza.