Author Topic: SJTC condo project to switch to hotel  (Read 2291 times)

thelakelander

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SJTC condo project to switch to hotel
« on: November 02, 2007, 05:57:22 PM »
Tough residential market hits the suburbs

Quote
Hotel takes condos' place at Town CenterJacksonville Business Journal

by Christian Conte Staff Writer
 
Original plans for Toscana included 130 condominium units spread between two buildings.
View Larger SOUTHSIDE -- Developers of Toscana I and II, two luxury condominium towers at the St. Johns Town Center, are starting over with plans to transform at least one into a four-and-a-half- to five-star hotel.

Dayco Holding Corp., The Devlin Group Inc. and Ben Carter Properties Inc., the developers of the project, made the decision based on market conditions and the need for a luxury hotel on the Southside.

"A lot of people who drive hours [to get here] want to stay here for the weekend," Ben Carter Properties Chairman Ben Carter said.

The decision is also part of Ben Carter Properties' plans to expand beyond mostly retail development to more mixed-use development with multifamily housing and resort-style hotels.

"Hotels are critical to that success," he said.

Carter always envisioned a luxury full-service hotel at the town center for both visitors to the mall at J. Turner Butler Boulevard and State Road 9A and business people wanting a location central to the beach and Downtown Jacksonville.

Plans for the 1,278-square-foot to 1,770-square-foot Toscana condos were announced in March 2007 and originally included 130 units divided between the eight-story Toscana I and nine-story Toscana II.

Jacksonville Beach-based developer Wally Devlin said the new hotel project will be very similar to the San Sebastian Harbor Resort project his company is developing near Downtown St. Augustine. Devlin, who is negotiating with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. in both cases, declined to comment on the brand of either hotel because he has not signed a contract.

Starwood confirmed several months ago that it is negotiating with Devlin, but it declined to give details, including the locations.

Refund for deposits
 
Devlin said presale reservation deposits for condominiums would be refunded or held for the new project, which will include about 220 hotel rooms in the former Toscana I and a residential component. He did not know how many reservations there were.

The first 1.1 million-square-foot phase of the St. Johns Town Center opened in 2005 and includes a 119-room Homewood Suites by Hilton Hospitality Inc. and a 258-unit Wood and Partners Inc. condo development called the Esplanade at Town Center. A 185,000-square-foot addition to the town center opened Oct. 26.

Carter expects the new resort-style hotel at the town center to be open in about two and a half years.

Luxury hotels are part of the attraction of shopping destinations in other major cities. Simon Property Group Inc. spokesman Les Morris said many of the national mall developer's projects include hotels on-site. The Lenox Square Mall in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, for example, is connected by an enclosed promenade to the JW Marriott Hotel.

"The combination of hospitality, retail and entertainment is a powerful one," Morris said.

Simon Property Group partnered with Ben Carter to develop the town center's retail component but was not involved in the Toscana project.

Dr. Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida's College of Business Administration, said the change from condos to a hotel reflects the reality in the condominium market, which has slowed in Jacksonville and around the state since a record-breaking building boom ended in 2006, leaving a glut of homes on the market.

Developers of two large condominium projects in Downtown Jacksonville -- Shipyards and The St. John -- recently delayed construction, citing market difficulties.

Snaith expects more developers to switch plans from condos to other, more profitable types of development in the short term. "This is all part of a pretty turbulent time in real estate."

cconte@bizjournals.com | 265-2227

http://jacksonville.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/stories/2007/11/05/story2.html
« Last Edit: November 02, 2007, 09:22:08 PM by thelakelander »
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copperfiend

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Re: SJTC condo project to swith to hotel
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2007, 09:04:50 PM »
Not a huge shock. A hotel will be a good addition to the area. Maybe a Doubletree?

hightowerlover

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Re: SJTC condo project to switch to hotel
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2007, 10:33:45 PM »
i think a w hotel would be a nice addition to the area.

nicktooch

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Re: SJTC condo project to switch to hotel
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2008, 07:27:12 PM »
i know this thread is kinda dead, but site plans show a Westin hotel planned.  just an fyi...