Author Topic: MIDTOWN and Roger Kellogg  (Read 2860 times)

Suzanne Jenkins

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MIDTOWN and Roger Kellogg
« on: June 02, 2007, 10:46:05 PM »
The Florida Times-Union

May 31, 2007

He sparks plans to redevelop

The Times-Union

Roger Kellogg considers himself to be in the right place at absolutely the right time.

The Orlando developer paid $31 million in November 2004 for what long-timers still call the "old Koger Center" along Beach Boulevard .

He says his company, Kellogg Development Co., invested another $10 million in renovations and landscaping, making the property attractive to tenants. Occupancy rose from about 60 percent to 86 percent.

Kellogg, who relocated to Jacksonville with his wife and four children, next wants to spark redevelopment outside the boundaries of his 42-acre office park, now called Midtown Centre.

He intends to recapitalize his investment to free up at least $20 million by the end of the year. He says Midtown has stabilized, so he wants to branch out and buy more surrounding properties to rehabilitate, either directly or in joint ventures.

"This is the fork in the road," Kellogg says. "To me, this is a glaringly obvious redevelopment opportunity."

That's because of location. It's only a few miles from downtown and even closer to the historic, and redeveloping, San Marco and St. Nicholas.

Kellogg also invites other investors to redevelop the area, which he defines as the properties within and near the split of Beach and Atlantic boulevards east to University Boulevard.

In fact, he identifies the Kmart center at Beach and University as another obvious redevelopment opportunity.

Kellogg can thank me later, but on Wednesday, a partner in that property's ownership group told me to count him in on any collective rehabilitation efforts.

"That area can use a facelift," says Tim Burnett, based in North Carolina. "If you get the right group and everybody gets behind it, you can make really nice things happen."

Would he join a property association to do that? "Sure," he said. A property association is on Kellogg's to-do list.

Kellogg started reaching out to the neighbors at a planning workshop in January 2006, led by JaxPride. Neighbors hashed out their visions for the area.

He gained the support of City Councilwoman Suzanne Jenkins, who was active in a similar effort along Philips Highway. There, property owners formed the South Metro Community Development Association to rehabilitate properties, attract more business and drive out crime in their area.

Kellogg found support with both commercial and residential neighbors.

"These older neighborhoods are suffering, so any new initiative we get, we grab it," says Joni Cusic, president of the nearby Spring Park Neighborhood Association.

"There is real strong interest," says Frank Reinstine, an executive with Demetree Brothers Inc. Demetree owns property near Midtown and recently renovated Southgate Plaza.

Kellogg, Reinstine and Burnett all see market forces working in their direction.

"Urban infill is a key thing," Reinstine says. "It's all coming into play."

It goes like this. Jacksonville's growth is sprawling to the county line. Downtown has begun a resurgence. Midtown is just 4 miles from downtown, and San Marco and St. Nicholas continue sparking development to the east.

"It's got promise," Burnett says.

More than that, the area is developing a common purpose.