Author Topic: Landmark downtown restaurant River City Brewing could make way for apartments  (Read 8311 times)

Steve

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3709
Quote
The River City Brewing Company restaurant that's been serving seafood and steak at tables overlooking the St. Johns River for decades could make way for a new apartment building on the Southbank next to Friendship Foundation and the Acosta Bridge.

The conversion of the property would involve a three-way deal involving the city, which owns the land, along with Maritime Concepts, which has a long-term lease with the city for the land where the restaurant stands, and a developer that wants to build an eight-story apartment building on the site.

https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/local/2020/10/02/downtown-jacksonville-restaurant-river-city-brewing-could-be-demolished-for-apartment-building/5887365002/

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31855
    • Modern Cities
I hoped something with a bit more density and height could be built on that site. Oh well.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

acme54321

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2557
It would be really nice if a ground level restaurant with transient dockage could be built into it.  I like the idea of the store at the boat ramp but there isn't enough traffic at that ramp to realistically support that. 
« Last Edit: October 02, 2020, 09:32:20 AM by acme54321 »

acme54321

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2557
So since there is a ground lease does the city have to approve anything they want to do or does the owner of the lease pretty much have freedom to put whatever they want on the site?

Steve

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3709
So since there is a ground lease does the city have to approve anything they want to do or does the owner of the lease pretty much have freedom to put whatever they want on the site?

COJ must approve as they own the dirt.

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31855
    • Modern Cities
It would be cool if they could get out of that RCB lease. We'll see how it goes.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

MandarinNole

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 22
Is there really a need for more apartments?  River City has a great spot, but everything else about it is terrible.  I hope whatever plan they go with it includes riverfront dining which there is a dearth of in this city.  That spot could be killer in the right hands/right type of food.

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31855
    • Modern Cities
Yeah, it will be interesting to learn more about what they have in mind. Residential is fine for upper levels but I'd hope there would be some form of retail/dining along the riverfront, the park and Riverplace Boulevard.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

jaxlongtimer

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 787
It looks like the City is open to high rises abutting the river on both sides throughout Downtown.  Uuggh!  One day we are going to be looking down the river like we are in a giant tunnel with the lack of setbacks.  Just look at the ocean front in South Florida to see what a high rise "wall" looks like (and that's with the ocean on one side).  No aesthetics reflecting the river's character, lack of appropriate scaling, little or no green space, little public access or recreational opportunities, no concern for grade level interactions, blah buildings, etc.

Same attitude leads to the destruction of our historic buildings (as an aside, I see the Doro sale also closed this week) and everything else distinctive about the City.  Jacksonville would sell its soul to the devil for the right price.  Not impressed.  No vision, no creativity, no master plan, no leadership, no sense of design and so on...

fieldafm

  • Editor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4418
It looks like the City is open to high rises abutting the river on both sides throughout Downtown.

No, the (new) zoning code does not permit new construction akin to the Strand/Peninsula along the riverfront. There are max height limits within so many feet of the waterfront.  If apartments are constructed on the RCB site, they would likely be set back from the waterfront. Most of the property is off the river (the trees in between the restaurant and Friendship Fountain are all on COJ property). I believe 5 stories is the max along the riverfront (see: Broadstone apartments next to School Board).
« Last Edit: October 02, 2020, 01:51:08 PM by fieldafm »

jaxlongtimer

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 787
It looks like the City is open to high rises abutting the river on both sides throughout Downtown.

No, the (new) zoning code does not permit new construction akin to the Strand/Peninsula along the riverfront. There are max height limits within so many feet of the waterfront.  If apartments are constructed on the RCB site, they would likely be set back from the waterfront. Most of the property is off the river (the trees in between the restaurant and Friendship Fountain are all on COJ property). I believe 5 stories is the max along the riverfront (see: Broadstone apartments next to School Board).

I hope you are right but the City is famous for breaking its own rules.  The renderings for many of these projects don't seem to me to follow the plan but we will see.   I see the apartments adjacent to the One Call building, the recent ones on the water in Riverside, the FIS HQ's, etc. close to the river.  Maybe my idea of an appropriate set back differs from others.  I think it should be a multiple of 100 feet, not a multiple of 10 feet.  That's what impresses me in other cities that have more respect for this issue.

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31855
    • Modern Cities
It looks like the City is open to high rises abutting the river on both sides throughout Downtown.  Uuggh!  One day we are going to be looking down the river like we are in a giant tunnel with the lack of setbacks.  Just look at the ocean front in South Florida to see what a high rise "wall" looks like (and that's with the ocean on one side).  No aesthetics reflecting the river's character, lack of appropriate scaling, little or no green space, little public access or recreational opportunities, no concern for grade level interactions, blah buildings, etc.

Jax isn't a first tier metropolitan area. It couldn't have a scene like Miami or Chicago even if it wanted it. This market can't support much of anything new over 10 stories. That's suburban infill in most growing major cities. No need to lose sleep about getting close to anything like South Florida.

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

fieldafm

  • Editor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4418
It looks like the City is open to high rises abutting the river on both sides throughout Downtown.

No, the (new) zoning code does not permit new construction akin to the Strand/Peninsula along the riverfront. There are max height limits within so many feet of the waterfront.  If apartments are constructed on the RCB site, they would likely be set back from the waterfront. Most of the property is off the river (the trees in between the restaurant and Friendship Fountain are all on COJ property). I believe 5 stories is the max along the riverfront (see: Broadstone apartments next to School Board).

I see the apartments adjacent to the One Call building, the recent ones on the water in Riverside, the FIS HQ's, etc. close to the river. 

The apartments going up next to the One Call building had an entitlement that pre-dated the new zoning code, which I think is a reasonable condition for an exception to the 60 ft height rule. Nevertheless, they did come down from their initial proposal, and later came down further based on a lawsuit from the adjacent property owner

FIS received a small height variance, however the building is set back from the river... and Fidelity already paid for (20+ years ago) the public park and Riverwalk extension (public access) in between the river and the new office tower under construction.  There is no infringement of public access caused by that building.

Frankly, opposing either of those projects (a residential tower in an oddly shaped lot next to very noisy train tracks... and the expansion of a F500 headquarters which is likely the best economic development deal EVER done by COJ) would be failing to see the forest through the trees, IMO.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2020, 02:19:06 PM by fieldafm »

jaxlongtimer

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 787
It looks like the City is open to high rises abutting the river on both sides throughout Downtown.  Uuggh!  One day we are going to be looking down the river like we are in a giant tunnel with the lack of setbacks.  Just look at the ocean front in South Florida to see what a high rise "wall" looks like (and that's with the ocean on one side).  No aesthetics reflecting the river's character, lack of appropriate scaling, little or no green space, little public access or recreational opportunities, no concern for grade level interactions, blah buildings, etc.

Jax isn't a first tier metropolitan area. It couldn't have a scene like Miami or Chicago even if it wanted it. This market can't support much of anything new over 10 stories. That's suburban infill in most growing major cities. No need to lose sleep about getting close to anything like South Florida.

Exactly!  And, it never will be first tier (which can mean "first class," not necessarily a much larger city) the way we plan (or don't plan) things out in this City.  We need to think first tier if we want to move up the ladder instead of looking down to second and third tier for our visions.  I know you think this way and are doing your best and it may be resulting in small victories here and there.  You probably have to pick your battles so compromise is often made.  I would suggest you should not have to do so very often when you are so right about what needs to be done.  It's a tough nut to crack and hats off to you for your outstanding efforts.

I would like to see much more much sooner.  As a long timer, it's frustrating to watch how the City has (mis)managed itself over these many decades and continues to do so while the rest of much of the world passes us by.  Guess I am losing some patience with the prevalence of our continued backward thinking.  Hope springs eternal though  8)!

Frankly, opposing either of those projects (a residential tower in an oddly shaped lot next to very noisy train tracks... and the expansion of a F500 headquarters which is likely the best economic development deal EVER done by COJ) would be failing to see the forest through the trees, IMO.

I get it and that's part of my point.  The City will always lay down for "economic development" (translated, essentially "any development proposed") in the short run for what might be much better economic development in the long run.  We think of today only, not tomorrow.  We don't have principled standards despite saying we do.  And, some poorly conceived concessions today will not be reversible in our lifetimes, if ever.  I might add that some might be willing to sacrifice some degree of "economic development" for quality of life.  I realize finding the balance is tricky but we should at least consider the thought.

marcuscnelson

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 983
  • Gen Z - Tired of the status quo
I would like to see much more much sooner.  As a long timer, it's frustrating to watch how the City has (mis)managed itself over these many decades and continues to do so while the rest of much of the world passes us by.  Guess I am losing some patience with the prevalence of our continued backward thinking.  Hope springs eternal though  8)!

We all would, that's why we're here.

Frankly, opposing either of those projects (a residential tower in an oddly shaped lot next to very noisy train tracks... and the expansion of a F500 headquarters which is likely the best economic development deal EVER done by COJ) would be failing to see the forest through the trees, IMO.

I get it and that's part of my point.  The City will always lay down for "economic development" (translated, essentially "any development proposed") in the short run for what might be much better economic development in the long run.  We think of today only, not tomorrow.  We don't have principled standards despite saying we do.  And, some poorly conceived concessions today will not be reversible in our lifetimes, if ever.  I might add that some might be willing to sacrifice some degree of "economic development" for quality of life.  I realize finding the balance is tricky but we should at least consider the thought.

I think the constant challenge that comes up in municipal economic development is that there's no guarantee of better economic development in the long run. Unless there is a consistent driver that will effectively guarantee future growth (i.e. Gainesville being home to the state's flagship university), tomorrow isn't necessarily promised. Jax staved off greater decline by annexing/consolidating its suburbs instead of letting the residential tax base run (which it seems many responded to by simply moving to even further suburbs, but besides the point). Ideally, the "adults" in the room should be thinking more about making the types of investments that won't immediately pay off, but that's hard to do when whether it paying off at all might be a question. It's been said before here that whoever loses the Jaguars will be run out of town on a rail, and it doesn't seem much less true these days. Obviously, we can do better, other cities are, but to a limited extent I understand the desperation. People have different definitions of "quality of life," which is also a big factor.
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey