Author Topic: Landmark downtown restaurant River City Brewing could make way for apartments  (Read 8312 times)

thelakelander

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Besides an 8-story wall right on the river, apparent lack of retail or restaurant interaction with the Riverwalk, and the increased traffic from 335 apartment, it look like MOSH is losing parking. 
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According to the draft DIA term sheet, 30 parking spaces in the garage will be set aside for public use and Related Group must provide parking for the neighboring Museum of Science & History.

It is unclear how many spaces that "Related Group mut provide for the neighboring MOSH" - is it the 30 mentioned? How many more spaces?  Will they charge for these spaces? How much?

Also, although the rendering includes renovations to Friendship Park, it ignores the MOSH 2.0 expansion.

Even if the eventual parking garage includes adequate spaces reserved for MOSH, what about during the construction period of ... what ... 2 years?

MOSH has it's own free parking lot between the museum and the Main Street Bridge. From my understanding, it is also just as likely that MOSH 2.0 ends up on a different site altogether. Downtown has a lot of moving parts and project dreams right now. It will be interesting to see how things play out.
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Charles Hunter

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The sliver of a lot between the MOSH building and Main Street is not adequate for anything more than minimal attendance. And, I think even the limited capacity is maintained by an arrangement for staff to park in the surface lot in front of the DoubleTree.

Do you know something common folk don't know about MOSH 2.0?

thelakelander

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Yes, I've heard something from a credible source. Can't say too much about it at the moment.
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jaxlongtimer

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Lake, I think it goes without saying that a monster 8 story structure is going to obstruct many more views than a two story restaurant a fraction of the mass of this complex.  If a high rise was back from the river on Riverplace Blvd., I would buy into that far more than this that creeps up close to the river.

I think this site is a unique situation where it doesn't block anyone's views anymore than the existing building does, unless we're trying to preserve the views of the office tower across the street.

It's reality that an 8 story complex of this size vs. a much smaller 2 story structure is going to block a heck of a lot more site lines to the river from numerous viewing points around it.  I guess it depends on where you stand, literally and figuratively.  ;D

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I also think it's a stretch to call the area blighted.  It's an active parking lot, restaurant and marina.  I haven't been to River City in awhile and you can say what you want about their service and food, but I always found the structure well maintained.

For the urbanist in me, a pedestrian hostile surface parking lots that consume acres of prime downtown property are the definition of blight. It looks straight out of the 1960s, stays empty 90% of the time and includes an aging parking attendant kiosk that's empty. The structure itself is pretty auto centric, suburban and totally ignores any interaction with the park adjacent to it.

It's great for something along the Intracoastal on Beach Boulevard but definitely not the best for a high profile downtown site. So from that perspective, I'm okay with seeing that building go. However, the restaurant space should be incorporated into the project. Related has no problem with building mixed-use projects in South Florida. They should be able to make it work here. Otherwise, they're basically putting a Town Center Parkway style apartment complex on the downtown riverfront.

If the parking lot there is blight, what do you call an 8 story garage?  There will always be a need for some parking to support MOSH, the boat ramp and, minimally, Friendship Park.  Could it be better maintained?  Sure, let's repave it, landscape it, etc.  Its condition is not a reason to go forward with this project though.  As has been noted before, Jax isn't ready for a non-autocentric world.  Even Chophouse has to offer valet parking.  Chart House has a good sized parking lot too.  So, why hold River City to a different standard?

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As I have advocated in other threads, if I had my druthers, we would expand the green space of Friendship Park over this parcel and leave it at that.  They can build these apartments in Rummel's project if they like the area that much and it would seem like he could use the assist  8).

Rummel's project is off the beaten path. I can see how a developer would view this property as having greater potential, given the riverfront, highway access and the land uses immediately surrounding it.

For the same reason this is "superior" for the developer, it is also superior as a public access to remain in the public domain.  Why should we give up all the "best property" to privateers?  Can't we save some "gold" for the taxpayers who already own it?  Are we citizens' to always take a back seat to developers?  And, Rummel and his partners are experienced developers betting a lot more on their property than this group is here so they must think his property has some pretty good "potential."

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Again, I say the City is giving away its gold for a short run sugar high.  Boyer, herself, said, its all about more residents downtown.  Public access and enjoyment be damned.  Where are all these "new residents" going to recreate at the rate we are giving up public green spaces?  I don't think a narrow river walk with little or no amenities is going to cut it.

I agree that a narrow river walk with little or no amenities isn't going to cut it. The city definitely needs a real community based plan and vision. Not just for the riverfront parks, but for the entire central business district. If something like that were in place, most of the individual projects being proposed by the private sector would then have some general guidance. As things currently stand, it's basically every man for himself with a wish that everything works out and goes together in the end.

This paragraph and particularly your last sentence here says it all and follows my points.  It's a race to the bottom regarding the public good magnified by no plan, no vision, no discipline, no concern for the community.

Its all about appeasing developers now, the future be damned.  Want to tear down historic buildings? Check.  Want to build an illegal parking lot? Check.  Want to rip off the taxpayers with over-the-top incentives?  Check.  Want to sell our best/prime public properties to developers in bargain deals?  Check.  Want to build (or demolish) infrastructure for developers that cost millions for only their benefit while other parts of the City in need for decades get nothing?  Check.  Want to rig RFP's to insure the politically connected win out?  Check.  Want to partner with developers with little or no due diligence to make it easy for them at great risk to the taxpayers?  Check.  Want to waive zoning or other standards for developers in the name of "economic development?" Check.  Want to not utilize best business practices to assure deals go forward as promised?  Check.

I believe we generally agree but differ on when and where to stand our ground and hold out for what is really best for all.

thelakelander

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If the parking lot there is blight, what do you call an 8 story garage?  There will always be a need for some parking to support MOSH, the boat ramp and, minimally, Friendship Park.  Could it be better maintained?  Sure, let's repave it, landscape it, etc.  Its condition is not a reason to go forward with this project though.  As has been noted before, Jax isn't ready for a non-autocentric world.  Even Chophouse has to offer valet parking.  Chart House has a good sized parking lot too.  So, why hold River City to a different standard?

Not many cities, including NYC and Chicago, are ready for a non-autocentric world. This doesn't mean that expansive surface parking lots in the central business district should be viewed as acceptable or a necessary evil. They just represent poor design standards and lack of vision in how to handle off-street parking needs in a downtown environment. By no means am I pushing for the design as illustrated in the JDR. With that said, the project looks like a Texas donut, in that the garage is hidden by the apartments. That's one of the better ways to address off-street parking. Sort a like Brooklyn Riverside in Brooklyn or Bell Riverside in Five Points. Chart House's surface lot should be identified as an infill development site as well.


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For the same reason this is "superior" for the developer, it is also superior as a public access to remain in the public domain.  Why should we give up all the "best property" to privateers?  Can't we save some "gold" for the taxpayers who already own it?  Are we citizens' to always take a back seat to developers?  And, Rummel and his partners are experienced developers betting a lot more on their property than this group is here so they must think his property has some pretty good "potential."

My understanding has been that the developer is buying out RCB's long term lease on the property. From that perspective, we're not giving up anything. On the other hand, if we want this entire site to be a park, we (COJ) would need to buy the lease. Something we could certainly do, since we just did it with the Landing. However, I have no faith that anything good would come of it during the current administration.

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I believe we generally agree but differ on when and where to stand our ground and hold out for what is really best for all.

Yes, I think most of it is semantics. In general we all want the same. However, because there is no unified community vision, we're likely describing the same thing through a different lens. For example, when most say they want riverfront parks, they don't mean what the Landing is today. They want something with a mix of amenities like what one will find in Chicago's Millennium Park or St. Pete's new pier. Both would be examples of what I'd argue could be considered mixed use in that they include retail, dining, museums, etc.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2020, 09:58:13 PM by thelakelander »
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heights unknown

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I hoped something with a bit more density and height could be built on that site. Oh well.
Ditto Lake, ditto.
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heights unknown

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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.

When it comes to downtown, I'd love for us to be accomplish being average first. We dream big, show pretty pictures of spaces that cost +$100 million to build, yet we still can't get public restrooms in many of the parks we already have. For the planner in me, struggling to implement the basics is probably the most frustrating thing in discussions about downtown revitalization. The fiasco around the planning of courthouse plaza and the condition of James Weldon Johnson Park are great examples of this. Cities big and small would have transformed these spaces decades ago already.
As I said...poor leadership, poor planning.
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Steve

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I'm so annoyed by this rendering, especially from Related - one of the largest developers there is. They know mixed use very well.

To me there should be 2 Restaurants: One similar in concept to RCBC (I don't care if it's a brewery or not, just a full service restaurant), and one that is perhaps only a window with outside tables. This would cater to boaters, visitors, park goers, etc.

For Related, this shouldn't be a hard add.

thelakelander

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Hopefully the DIA/DDRB can have some positive impact on what's proposed. Definitely agree that this site should include some form of mixed use and interaction with the park and riverfront. Related knows mixed-use very well, so it shouldn't be too difficult for them.
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Ken_FSU

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I'm so annoyed by this rendering, especially from Related - one of the largest developers there is. They know mixed use very well.

To me there should be 2 Restaurants: One similar in concept to RCBC (I don't care if it's a brewery or not, just a full service restaurant), and one that is perhaps only a window with outside tables. This would cater to boaters, visitors, park goers, etc.

For Related, this shouldn't be a hard add.

Agreed.

They must not have too much faith in the downtown retail market, as their Ford on Bay proposal also included the absolutely bare minimum in terms of retail, with nearly all of the retail in that proposal taking the form of resident amenities.

Kinda feels like they just took their Ford on Bay proposal (335 units, 10,000 SF of resident amenities, riverfront courtyard & pool) and shifted it up the river a bit.

I wonder if that Parcel B & C space that (I believe) would be conveyed to the city is big enough to add restaurant back in.



Weird shape, but maybe something like Blacksheep, overlooking Friendship fountain on the right side and the river on the other. Rooftop bar would offer fantastic views of both.


Lostwave

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So they are blocking the riverwalk there, just ending it at the fountain?  This city can't get out of its own way.  Walking down the riverwalk it always amazes me that 6 floor parking garages line most of it.  Why cant the waterfront side of the garage be retail?!?  Why can't we have anything nice?

Steve

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So I'd say if Related wants this land, then COJ should work with them to build the restaurant spaces at the same time. If not, then we risk RCBC closing then this being developed, then the restaurant spaces, "get held up".

In that way it's no different then a demolition for something cool, then the something cool gets held up and then we have less cool then we originally had.

Steve

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So they are blocking the riverwalk there, just ending it at the fountain?  This city can't get out of its own way.  Walking down the riverwalk it always amazes me that 6 floor parking garages line most of it.  Why cant the waterfront side of the garage be retail?!?  Why can't we have anything nice?

That's actually not how I interpret the rendering. Looks like the Riverwalk is maintained. there previously was a weird, "break" at the boat ramp, but I'm not sure how to solve that easily with keeping the ramp.

Charles Hunter

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Hopefully the DIA/DDRB can have some positive impact on what's proposed. Definitely agree that this site should include some form of mixed use and interaction with the park and riverfront. Related knows mixed-use very well, so it shouldn't be too difficult for them.

Do you have these hallucinations often?  The DIA/DDRB history does not bode well for it happening here.  The best leverage (if DIA has it) would be to make it a requirement of the transfer of the lease.

Steve

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The best leverage (if DIA has it) would be to make it a requirement of the transfer of the lease.

Bingo. In this case COJ DOES have leverage.