Ambassador Hotel Project Seeks Conceptual Approval

After being directed to go back to the drawing board in March, Birmingham-based Arbour Valley Development is back with more detail on their plans for the restoration of the Ambassador Hotel. Here is a look at the presentation they'll be giving at today's Downtown Development Review Board meeting.

Published May 2, 2013 in Development -

Birmingham-based Arbour Valley Development, LLC. is the latest group to propose redeveloping the former Ambassador Hotel for residential apartment use.  Located at 420 Julia Street, the historic six story structure would house 80 to 57 residential units, a club room and fitness area.  In addition, a seventh floor would be added to the roof to serve as a clubhouse.

The Ambassador Hotel originally opened in 1924 as 310 West Church Street Apartments, the first upscale apartments in downtown Jacksonville. It was designed by Hentz, Reid and Adler, one of Atlanta's most prominent architectural firms. This $300,000, six-story brick and limestone Georgian Revival style building was built in an 'H' pattern that gives every room a large window view while still being able to house 50 apartments and about 110 residents.

In March, Arbour Valley asked the DDRB to conceptually approve their proposed restoration project.  However, the DDRB expressed a desire to be provided with additional information before considering the request. Today, Arbour Valley will present a more detailed case in hopes of receiving conceptual approval to move forward with the Arbours at Ambassador Place project.

Project General Information

The applicant is requesting conceptual review for the Arbours at Ambassador Place, an existing building listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The building is located at 420 Julia Street and is currently vacant. The applicant is proposing renovations to the existing Ambassador Hotel for residential apartments that include interior and exterior remodeling, as well as window treatment to the existing structure. The building is a six story structure with the lower level partially below the exterior finished grade. The applicant proposes remodeling the existing 80 units to 57 residential units and developing a club room and fitness area within the existing structure. Additionally, the applicant proposes to develop a new rooftop addition that will serve as a clubhouse. The proposed conceptual development information does show general streetscape, parking and new roof-top clubhouse design which must be further addressed showing detail design prior to DDRB final approval.
Source: DDRB May 2013 Meeting Agenda

Ambassador Place Presentation

Presentation includes the March 7, 2013 and May 2, 2013 slides.

DDRB Staff Recommendation

Based on the foregoing, the Downtown Development Review Board Staff recommends conceptual approval of DDRB Application 2013-003 subject to the following conditions:

1. Prior to final approval, the applicant shall show compliance with Sec.656.361.13. – Entrances, or receive a deviation to not provide an entrance on the Church Street frontage.

2. Prior to final approval, the applicant shall provide complete design information for the proposed clubhouse addition on the rooftop so as to comply with Sec. 656.361.15. – Rooftop Design or receive a deviation from the development guidelines for an alternative design.

3. Prior to final approval, the applicant shall provide complete parking design and layout so as to comply with Sec.656.361.16. – Off-Street Parking Overlay or receive a deviation from development guidelines for an alternative design.

4. Prior to final approval, the applicant shall provide complete parking and trash, loading, and screening for the adjacent surface parking lot so as to comply with Sec.656.361.17. –Surface Parking, Trash, Storage and Loading Area Screening and Landscaping Requirements, or receive a deviation from the guidelines for an alternative design.

5. Prior to final approval, the applicant shall show compliance with the Streetscape Design Standards so as to comply with Sec. 656.361.20. –Streetscape Design Standards, or receive a deviation from the guidelines for an alternative design.

6. Prior to final approval, the applicant shall obtain approval from the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission.

The Downtown Development Review Board (DDRB) meeting will be held Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 2:00pm at City Hall (117 West Duval Street).

About Arbour Valley Development, LLC.

Arbour Valley Development, LLC was founded by principals with backgrounds in real estate acquisition, land development and syndication, single-family and multi-family construction, and mortgage banking and real estate finance. Our market-rate projects complement their communities with attractive amenities, spacious and original floor plans, and numerous features that set us apart from other residential complexes. And our affordable housing projects, designed to provide very attractive and comfortable housing with rental rate and income caps, allow local governments to attract a plentiful entry-level labor force, enabling city managers and economic development directors to bring businesses to their communities.

Our projects utilize state-of-the art best-practice construction techniques, are environmentally conscious, strive to maximize green space, and accentuate a “work-play” environment. Whether it is high-speed wireless internet provided community-wide, or central gazebos designed as community gathering points, or nine-foot vaulted ceilings and screened porches, an Arbour Valley Development project is designed with the resident, the community, and the environment in mind.

Most importantly, our residential developments are run by competent, personable managers who know the apartment business and make our residents feel like valued customers and neighbors rather than numbers.

An Arbour Valley Development residential development inspires pride in all of its partners: its owners and managers; its residents, and its communities.

For more information on Arbour Valley Development:

Update by Ennis Davis

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Metro Jacksonville