Thursday, March 24, 10:53 AM EDT
Published by the Jacksonville Financial News & Daily Record
By Karen Mathis, Managing Editor
A decade after East San Marco was announced for Jacksonville’s historic San Marco area and a day after partners reported a deal finally was done, the newly identified developer has provided more details.
Those details include an anticipated September ground-breaking, if all unfolds according to plan.
ArchCo Residential LLC Regional Partner Jason Jacobson said Wednesday the Atlanta-based company would start construction after it and New York-based Bluerock Residential Group REIT Inc. complete their acquisition from Regency Centers Corp. of 4.3 acres at southeast Hendricks Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard.
ArchCo expects the construction permit to be issued in August, after which the venture will close on the property purchase. Construction will follow.
Completion is expected in late 2018.
The ArchCo/Bluerock venture, along with Jacksonville-based Whitehall Realty Partners LLC, will develop 239 apartments in a multistory building that will feature ground-level retail stores, anchored by Publix Super Markets Inc.
“We understood immediately that it was a unique location within the Jacksonville market,” Jacobson said.
He said the apartments would benefit from the Publix and the five to seven other retail stores that should include a chef-driven restaurant.
Regency Centers and The St. Joe Co., a former developer on the deal, announced the project in 2006, but it stalled along the way with the recession and other delays. Whitehall Realty came onboard in 2013 as the residential partner but withdrew in 2014 so it could line up financing.
The project re-emerged last spring, but without an identification of the residential and capital partners, with an expectation of a ground-breaking this spring.
“The long-term potential of the asset seemed very strong,” Jacobson said. “In addition, we felt that we had a unique set of skills related to mixed-use development with a residential component and that we could use those skills to help a complicated project come to fruition.”
In addition to the main project, ArchCo also intends to develop about 30 two- and three-bedroom townhomes on a site bounded by Atlantic Boulevard, Arcadia Place, Alford Place and Minerva Avenue. They likely will be for rent. There is no timeline for the townhome development.
That 1.1-acre site is part of the overall 4.3-acre parcel and was included in the city-approved Planned Unit Development for East San Marco.
The primary structure will rise to six stories at the corner of Atlantic and Hendricks and steps down to five floors. The main site is bordered by Hendricks Avenue, Atlantic Boulevard, Mango Place and Alford Place.
Regency Centers, a nationwide retail developer and owner, will buy back the retail portion and serve as the landlord for it.
Jacobson said Wednesday there will be two parking garages. Plans show those will be fronted by the apartments and retail stores.
The parking decks will not be visible from outside of the building.
Regency Centers will buy and operate the retail garage and ArchCo/Bluerock will own the residential garage.
ArchCo will build the 239 apartments over the ground-level retail stores, including the Publix and five to seven more stores and restaurants.
ArchCo plans 141 one-bedroom, 76 two-bedroom, four three-bedroom and 18 studio units.
The units will feature multiple floor plans. Jacobson said the average size will be 580 square feet for studios; 750 square feet for one-bedroom units; 1,220 square feet for two bedrooms; and 1,740 square feet for three bedrooms.
He said monthly rates on the one-bedroom units could range from $1,200 to $1,500 and two-bedroom units could be $1,800 to $2,000. Jacobson said it is too early to be more specific about rental rates for the studio and three-bedroom units.
Parking for the Publix and retail stores will be on the ground level with a dedicated entrance.
For residents, parking will be within a separate five-level concrete structure with 414 spaces above Publix. Parking will be accessed from Alford Place on the south entrance to the project.
The apartment project architect is The Preston Partnership, of Atlanta and Washington, D.C. The townhome architect is Jacksonville-based Ervin Lovett Miller. The civil engineer for both is England-Thims & Miller Inc., based in Jacksonville.
No contractor has been chosen for East San Marco. ArchCo intends to bid the project in late spring or early summer.
Jacobson said ArchCo became aware of the East San Marco project through Bluerock because ArchCo CEO Neil Brown has a longstanding business relationship with Bluerock principals.
Brown founded ArchCo in 2013 to develop multifamily projects after Archstone was sold. He worked more than 17 years with Archstone, one of the country’s largest multifamily developers/operators.
Whitehall Realty had been seeking a development and financial partner to complete the deal.
Jacobson said ArchCo and Bluerock began looking at the project in 2014 and a purchase agreement was executed in February 2015.
“The decision to bring ArchCo into the deal was a mutual one among Whitehall, Regency and Bluerock,” Jacobson said.
ArchCo and Bluerock also are working on projects in Charlotte, N.C., Dallas and Fort Lauderdale, he said.
ArchCo doesn’t have current plans for more Jacksonville projects.
“But we like the city and believe the economy will continue to strengthen,” Jacobson said. “We would be open to other compelling investments like this one in the market.”