City Council approves Laura Street Trio redevelopment – The Resident Community News Group, Inc.
After decades of neglect and several false starts, the Laura Street Trio is about to be revitalized.
Jacksonville City Council approved a $ 24.7 million incentive program with SouthEast Development Group LLC to renovate the Florida Bank Building, Florida Life Building, and Bisbee Building into a 145-room Marriott Autograph Hotel with amenities on the ground floor, a restaurant, a lounge and a specialized food store.
The trio are part of the Jacksonville National Historic District and were built between 1902 and 1912 when the city was rebuilt after the Great Fire.
“Downtown Jacksonville is one more step towards reusing its most significant historic buildings,” said Steve Atkins, Principal and Managing Director of SouthEast Development Group. “I appreciate the consideration of the Council. I appreciate the DIA (Downtown Investment Authority) and the hard work they have done and, more importantly, I appreciate the leadership the mayor has shown and his commitment to downtown development.
According to SouthEast, plans for the redevelopment of the Laura Street Trio include:
Historic Florida National Bank Building: 18,216 square feet on two floors and a basement, to include a private dining area and wine cellar in the basement of 7,442 square feet; 7,069 square feet on the ground floor for catering operations; and an additional 3,615 square feet of restaurant operating space.
Historic Bisbee Building: 42,333 square feet over 10 floors, with mechanical operations in the basement; a 4,401 square foot grocery store and convenience store on the ground floor; a 4,401 square foot conference center on the second floor; and eight floors of hotel rooms.
Historic Florida Life Insurance Building (Marble Bank Building): 26,803 square feet over 11 floors. It will include a media theater in the basement; 2,205 square feet of lobby / business center space on the ground floor; a 2,205 square foot fitness and multimedia center on the second floor; and nine floors of hotel rooms.
SouthEast will construct a new eight-story building that will offer ground-floor retail, six floors of hotel rooms and a rooftop bar. An 11-story circulation core will add 2,012 square feet of lobby space to the first floor. Adkins said bringing the three buildings together into one project was difficult.
“(We have) three buildings, they’re all built at different times. Three different elevations. All of that has to be taken into account when you’re not just putting them back together, but making them work together, ”he said.
Adkins said the new buildings will be contemporary in design but complement existing structures.
Jacksonville historian Wayne Wood has said the Laura Street Trio is the most significant architectural group in downtown Jacksonville and he’s delighted they’re finally getting a makeover.
“The buildings are so architecturally and historically significant that they cannot be demolished, yet they are in too terrible a condition to be left as they are if there is a silver lining for the redevelopment of the center. -ville, ”he said. “These buildings are difficult to redevelop due to their small footprint. Wood said that was why it took a generous incentive package to get the deal done.
Wood says it’s a unique group of buildings that most people don’t realize how special it is to have in Jacksonville.
“In most downtown metropolises, the tallest building is usually on the corner and therefore blocks the two buildings on the other side,” he said. “But here we have the exact opposite. We have a beautiful classic building on the corner that allows you to see the two skyscrapers that frame it on either side and that makes a wonderful composition which is quite unique in the South East.
Adkins said Cincinnati-based Winegardner & Hammons will operate the site’s restaurants and bars. He said there will be third-party retail sales, but none of this will be finalized until it opens.
Adkins said construction is scheduled to begin this fall and will take about two years.
By Kevin J. Meerschaert
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