Fuqua Buys Waterfront Property From Times-Union, Plans $250 Million Redevelopment | Jax Daily Record | Jacksonville Daily Record
Atlanta-based developer Jeff Fuqua bought the former Florida Times-Union property on Feb. 4 and said demolition will begin quickly for what he estimates will be a $250 million redevelopment of the downtown waterfront site. town of Northbank in One Riverside.
“It’s going to be a famous project in Jacksonville when we’re done,” he said after the late afternoon purchase of 1 Riverside Property LLC, owned by the Morris family of Augusta, Georgia.
“It’s quite monumental. It’s going to be quite a place.
The demolition will be completed by June, he said.
Fuqua, director of Fuqua Development, declined to provide the purchase price, which has not been recorded with the Duval County Clerk.
One Riverside is designed in two phases.
The first phase includes 270 apartments, retail space and a restaurant.
The second phase adds more apartments and commercial spaces.
There is also an eight-level parking garage.
Fuqua said the first phase is expected to open in the summer of 2024. The second phase could start in late 2023 or early 2024.
The 18.84 acre property is located at 1 Riverside Ave. in the Brooklyn area along the St. Johns River. It is next to the Acosta bridge.
Fuqua said work will begin “almost immediately” on the demolition of the five-story, 55,500-square-foot office building and the three-level, 223,000-square-foot production building.
A pending demolition permit indicates an estimated cost of $1 million to demolish the structures.
Fuqua said he expects demolition crews to start work in 30 days. Building materials will be recycled.
He said the equipment and furniture had been removed.
The Times-Union campus was built in 1967. The Morris family bought the property and the newspaper in 1982. They sold the newspaper in 2017. The newspaper moved to the Wells Fargo Center.
Fuqua said the retail portion of One Riverside will include a 40,000 square foot grocery store to be announced soon. It will not be a Publix Super Markets Inc.
He said the banner was “new to this part of the market”, but did not say whether it already had a store in the area.
A complicated matter
Fuqua said “out of 350 projects I’ve developed, this is one of the most complicated”.
The city was a party to the agreement and will relocate and restore McCoys Creek which runs through the property and develop a park.
He said work will begin immediately on the creek.
“We bought the whole thing and gave out parts to the city,” Fuqua said.
There is a separate sale to TriBridge Residential, Fuqua’s partner in apartment development.
He said there is more to come.
“There are more sales and more things happen over time,” he said.
Retail space – the grocery store and an additional 7,000 square feet – will be developed on the site of the office building. The park will go where the production building is.
The residential development and the restaurant will be along the river.
A second phase will provide 115 additional apartments and 15,000 square feet of retail space overlooking the restored McCoys Creek.
Fuqua said he also had submerged land. He said he was researching how to develop this for a dock.
The site, which overlooks the Riverwalk, will also be accessible from Riverside Avenue. May Street is extended in the project with a pedestrian plaza at the end.
“There will be a lot of pedestrian access,” he said.
Fuqua said that although the deal was complex, it was done quickly.
He said the property was put under contract at the end of March. It has been approved by the city and the Downtown Investment Authority.
“To go through the process and the city funding, they don’t (usually) happen that quickly in such a complicated deal,” he said.
Fuqua thanked DIA CEO Lori Boyer and the city “for making these things possible.”
The Downtown Development Review Board approved the site plan on December 16.
City Council approved a $31.59 million incentive package Nov. 23 for the redevelopment.
The developer said Fuqua’s assistant general counsel, Heather Reynolds, lives in Jacksonville and made the deal “across the finish line.”
She “lived and breathed it every day”.
Fuqua said TriBridge “really dug in too.”
He also credited Morris Communications Co. LLC General Counsel Noel Schweers as “great to work with.”
Fuqua has also worked with Driver partners McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow, Steve Diebenow and Cyndy Trimmer.
“Man alive, they did it,” he said.