Hawkshaw developers get Pensacola CRA OK for 200-unit apartments

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Developers of the Hawkshaw property got the green light from Pensacola City Council on Monday to move the development to a residential-only complex and reset their construction schedule after the project. encountered problems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sitting as the board of directors for the city’s community redevelopment agency, the council voted 6 to 1 to approve Hawkshaw’s new development plan for the property.

The new plans call for 208 rental apartments in a seven-story building on Romana Street and townhouse-style units along Ninth Avenue.

Monday night’s vote gives developers until March 2022 to begin construction on the project and gives 30 months from that day to complete construction.

March 2022 was the previous deadline for the project to be completed.

The CRA worked for over a decade to find the right plan for the property and in 2017 approved developer Bob Montgomery’s plan for the site.

Change of plan:Hawkshaw developers want to move away from retail and build 200 downtown apartments

Sold:City Council Approves $ 1.6 Million Sale of Hawkshaw Property to Robert Montgomery

Selected package:New $ 35 million development recommended for Hawkshaw in downtown Pensacola

The original plan called for a mixed-use development, including a large retail space and a restaurant. The development ran into problems with the need to redraw the plans due to poor soil conditions, relocation of water pipes, and then the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which wiped out funding for the project.

Montgomery told the advice last month that the inclusion of a restaurant and retail space had become impractical due to increased construction costs. He said on Monday that the updated proposal is workable.

An aerial view showing the new concept for the Hawkshaw development of SMP Architecture.

“We think this proposal that we have will work,” Montgomery said. “We are very confident that it is possible. We have invested heavily. You can see that the plans that have already been made are vast, so we are ready to move forward quickly.”

Councilor Teniadé Broughton was the only one to vote against the measure. Broughton asked if a vote was needed by the CRA and believed developers would be able to proceed without CRA approval after March 2022 or build the approved plan.

City attorney Susan Woolf said that while the Hawkshaw development group owns the property, the deed contains a 30-year restriction that requires any development on the property to be approved by the CRA.

City Councilor Sherri Myers said the city has been trying to develop the project for years and needs to move forward with a workable plan.

“I’ve been on the CRA board for 11 years, and for 11 years we’ve been talking about Hawkshaw,” Myers said. “And you know what, it’s a good project, and I think it would be really heartbreaking, honestly, after all these years, if this project (didn’t) move forward.”

Jim Little can be reached at [email protected] and 850-208-9827.

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