Luxury Condo Tower to Be Constructed in Jacksonville, Fla.'s Southbank Complex

Dec. 3--The developer of The Peninsula on the Southbank and The Strand at St. Johns plans to spend in excess of $100 million to construct a 40- story luxury condominium tower on the Southbank. The third tower, dubbed The Vu, would contain about 190 units, an exercise facility, meeting rooms, pools, sauna and spa, and a rooftop club for residents, said American Land Ventures President Granvil Tracy.

The Miami-based developer's tower would be the third phase of its St. Johns Center complex, following the 28-story Strand apartment building and 37-story Peninsula condominium building. Both the Peninsula and Strand are under construction.

Tracy said he hopes construction on The Vu can begin in 12 months, but that the schedule will depend on the strength of pre-sales. Designers will attempt to present conceptual plans for the project at the Design Review Committee's next meeting on Dec. 15. Company officials have not determined the price range of the units and will not seek incentives from the city for the project, he said.

City of Jacksonville Senior Planner Stephen Smith confirmed that representatives from American Land Ventures are expected to meet with officials from the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission on Monday to review the DRC conceptual application. Although the deadline to submit DRC applications has passed, Smith said that American Land received an extension and would still be on the agenda for the upcoming meeting.

Developers originally planned for phase three of St. Johns Center to be an office building with about 85,000 square feet of space. Contractors would have built that building over a 260-space parking garage. Instead, the 40-story condominium building will include a 393-space garage and 3,150 square feet of retail. "There's much more residential demand than there is for office right now," Tracy said. "Generally speaking, the city would also rather see residential."

The building will incorporate elements from the Strand and Peninsula, said Louis St. Clair, an architect for Dorsky Hodgson & Partners. Although the amenity center will occupy the 40th floor, the two floors below that will have penthouses, St. Clair said. He said some of the condominiums will have 270 degree views of the river.

There will be seven units per floor, he said. "This brings a newer and more modern look and feel compared to the other towers," he said. Tracy said that pedestrian walkways, gardens, and a large public space will integrate the three buildings. He said that the company's biggest stumbling block might be the costs of construction and manpower. "Everybody's having trouble finding workers -- especially after Katrina," he said.

<<Florida Times-Union, The (Jacksonville) (KRT) -- 12/05/05>>