Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kuhn Rails against City over Developments' Woes; the Developer Said He Will Proceed with the Projects, but the Costs Are Adding Up

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kuhn Rails against City over Developments' Woes; the Developer Said He Will Proceed with the Projects, but the Costs Are Adding Up

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE LIGHT

Developer Cameron Kuhn wants Jacksonville residents to know he's moving forward with his River Watch at City Centre and former Barnett Bank building projects, but he isn't too happy with a couple of government agencies.

The Kuhn Cos. sent out a news release on Tuesday railing against the JEA and city officials for throwing kinks in his plans for the two buildings, but said he's continuing to move forward with design and construction.

Kuhn made a splash in Jacksonville in 2005 when he bought the SunTrust and former Barnett Bank buildings in rapid succession.

He soon proposed a 33-story hotel and condominium tower, dubbed River Watch at City Centre, on the site adjacent to the SunTrust building and unveiled plans to transform the Barnett building into residential condominiums. Although renovations to the Barnett, which would be called One12, have been under way for months, ground hasn't been broken on the River Watch tower.

On Tuesday, Kuhn officials said stunted negotiations and confusion about city policy have struck both projects, causing delays and unexpected costs.

In the release, Kuhn said negotiations to use the JEA's chilled water system for River Watch had deadlocked, requiring a redesign and loss of time that would cost millions of dollars.

According to JEA spokeswoman Gerri Boyce, bringing chilled water to the River Watch site would have cost the authority $2.1 million. Kuhn was unwilling to put up a performance bond to reimburse JEA in the event River Watch didn't end up using it. Boyce said Kuhn also asked for a discounted rate for the water, which the JEA was unwilling to give.

Kuhn Cos. vice president George Moore said other buildings could and would be served by the chilled water line and that Kuhn officials didn't think the company should have to bear the burden of guaranteeing work. He also said JEA's fee structure was designed for commercial buildings and didn't make sense for residences.

Instead, Moore said The Kuhn Cos. …

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