Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WORKS IN PROGRESS; Fitness Centers, More Apartments on the Way

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WORKS IN PROGRESS; Fitness Centers, More Apartments on the Way

Article excerpt

Byline: Roger Bull

A national chain of fitness centers is coming to Jacksonville, a facility for state prisoners is being built on the Westside, a new apartment complex is going in on Gate Parkway, a bunch of dirt is being dug on Main Street and an Edgewood Avenue shopping center has new life.

FITNESS

LA Fitness is entering the Jacksonville market with at least three gyms planned.

So far, the company has gyms going in at these locations:

Atlantic North, which is the shopping center at the corner of Kernan and Atlantic boulevards where Academy Sports + Outdoors has stood by itself since 2010.

University Center at the corner of University Boulevard West and St. Augustine Road. It's going in where Publix was, before it moved into the new building across the street a few years ago.

Westland Park Plaza, just off Blanding Boulevard north of I-295. It's moving into a former Sports Authority.

A LA Fitness spokeswoman said she couldn't say if there would be more than those three.

APARTMENTS ON GATE

Jacksonville's apartment boom continues with a new 240-unit complex just under way on Gate Parkway. The Terrace at Town Center will have 240 units with a construction price of $10.5 million.

It's being built by The Morgan Group, a private company based in Houston with 20 apartment communities in five states. It also owns Arelia James Island, a 270-unit complex that happens to be right next door to Terrace at Town Center.

A manager at Arelia said it's at 93 percent occupancy. Opening for Terrace is expected early next year, she said.

PRISONERS ON AGMAC

The ceremonial groundbreaking took place last summer, but the real construction on the facility for prison inmates began a few weeks ago. It's called Jacksonville Bridge, and it's going in on Agmac Avenue, a narrow road of woods and light industry off Beaver Street on the Westside.

Christian Prison Ministry Inc. bought the 5.6 acres last year for $1.05 million. What it's putting in is an $8 million project with five buildings and 400 beds.

Half the beds, said Director Jeffrey Wainwright, will be used for state prisoners who are in the final two years or so of their sentence. They'll be getting eight hours of classes a day, he said, with subjects ranging from balancing checkbooks to anger management. The other 200 beds will be for prisoners who are in the work release program, typically the last 14 months of their sentences.

Jacksonville Bridge will receive funding from the state for each prisoner housed there. The facility will have no fences or bars, but Wainwright said the prisoners are carefully chosen. There will be no sex offenders, he said.

Wainwright said the project should be completed by July.

Jacksonville Bridge is part of Bridges of America, which operates seven similar facilities in the state. …

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