Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Agency Fearful Project Will Be Strip Center

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Agency Fearful Project Will Be Strip Center

Article excerpt

JACKSONVILLE BEACH -- City redevelopment officials are

concerned they could end up with little more than a strip

shopping center south of Butler Boulevard at Marsh Landing

Parkway.

At a workshop meeting of the Community Redevelopment Agency

Tuesday, members discussed a proposed contract with Sleiman

Enterprises to develop the 18 acres. In November 1995, the

agency selected Sleiman over two other firms to develop the

property as a mixed-use commercial and multi-family project.

Original plans called for a 150-unit apartment complex, a

120-room hotel, a 10,000-square-foot restaurant and 30,000

square feet of retail space.

Sketchy plans presented to the agency Tuesday by Sleiman's

attorney, Rob Heekin, included up to 35,000 square feet of

commercial development that fronts on Marsh Landing Parkway and

a multi-family housing complex. A hotel site had not been

specified.

"We have not defined the users yet," Heekin said. "It would be

difficult to get lodging into that strip. It probably won't

happen there."

Heekin didn't rule out putting a hotel south of the strip

center or west of it. But some agency members were concerned the

Sleimans were backing out of the hotel proposal. And they

worried that a proposal to do the project in phases, with the

commercial first followed by the residential, might leave the

city hanging. They asked for a more specific construction

schedule and detailed site plans.

"If it's a phase thing, what's to say they ever have to do a

phase two?" asked agency member Fland Sharp. "My main concern is

control of what is actually going to go there."

"We do not want the city to be stuck with a commercial project

only. In other words, we don't want to be stuck with a strip

shopping center," said Chairman Ray Fisher. "I think a hotel

would probably fly down there."

Although the proposed project will involve land condemnation by

the city, the city will not participate financially. …

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