Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ortega Condo Project Now 2 Floors Trimmer

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ortega Condo Project Now 2 Floors Trimmer

Article excerpt

Byline: Earl Daniels, Times-Union business writer

Developer Heyward Cantrell realized he was about to build too many condominiums at the proposed Ortega River Club Condominiums.

So, he downsized his plans in June and increased the sales prices.

"When we started doing the construction drawing, we realized we were trying to pack too much into the site," said Cantrell, president of Cantrell Real Estate in Jacksonville.

Originally planned as a 14-story, 57-unit condo along the Ortega River, the project has been scaled down to 12 stories and 35 units. Prices now start at $485,000 instead of $465,000. The units range from 2,416 square feet to 3,766 square feet. The most expensive unit, a penthouse, is priced at $1.325 million.

Cantrell said demand for the units has not been adversely affected by the tweaks to the plans and prices.

He said 12 of the 35 units have been sold, including two of the five penthouse units. Construction is expected to start in January and be completed in November 2004.

The Ortega condo project on Lakeside Drive is among several condo developments planned or being built in the Jacksonville area. It is the second new condo planned for the Riverside-Avondale and Ortega areas. The other is a 70-unit tower proposed at Riverside Avenue and Stockton Street by Flagship Communities LLC.

The projects will be the first new condos that have been built in the two areas since 1986, when developer Walter Hirshberg built the Ortega Yacht Club Condominiums, next door to Cantrell's proposed condo tower.

Real estate experts and analysts say Jacksonville's housing market has matured to a point where there is more demand for condos. Baby boomers are particularly attracted to condos because they offer more amenities and require less maintenance than a single-family house.

Some analysts also say that there is an increase in the number of business executives who have moved to Jacksonville who have lived in condos and want to maintain that way of life. …

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