Port Orange to choose from six multi-million dollar Riverwalk projects

PORT ORANGE – For years this town has sought to develop a prime property on the Halifax River on the west side of the Dunlawton Bridge.

On Tuesday, Port Orange city council is to decide which of the six proposals will accept the 10-acre “Riverwalk” property along Ridgewood Avenue at the northwest corner of the bridge.

Proposals from potential developers range from $ 60 million to $ 95 million. All developments include apartments, commercial developments such as restaurants and shops, and parking. And five of the six proposals make it clear that they will also seek some form of financial assistance in the form of tax relief from the city.

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Whichever developer the city chooses, Port Orange will take a big step towards returning the city-owned site to tax rolls and providing a new destination site for area residents and tourists.

“The potential sale of the southern part of Riverwalk is a huge win for the people of Port Orange,” Mayor Don Burnette wrote to the News-Journal in an email. “This is the most visible segment and most of them have not been taxed for over two decades. “

Here are some details about each proposal:

1. BLD Group – Est. Budget: $ 95 million

The Florida-based LLC specializes in the development and acquisition of garden-style, mid-rise, high-rise and wrap-around projects. They are behind the development of 436 Venetian Apartments in Fort Meyers, built in 2018.

Their idea for Riverwalk includes:

  • A six-storey building with 320 multi-family units.
  • 25,000 square feet of retail space split between retail (25%), restaurants (25%) and entertainment (50%).
  • A public path to extend to Dunlawton Avenue.
  • 60 parking spaces at the main site, plus 86 parking spaces on an adjacent 0.84 acre property.

For the city’s help, BLD Group will ask for an “exemption from permit fees and recreational impact fees”.

2. Development of the Bristol – Est group. Budget: $ 80-90 million

Based in Tennessee and established in 1999, Bristol has been a leading developer on 43 projects in seven states. They’re behind the Vista Brooklyn apartment complex in Jacksonville, Florida, which cost around $ 85 million.

For Riverwalk, they are proposing a “dynamic mixed-use residential, commercial and public project”, which includes:

  • Multifamily (5 floors) – 240 rental units.
  • 5 story parking garage – 430 spaces, plus 206 surface parking spaces.
  • Retail – 18,000 SF (restaurants and incubator space).

Bristol said in its proposal that they “anticipate that public incentives will be necessary to obtain the return on cost necessary to finance the project. These incentives may take the form of direct aid, reductions in certain public costs or a sharing of the tax value. “

3. Falcone & Associés – Est. Budget: $ 60 million

The Falcone Group entered the residential construction industry in 1988. Since 2004, they have developed or acquired interests in over 20,000 multi-family apartment units, 10 million square feet of commercial space and 30,000 single-family homes. . They are behind the development of 404 Plantation Walk units in Plantation, Florida.

For Riverwalk, their proposal includes:

  • 5-storey multi-family building with 245 rental units.
  • 7,500 square feet of retail / commercial restaurant space.
  • 519 parking spaces.

The group calls on the city to “allocate satisfactory revenue from financing tax increases (TIF) and impact fee credits to offset public infrastructure costs,” which would include, but not be limited to , “The dike, the promenade, site preparation, parking, footpaths. , public streets and entry / exit improvements ”, according to the proposal.

4. Harbor Retail Partners – Est. Budget: $ 80 million

Founded in 2013, Harbor Retail Partners (“HRP”) is a real estate fund focused on the acquisition and development of commercial and multi-family properties primarily in the Southeastern United States. HRP has “developed or redeveloped 30 projects worth over $ 500 million.” In 2019, HRP converted a hotel into a 175-unit multi-family apartment building in Memphis, Tennessee.

The group wants to develop an “authentic mixed-use project that is carefully programmed to include grocery, retail, restaurant, entertainment, fitness and residential.” The proposal includes:

  • 210 multi-family units.
  • 68,000 square feet of retail / commercial space (including a 40 square foot grocery store).
  • 525 parking spaces.
  • 4000 square feet of covered patio for 2 restaurants by the water.
  • 60 boat slips (public and private).

HRP said it “intends to apply for the TIF and include all eligible infrastructure as per guidelines from the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and the City of Port Orange. The partnership also has intends to take advantage of the opportunity zone and brownfields to the extent possible. “

5. Emblematic companies – No estimated budget

The Aventura, Florida-based company is a vertically integrated development company focused on new multi-family development opportunities across the country. This year, they completed their Millennium Hometown development in Texas, with 306 housing units and 11,600 square feet of retail space.

For Riverwalk, they are proposing a “state-of-the-art project that the city and its residents will see with pride” and which “will create a luxurious ambience to complement spectacular water views.” He understands:

  • 5-storey building with 320 multi-family units.
  • 20,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

In terms of tax refund assistance, the group’s proposal states: “Impact Fee Reimbursement or CRA Grant – $ 1.8 million; grant – $ 600,000 to be distributed over fiscal years 2022, 2023; and FY2024 Tax Increment Rebate 50% of Tax Increment for 15 years to a maximum of $ 4.5 million. “

6. The Cornerstone Group – Est. Budget: $ 65-70 million

Cornerstone Residential Management, LLC has been developing and managing “exceptional apartment communities throughout the State of Florida” for more than two decades. One of their past developments is the Oviedo on the Park: a 145,000 square foot project consisting of offices under apartments, a dining room, a beer garden, a retail business. and restaurants.

Their proposal for Riverwalk includes:

  • 250 multi-family units.
  • 15,500 square foot space for shops and restaurants on the ground floor.
  • 407 parking spaces in total.

The group did not indicate in its proposal any tax assistance.

Potential sale a “huge win” for Port Orange

Council members will rank proposals after developer presentations. According to the city, “the intention is for the city council to make a selection by the end of the council meeting.”

Burnette said the sale of the Riverwalk property “will allow us to pay down debt, return the property to the tax roll, end debt service payments out of the general fund, and fund other improvements to the property. the Community Redevelopment Agency (ARC) ”.

As of August 2021, the city’s broker, Colliers International Florida, LLC, has actively marketed the approximately 10 acres of land in the Riverwalk area, which includes other adjoining land along city-owned Ridgewood Avenue and the ‘Downtown ARC.

Assuming city council chooses to go ahead with one of the six proposals, the city will work out a purchase agreement with the chosen developer and “may tentatively come back to council and the CRA for consideration early. spring 2022 ”.

“This is a huge victory before we even realize the most exciting part, which is the potential enjoyment that will come to our citizens with any mixed-use proposal that we accept from the winning bidder,” said Burnette.

Residents can attend the Tuesday city council meeting at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, located at 1000 City Center Circle.

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