Some you may have seen the blue signs outside of the CenterState Bank Building at 1234 King Street in the heart of the historic district. Here is what we know is happening, and how this project is expected to move forward.
An application has been filed by CenterState Bank for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA), seeking approval for demolition of the building, which records indicate was built in 1952. The application will be heard by the Jacksonville Historic Planning Commission (JHPC) on Wednesday, July 25th at 3 p.m. in the Ed Ball Building, 214 N. Hogan St., Conference Room 1002. The COA Application number is COA-18-20885.
Riverside Avondale Preservation learned on Wednesday that the COA application is part of the due diligence process for the potential buyer, local developer J. B. Ritz, who plans a mixed use development on the site including a new smaller branch for CenterState. RAP does not oppose the application, but seeks to include a condition about the timing of the demolition, to prevent the site sitting empty and potentially blighted.
Brian Hunter of CenterState told RAP that the reason for the COA is that the buyer needs to know that the building can be demolished before they can move forward with planning for the site. Hunter also relayed that while CenterState no longer needs such a large building, it is committed to maintaining a continuously operating branch at this location to serve its customers.
The potential buyer and CenterState representatives have made the commitment that the building will not be torn down until such time as the applicant or owner has secured final approval of a COA or COAs authorizing new construction on the site, along with final approval of a Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning designation for the site.
Both PUDs and COAs require public hearings and therefore will provide multiple opportunities for public input, and RAP will also work with Councilman Love to hold a community meeting during the planning process. There are currently no applications submitted for a new site plan, PUD or COA. The entire process could take up to a year or more.
According to the application: “The demolition of this structure to make room for a new mixed-use development will provide a more efficient use of this infill parcel as well as a drastic increase in the tax-base….Upon approval of this application for demolition, COA applications for new construction will be submitted for the proposed mixed-use development.”
Attorney T. R. Hainline, representing J.B. Ritz, said that the developers and CenterState are committed to working with RAP and the community in a collaborative way on the planning for the site.
RAP will continue to communicate news about this project, as well as other zoning or preservation activities, along with opportunities for public input and dialogue.
To review the CenterState application, visit here. Enter COA-1820885, then open at bottom under map. And again, the application will be reviewed on Wednesday, July 25 at 3 p.m. in the Ed Ball Building, 214 N. Hogan St., Conference room 1002.