Developer plans to turn San Marco property into shopping, housing

Atlanta-based firm purchases land at north end of Philips Highway for $4.7M

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A blighted and undeveloped area of Jacksonville's San Marco neighborhood may soon be getting a facelift thanks to $4.7 million purchase.

Chance Partners of Atlanta not only purchased the land that was supposed to be become Jackson Square, but the company has also announced that it will create new housing and shopping along the north end of Philips Highway, just south of Atlantic Boulevard

For years, the land sat vacant with no development whatsoever. But if Chance Partners of Atlanta gets its way, the property will become the future site for hundreds of apartments and new shopping. 

In 2008, the land was poised to become Jacksonville’s newest housing and shopping development called Jackson Square. It was estimated to have cost between $75-100 million to build, but the recession hit and the land remained undeveloped. 

Nine years later, Chance Partners bought the land and announced big plans.

According to the developer, the multimillion-dollar project will have two phases. Phase one will consists of three apartment buildings with four floors and a total of 286 apartments. There would be street parking, as well as parking under the buildings. The developer also plans to create 10,000 square feet of retail space along Philips Highway. Phase two is expected to be similar to phase one.

San Marco residents who living directly behind the property have mixed reactions about the proposal. 

"That's definitely a concern, especially over by the BP. There's a lot of crime and prostitution. I mean, if it will bring something that will divert that away from the area, so we're not having vacant lots for troublemakers to hang out at," said Karly Dezern, a San Marco resident. 

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office crime-mapping website, 122 crimes, most of which were vehicle break-ins and assaults, were reported since March 1 within a mile of the site. 

“I don’t know how much thought they put into the different elements and all the different situations, especially with traffic or how it’s going to impact that specific area because that area has been very undeveloped. So to have a development there sounds like a good idea, but until you see more details and how it’s going to impact this area, it’s very hard to tell," said Andres Gallo, a San Marco resident. 

Chance Partners told News4Jax that the location was chosen because of its close proximity to the interstate and San Marco Square. As for crime concerns, Chance Partners believes a project of this size will force the prostitution and illegal drug element out of the area. 

Chance Partners will present the proposal at a City Commission meeting at 1 p.m. Thursday.

Back in 2008, there were some residents who complained about the Jackson Square proposal because they were worried about traffic. Similar complaints have not been voiced about the new proposed development, but many residents are urging their neighbors to attend the commission meeting.

If the proposal is approved, construction would begin next year and would be completed by summer 2019. 

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