JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville City Council on Tuesday night approved a $26.67 million taxpayer financing package that paves the way for the restoration of the historic Laura Street Trio.
The vote was 16-1 in favor of the loan package that will help the SouthEast Development Group convert the vacant Downtown Jacksonville buildings. The plan is to turn them into a 145-room Marriott hotel that would have a restaurant, retail and bodega grocery store.
Developer Steve Atkins told News4Jax’s news partner the Jacksonville Daily Record that all the pieces are now in place for the restoration.
“I think when it’s completed, I really, truly believe that this will be the crown jewel of Downtown,” Atkins told the Daily Record.
Atkins said previously that he expects site work to begin by early November. It’s expected to take 24 months to complete the restoration.
Right now, windows of the buildings are broken out. Overall, the space appears to be run down.
“That’s the problem—you don’t have a lot of people that are attracted to downtown because it’s old, it’s dated and there’s not much to do down here,” said Rodneshia Jones, who lives in Jacksonville.
The bill that was approved Tuesday night added a $2 million forgivable loan to the city commitment. It helps SouthEast Development Group satisfy an outstanding bridge loan on the property from the company’s previous attempt at securing project financing.