Florida Blue parking garage includes 869 spaces, urban park area
Posted by Carlos Renteria on
Plans for Florida Blue’s proposed $22.5 million Brooklyn parking garage at Magnolia, Forest and Park streets features a parklike setting with spaces for artwork.
The Jacksonville-based insurer filed conceptual designs for the garage with the Downtown Development Review Board, which will consider initial approval at its Oct. 10 meeting.
Florida Blue contracted with Jacksonville-based RS&H to design the parking structure and landscaping. Jacksonville contractor Danis Builders LLC will lead construction.
Renderings show a four-story parking garage with an estimated 869 spaces, up from 750 spaces set in Florida Blue’s development agreement approved Aug. 7 by the Downtown Investment Authority board.
The building footprint will cover 1.62 acres of the 2.32-acre property, according to the site plan, with a 70,272 square-foot first floor.
That indicates a four-deck total of about 281,000 square feet.
The proposed urban park area would be 0.05 acres, or 2,274 square feet, and will be part of improved streetscaping around the property.
The public artwork is planned for the open urban space, along with benches and shading.
RS&H documents show the facade’s architectural flourishes based on the design of Edward Waters College Administration Building at 1658 Kings Road, built as B.F. Lee Theological Seminary Building in 1927.
The city agreed to give Florida Blue a $3.5 million completion grant to build the garage on city-owned property. City Council approved legislation Sept. 24 that transfers ownership of the parcel, appraised at $3.17 million, to Florida Blue at no cost.
Construction is expected to begin by Jan. 9 and be completed by Sept. 9, 2020.
The site holds a water retention pond that the city intends to fill. City officials are designing a water bypass pipe network, according to the RS&H and Danis documents.
DIA officials say the Florida Blue parking garage meets increased parking demand in Brooklyn and supports existing and proposed retail businesses and restaurants on Riverside Avenue and nearby Park Street.
Florida Blue and the city would enter a 39-year lease for public access to the parking spaces after 6 p.m. on weeknights and all day Saturday and Sunday. Florida Blue would be responsible for garage maintenance.
As city-owned property, the site does not generate tax revenue. DIA officials expect the property, zoned Commercial Central Business District, to bring in $5.1 million over 20 years, or about $255,000 annually once in private ownership.
The project will free Florida Blue’s riverfront surface lot at 323 Riverside Ave. for development.
It was shown in an aerial photograph released by DIA in July as the intended site for the $145 million international headquarters of code-named Project Sharp.
The proposed parking deck is two blocks west of that.
Council approved a $29.9 million city and state-backed incentives package Sept. 10 for Sharp, which matches the needs of Jacksonville-based Fortune 500 company Fidelity National Information Services Inc.
That agreement states Sharp will maintain its existing 1,216 jobs in Jacksonville, which matches the FIS workforce.
Sharp will create 500 jobs with an annual average salary of $85,000 and build the estimated 300,000-square-foot headquarters office building.
By: Mike Mendenhall