Older rendering of the proposed Park Place at San Marco development from Alford Place.

Corner Lot Development Group and Harbert Realty Services have issued an amended Planned Unit Development (PUD) application for the apartment complex they hope to build on the current South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church property between Hendricks Avenue, Mitchell Avenue, Mango Place, and Alford Place in San Marco. These changes to the plans for the Park Place at San Marco development come following two months of pushback from a neighborhood organization, Right Size San Marco, and discussions with the San Marco Preservation Society and the San Marco Merchants Association.

The plans for an apartment development follow South Jacksonville Presbyterian’s decision to downsize into just its core buildings on Hendricks Avenue and develop the rest of their property. As the site is currently zoned for commercial use, the church and developers planned a PUD to allow for residential use instead. As initially proposed, Park Place would remove several structures on the property that the the church no longer needs and replace them with a multistory apartment complex, a parking garage, and amenities areas for residents. Initial plans called for 141 apartments and a three story garage; combined with new street parking, the plans called for 302 parking spaces for residents, churchgoers, and the public.

In the new plan, residential units once proposed for Mitchell Avenue have been eliminated. The parking garage will now face Mitchell Avenue.

Some San Marco residents had concerns about various aspects of the development, and in November 2019, Right Size San Marco formed to advance their position. One major concern was the height of the building along Mitchell Avenue, which faces the backs of several homes across the street. Other concerns included the size of the buildings, the potential increase in traffic, and the architecture. The church and developers subsequently entered discussion with Right Size San Marco as well as San Marco Preservation Society, the San Marco Merchants Association and various neighbors at a November town hall meeting.

In the amended plan, the height of the garage building facing Mitchell Avenue has been reduced, while the apartment building on Alford Place has increased.

On January 15, 2020, the developers submitted the amended PUD. SMPS shared the updated PUD written description and site plan exhibits on its website. The biggest change to the plan is the reduction of the height of the structure along Mitchell Avenue. Initial plans featured apartments along that stretch to mask the garage. In the new PUD, the structure along Mitchell Avenue has been reduced from 3 stories to 2, with the apartments removed and the garage now extending out to Mitchell. Combined with street parking, the new total number of parking spaces is 299. Additionally, the main apartment building has been raised from 35 feet to 49.5 feet to allow for more apartments; the total number of units has dropped from 143 to 133.

The latest proposed site plan for Park Place at San Marco.

Other changes include the increased setbacks for both the apartment building and garage, and more area for landscaping. Additionally, according to SMPS, “the architecture and appearance of the facade of the apartment building has changed,” although those changes are not finalized.

SMPS plans to issue an official statement in the future, and will host another neighborhood town hall to discuss the changes.

Article by Bill Delaney. Contact Bill at wdelaney@moderncities.com.