Editorial by Ennis Davis, AICP

Ambassador Hotel

Associated with St. Augustine-based Augustine Development Group, Axis Hotels, LLC. intends to renovate and restore the former Ambassador Hotel into a $15 million, 127-room La Quinta Inn and Suites boutique hotel with a rooftop bar. The hotel will be managed by Integrity Hospitality. Interior demolition one the project is complete and work is anticipated to be done in conjunction with the redevelopment of the adjacent Independent Life Building.

Ashley Square

Construction has begun to transform a 1.02-acre surface parking lot at the northwest corner of East Ashley and Newnan Streets into an affordable housing development for residents aged 62 years old and up. A joint venture between Tampa-based Blue Sky Communities, LLC. and Aging True, the $15 million project will include the construction of a six-story, 120 unit residential structure and 160-space parking garage.

Bread & Board Provisions

The Bread & Board’s expansion continues with a third new restaurant planned for the 7,200 square foot retail space in the bottom floor of 100 West Bay Street, part of VyStar Credit Union’s corporate headquarters. The new restaurant will be joined by a brand new concept: a specialty market called Bread & Board Provisions, which will feature stalls for a selection of local retailers and eateries.

Bread & Board Provisions will combine elements of a public market and a food hall, creating a new option for Downtown residents, workers and visitors. Announced retailers include Good Dough donut shop, Alewife Craft Beer Bottle Shop, Bee Friends Farm honey, Layered: Cakes & Sweets, Martin Coffee, local produce purveyor Saturiwa Trading Company, and Bark Urban Dog Boutique.

The restaurant will occupy approximately 5,000 square feet of the retail space on the ground floor, with the remaining 2,200 hosting the marketplace. The marketplace “will feel uniquely Florida in its design and ambiance,” according to the press release, with reclaimed local wood, a coastal-inspired color palate, and communal seating along with typical restaurant tables. A breezeway outside the building will accommodate outdoor seating, and the space will include a large kitchen for lunch traffic and catering orders.

Dennis + Ives

Located just west of Downtown Jacksonville, 95 Arch Partners QOZ Fund LLC have big plans for an 85,000 square foot former cold storage warehouse complex that originated during the late 1890s as the Florida Ice Manufacturing Company. Construction is underway on plans to convert the cold storage complex into a mix of uses, possibly including creative office, craft brewery or distillery, cafe, restaurant and outdoor event space. Named for the cross streets of Dennis and Ives, conceptual plans prepared by Jacksonville-based Design/Cooperative LLC. also include plans for a small food hall. The first phase, focusing on the office tenant spaces, could be completed as early as the third quarter of 2021.

The District

Initially proposed in 2014, plans for The District project on the Southbank are finally taking a visible step forward. Dallas-based Preston Hollow Capital intends to break ground on the 32-acre project by the end of March. The first phase of construction will involve the building of in-ground infrastructure such as streets, drainage and utilities on the site of JEA’s former Southside Generation Station. While no horizontal development projects have been announced, long term plans allow for 950 residential units, 147 hotel rooms, 134,000 square feet of retail space, 200,000 square feet of office space and a 125-slip marina.