Sunday, June 26, 2011

Goodbye empty lot!

By this time tomorrow, this view should look different. After months of planning, Insetta Family Properties will break ground on this vacant property to begin construction of the building that will house the newest culinary offering from Black Sheep Restaurant Group.

As this portion of the project begins, so does another - earnest restaurant planning. Menus, wine lists, and staff. Interior design, chairs, tables and barstools. Plates, silverware and every detail down to the bathroom hand soap. The fun part!

One thing that won't be a part of the landscape soon are the power poles and associated lines you see below. Collaborating with JEA, we've worked to remove existing poles and lines as well as ensure that new ones won't be part of the changes to neighborhood. We couldn't be more excited about that part.

As originally proposed, the additional parking on the East side of Oak Street was approved and we are moving forward with building those 11 spaces. Thank you to 1661 Riverside, 800 Lomax and the McIver Institute for working with us and the city to ensure that not only will it be built, but landscaped, lit and maintained appropriately.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Three Cheers for 5 Points

HB 1009 passes and is signed by the Governor,

After many months and even more steps, HB 1009, which decreases regulations on a "bona fide" restaurant's ability to provide full service to the neighbors and visitors of 5 Points passed.

More specifically, it gave smaller restaurants in 5 Points the ability to serve a full bar during dining hours. We would like to thank all involved for their assistance, large or small, in getting this legislation through the process and passed.

Despite the comment trolls' inference on's article, this bill passed easily through the House, Senate and was signed by the Governor because of it's economic development potential, it's bi-partisan support (sponsor McBurney (R) and co-sponsor Jones (D)), and it's overwhelming support by the neighborhood businesses, residents and prevailing neighborhood association (RAP). We do not know Gov. Scott nor did we ask special favors from him to sign this bill, but his support did go up 0.000005% with that signature.

This legislation should be one more reason for potential businesses to invest in and become a part of Riverside. We hope it will help 5 Points', part of Jacksonville's Original Town Center, ability to compete with the burgeoning suburban mega centers by promoting infill development and reuse of existing historic structures.

We also hope that it will allow more flexibility to existing restaurants to use the spaces that were once woefully dedicated to the "required seating" use those areas to better benefit their businesses and the neighborhood as a whole.