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Changing the landscape in downtown Jacksonville

Municipal electric company JEA is negotiating with developers Peter Rummell and Michael Balanky after they won the bid for 28.6 acres on the Southbank where an electric power plant once stood. They have unveiled plans for a project called Healthy Town, a multi-use community with more than 1,000 residences, up to 150,000 square feet in retail and restaurant space and possibly a hotel, against the backdrop of the St. Johns River and the Riverwalk.

Balanky calls the site "the most important piece of real estate in Jacksonville" and says its development will spur not only the Southbank, but all of downtown Jacksonville.

Across the river is the Shipyard property, which stretches from downtown to Everbank Field. Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan has expressed an interest in becoming the master developer for the city-owned property, which encompasses 80 acres. Jaguars President Mark Lamping says Khan expects to submit his ideas soon; they will likely include a mix of housing, retail, restaurants and bars, a hotel and marina and some sort of attraction, Lamping says.

Rummell and Balanky, who formed Elements Development of Jacksonville, say their Healthy Town is a new concept aimed at "a growing market of all ages, both single and married, families and retirees," who are looking for a living environment that integrates elements and amenities that promote health.

The development will produce $8 million a year in ad valorem taxes to the city, Balanky says.

Both the Elements bid and the bid of Atlanta-based RocaPoint Partners were below the $35.6-million market value listed on property records. Elements bid $17.39 million, while RocaPoint bid $11.56 million for the JEA site, located next to the Duval County Board of Education building. If Elements and the electric company can agree on a contract, it will come back to the JEA board for approval, says Gerri Boyce, a JEA spokeswoman.


Ben Rosenfeld has been appointed CEO of Body Central, taking the place of retiring Brian Woolf. Rosen field was most recently vice president of store operations for Kenneth Cole Productions.

Howard Halle, who headed Wells Fargo's commercial banking in Florida, retired at the end of the year after almost a 40-year career with the company. A search for his successor is under way.

Audrey Moran, senior vice president for social responsibility and community advocacy at Baptist Health, has been selected by the JAX Chamber board of directors as the 2016 chamber chair. University of North Florida President John Delaney will serve as chair for 2015.


Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops

Stephen DiMare, owner of Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops, says he got into the business after talking with a woman on a flight home to Florida from Montana, where he had been working in a hotel. He told her about his plans to open a coffee shop in St. Augustine. The woman suggested that he sell Mexican ice pops instead since he lived in Florida.

DiMare now operates five ice pop stores in St. Augustine — where the company was started two years ago — and Gainesville and will open another shop this spring in the Riverside section of Jacksonville. His goal is to be in every major Florida city. Several grocery chains and ice cream shops in Florida and Georgia sell his product.

JACKSONVILLE — Citizens Property Insurance is making plans to move 950 jobs from the suburbs to the EverBank Center. Citizens wants to consolidate its four offices in Jacksonville in the downtown office building. The 28-story Riverplace Tower has been purchased by Lingerfelt Commonwealth Partners of Richmond, Va., for $29 million from Gate Petroleum, which owned it for more than two decades. Shipments of containers through the Port of Jacksonville have grown more than 20% year over year, from 226,938 20-foot-long containers to 272,524. Asian container trade grew from 24% of the port's container cargo business in 2013 to about 30% in 2014. > The Jacksonville Jaguars and the city have applied for a state program that would let them recoup $30 million in sales taxes paid as part of renovations to EverBank Field. Applications were also submitted by Daytona International Speedway, the Miami Dolphins for Sun Life Stadium and Orlando for a stadium to house a Major League Soccer expansion franchise. Dolphin Dorms took out a $9.55-million mortgage for the construction of a three-wing, four-story dormitory project just north of the Jacksonville University campus. The company paid $860,000 in late June for 4.88 acres.

GAINESVILLE — Developers broke ground on a five-story student Housing development at Innovation Square near the University of Florida. Bras field & Gorrie is teaming with developer Signet Development and architect Perkins+Will on the $15.5-million project, which will be completed in 2015. Infinity Hall will include four stories of student residences, an entertainment room, meeting rooms and fexible spaces.

ST. AUGUSTINE — The St. Johns County Commission has unanimously approved a 20-year contract with Nopetro for a compressed natural gas fueling station and related services. The fueling station will serve private commercial feets and the public, generating royalties for the county. The North Florida Transportation Planning Organization will provide more than $730,000, and the county is also eligible for a $250,000 annual grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture, Office of Energy.

WHITE SPRINGS — Federal officials have reached an agreement with a fertilizer company that owns plants in White Springs and two other states requiring the company to spend about $50 million to improve air-pollution controls. The settlement with Potash of Saskatchewan, Canada, was sparked by complaints that White Springs Agricultural Chemicals and two subsidiaries in Louisiana and North Carolina violated the Clean Air Act at plants that make sulfuric acid. In addition to the improvements, plant owners must pay a $1.3-million fine.

Boeing has been awarded a $25.3-million modifcation to a previously awarded contract for work on the FA-18 Super Hornet aircraft.