JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- It's the neighborhood that connects Downtown and Riverside. It's got rich history, a vibrant past, and will soon get a breath of fresh air. Brooklyn.
"What we're trying to do here is create a real sense of place. An iconic sense of community for Jacksonville," developer Alex Coley said.
Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Alvin Brown, alongside developers, broke ground on 220 Riverside. The mixed-use development will include 294 apartments, retail shops and a large community park. Approximately the size of a football field, the park will accommodate more than 1,000 people and support more than 250 days of programming and special events throughout the year.
Mayor Brown says it's the start of something great.
"This is how you really grow the community, strengthen the neighborhood, take Jacksonville to the next level," he said.
Helen Davis has spent the past 20 years in Brooklyn. She believes the project will give the blighted area renewed hope and pride.
"I think that it will be very nice. Just what this community needs, something different," she said.
220 Riverside is expected to increase downtown residency by 15 percent. It's plan is modeled after developments in cities like New York, Boston, Portland and Charlotte. Leaders say when it's all said and done, it will be a space everyone can be proud of.
"We call this community home and we want to see it flourish," Coley said.
220 Riverside is expected to cost about $40 million. The rental proceeds from the retail portion will fund ongoing park maintenance and operational expenses.
Construction is expected to take 20 months. The grand opening is slated for August 2014.