The Queue, a 41-unit townhome development two blocks south of Main Street, is slated to become one of the first residential projects to break ground downtown since the real-estate market went bust.
Construction of the two- and three-story townhomes on a 2.2-acre vacant parcel of land between Ringling Boulevard and Morrill Street could begin as early as March, said Jim Bridges, CEO of Jebco Ventures, Inc.
Jebco Ventures, an Atlanta and Sarasota-based real-estate company, purchased the property in March. Jebco filed preliminary design plans with the city this month.
The townhome project meets the city’s zoning code, but the Planning Board and City Commission would have to approve technical developer requests before construction could begin, including: the city vacating ownership of two alleys and a plan to build a new drainage pipe under the project.
The Queue joins the Jewel, an 18-story condominium tower at 1301 Main St., and the Homes of Laurel Park, a 26-home project, as the first residential developments in several years in line for construction downtown.
At two-and-three stories in height, The Queue is a smaller scale project than the previous one proposed in 2007 for the same parcel. At that time, luxury condominium developer The Leonard Group unveiled The Atrium on Ringling, an octagonal, mixed-use 18-story tower rising above a rectangular base building surrounded by arcades. That project was never built.
Bridges is hopeful The Queue’s vastly different layout will meet the growing demand for downtown housing.
“In terms of ownership, not everyone wants to be in a high-rise,” said Bridges, a longtime commercial-and-residential developer.
In addition, Bridges said he thinks the “low-key” stance of the development will better fit in with the adjacent Laurel Park neighborhood.
According to Bridges, the development has already piqued early interest, including 14 possible reservations.
Although design work is still under way, Bridges described the townhome project’s architecture as urban modern, with lots of glass and an open look. The architecture was modeled, in part, after a recently completed mixed-use project in Lincoln Park, Ill., Chicago.
“It is very, very modern,” Bridges said of the design of The Queue, which he estimates is a $20 million project.
Locally, Jebco has built Family Dollar stores; the Lido Key condo townhomes Palazzi al Mare; and The Phoenix and Vista Bay Point communities. Bridges said the Palazzi al Mare — showcasing modern architecture with expansive glass and solar roof panels — reflects the prospective architectural design of The Queue.
The townhomes on Ringling Boulevard, offering individual units and ownership of the land, will also feature custom Italian cabinetry, garages and will be dog-friendly. Estimated price range is from the high $300,000s to $800,000. The units will range from 1,500 to 2,400 square feet under air conditioning and some will feature rooftop patios.
Bridges was drawn to the property at 1750 Ringling Blvd. because of its location between the busier center of downtown and quieter Laurel Park neighborhood, which seemed to make sense for a modern town-home development.
“Everything is here, yet it is a quiet part of downtown,” Bridges said. “It is just an exciting place to live.”
A public neighborhood workshop will be held in December to update neighbors on the project.