I can’t stop thinking of collision density and changes to more urban areas, like Fernandina’s Historic District. When you see a small downtown area add a variety of uses or change zoning to encourage mixed use, in my opinion, there is a potential for adding value. Density aside, adding density to a property with existing structures can be a way to encourage redevelopment. In an older are, protected by historic guidelines, any remodel can be an unknown and expensive undertaking. Allowing more possibilities can make preservation and utilization of a space more feasible. Think about a second floor with zoning allowing office, retail or restaurant uses. The space, if used as an office, might allow 20 desks. Each desk could represent an employee and each employee might need a parking space. That same area, if used for apartment spaces, might only convert to 2 or 3 apartments. Each apartment might represent 1 to 2 cars. Lets be generous and call it a total of 6 vehicles. The times parking might be in demand, assuming these apartments are long term rentals or homes, would probably be after the 9 to 5 typical business day. So, two things happen. We create differe nt uses, with the potential to add value to existing business and add value to residential uses, often in high demand near a downtown commercial district. We also find added parking by changing the times a developed use might require space. Finally, we encourage preservation by offering a path toward choice. Limiting choices in the use of a historic property can actually make it more difficult to find buyers willing to invest in the preservation. Historic guidelines set limits, but too strictly limiting the kinds of use can sometimes turn away an owner willing to invest. Given, I’m thinking of buyers with an interest in living space or short term rental, but I’ve also watched buyer interest in older buildings shift to conversion of upstairs commercial space into residential space.
122 South 8th Street is in the middle of a changing part of 8th Street. Looking at surrounding property, consider the dramatic changes at the old Fred’s location when Buy-Go opened. Now, less than a block away, we’re probably going to see a true mixed use of the site with a healthy mix of residential and commercial uses. David’s recently reopened as the 801 Kitchen and T-Rays Burger Station has been poplar for as long as I can remember. Changing the density allowed in C-3 zoning and the overlay district leading toward downtown, MU8, I believe, should add to the changes happening in this previously overlooked, but transitioning area.
The old Pecan Roll is also zoned C-3 and has the potential for office, retail, food sales and even residential use as a part of the site. In walking distance to Center Street, the demand for walkable space is high. Offices, residential, retail or food is all possible and the “just reduced” price of $399,000, is attracting interest. Thinking of the lot size, 100’x100’, similar lots only blocks away are often 2-3 times this number.