City broadens quest for interest in improving Amelia Riverfront and CRA properties

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
March 11, 2019 10:30 a.m.

The city via Fernandina Beach Main Street in late 2018 solicited expressions of interest in redeveloping the former Vuturo property, now owned by the city, at 101 North Front Street.  Only one response was received, which included plans for broader waterfront development.  Commissioners asked that the city manager reach out to a broader audience to solicit more expressions of interest to tackle the other waterfront projects identified in the only response to date.

Martin, with input from individual commissioners and city staff,  crafted a call for additional expressions of interest.  The request was posted on the city’s website March 8, 2019 and is provided below:

Waterfront Partnership

Through the City of Fernandina Beach’s Main Street organization, Expressions of Interest related to the use/redevelopment of a City-owned Amelia River waterfront property were solicited several months ago. Only one response was received, and that response was more expansive than the single parcel originally presented (an “unsolicited proposal”). That response has generated interest in a coordinated redevelopment effort for the City’s Amelia River waterfront (defined as all property from what is commonly referred to as Parking Lot D [inclusive] north to the Port of Fernandina [exclusive], from the Amelia River to 2nd Street). In accordance with applicable State statutes, City officials seek to determine the interest of other parties reflective of the initial unsolicited proposal.

Therefore, if interested, please answer the following questions (NOTE: it is not necessary to respond to all questions if interest is limited in scope). The response to each question should be limited to no more than a single-spaced, single-sided page (11-point font, one-inch margins). Responses (one original, six copies) are due to the City Manager, 204 Ash Street, Fernandina Beach, FL, 32034, no later than 4:00 PM, Friday, March 29, 2019.

1. Within the designated area, how do you envision the redevelopment/establishment of the shoreline to enhance resiliency, mitigate sea-level rise, minimize tidal flooding, and protect against storm surge?

2. What opportunities do you see for publicly- and privately-owned properties (vacant or otherwise available for redevelopment) to enhance this coordinated redevelopment, specifically regarding the historic context and scale of the area?

3. What role or use do you envision for existing City-owned structures? With its proximity to the waterfront, please also consider the redevelopment of the existing City Hall facility.

4. Please describe your funding capacity, both in access to private funding as well as federal, state, or regional grant funding? What City resources (staff, financial, or in-kind) will be needed for this effort to be successful?

Upon receipt, responses will be reviewed by the City Commission, with the intent to commence discussions with the selected party to establish a more formal relationship. The City Commission review (and possible selection) is anticipated to be on April 3, 2019.

If additional information is desired (including the coordination of a site visit), please contact Mr. Dale L. Martin, City Manager, (904) 310-3100, [email protected].

Thank you for your interest in the City of Fernandina Beach.

Suanne Thamm 4Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

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