NAIOP Announces Downtown Revitalization Platform

March 10, 2011 20 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

NAIOP of Northeast Florida, the region's commercial real estate authority and trade association, announces its Downtown Revitalization Platform, which includes strategies and tactics to improve the urban core's landscape, infrastructure and economy.

“As a city and community, we are entering an important year when downtown Jacksonville should be a top priority and focus for the city’s new mayor and leadership team,” said Wyman Duggan, Vice President of Public Affairs for NAIOP of Northeast Florida. “As the region’s commercial real estate organization, we believe it is vital to provide thoughtful strategies and practical tactics to add to the discussion about downtown’s future development and revitalization. It is our hope that the current mayoral candidates and future city leaders take our ideas into consideration and utilize the strategies in the platform to create a vibrant, successful downtown.”

NAIOP of Northeast Florida’s Downtown Revitalization Platform recommends that city leadership:

* Establish a single purpose entity dedicated to Downtown revitalization, with jurisdiction over permitting approvals and economic and regulatory incentives.

* Focus on and incentivize basic property management in Downtown. (Examples: Stringent code enforcement combined with tax rebates for property owners who improve their property.)

* Require all city-sponsored events to occur Downtown, where feasible, as a condition of sponsorship.

* “Amenitize” Downtown infrastructure. (Examples: Parking incentives, increased landscaping, use Shipyards as a public recreation and open space until it develops.)

* Develop incentive programs that incentivize job creation and growth of the tax base in Downtown through non-speculative projects.

Effective implementation of this strategy would focus on the following actions:

* Require that TIF funds be spent in the district in which they are collected, and that unspent funds in a calendar year not be returned to the general fund, but “banked” until needed. Additionally, all parking meter funds and ticket revenue should be exclusive to the Northbank.

* Define and limit Northbank core to Broad Street on west to Liberty Street on east and Duval Street on north. Limit incentives to this area or offer enhanced incentives for the area.

* Provide free parking in city garages for two years for new businesses (minimum of 20 employees) that enter a five-year lease in Northbank core. Fifty percent discount in city garages for two years for businesses that extend existing leases for five years (minimum of 20 employees).

* Rebate to tenants 50 percent of cost of facade improvements up to $25,000. Improvements can include: storefront/entranceway, renovations, new signs, awnings, window/door replacements and lighting upgrades.

* Provide a walking police beat in the Northbank core area from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday for added security.

* Create a designated retail core area of Laura Street to Market Street and Bay Street to Adams Street. New retailers should receive:

o Facade grants
o Extended hours of walking police beat for this area to 2 a.m., including Saturdays
o Two dedicated ambassadors from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for targeted areas
o No parking meter enforcement from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for targeted areas
o Flexibility on signage
o Allow and provide incentives for outdoor seating

* Convert all parking meters to two hours and allow for multiple forms of payment.

* Require all garages/lots to provide clear signage alerting public to hourly/daily availability and cost. Signage should be consistent 45” high “A” frame sign (cost under $100).

* Advertise that all city garages are free on weekends and after 6 p.m. on weekdays.

* Enforce existing code requirements for landscaping and maintenance on surface lots.

* Designate one person in the Mayor’s office that companies can go to to resolve parking issues.

* Aggressively price and advertise city lots/garages to incentivize employers/employees:

o San Marco Garage/Skyway - $10/month
o Convention Center Lots/Skyway - $10/month
o Water Street Garage/Courthouse Garage - $20/month
o Sports Complex/Trolley – Free

“We believe downtown Jacksonville has tremendous potential to be a great city center and we are looking forward to participating in the conversations and actions needed to move in the right direction,” Duggan said. “NAIOP believes 2011 will be the year Jacksonville turns the corner on downtown’s revitalization.”

About NAIOP of Northeast Florida

NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, is the leading organization for developers, owners and related professionals in office, industrial and mixed-use real estate. NAIOP comprises 15,000 members in North America. NAIOP advances responsible commercial real estate and advocates for effective public policy.

NAIOP of Northeast Florida is the commercial real estate authority representing the greater Jacksonville, Fla., market. More information about NAIOP of Northeast Florida is available at or by calling (904) 730-8075.