Council Approves Incentives for Riverside Park Project

December 12, 2012 11 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

On Tuesday night, the Jacksonville City Council approved four bills that Mayor Alvin Brown championed to help create jobs and boost economic opportunity in our community, including incentives for a major Brooklyn redevelopment project.

First, the City Council passed 2012-703, a measure that authorizes the Riverside Park development through two economic redevelopment agreements between the City and Pope & Land Jax Riverside LP. This public-private partnership will redevelop a portion of the Brooklyn neighborhood in Downtown Jacksonville while generating 247 jobs, improving infrastructure and increasing ad valorem revenue by a net of $10 million over 20 years. The project will create approximately 300 housing units in a community fronting Park Street in Brooklyn, along with 65,000 square feet of retail space along Riverside Avenue.
Second, the Council passed 2012-213, which makes Jacksonville more competitive by streamlining the City’s economic development process. The law will reduce the amount of time required for companies to work with the City to create jobs in Jacksonville. Through the new law, job creation packages with a financial impact to the City of less than $300,000 may be approved by City Council after one reading. Those packages with a financial impact of more than $300,000 may be approved in two readings.
Third, the City Council passed 2012-674, which empowers the City to better manage its parking assets and policies. This legislation will give the City more flexibility to negotiate long-term agreements that encourage companies to locate Downtown.
Fourth, the City Council passed 2012-682, through which the City will partner with L&J Diesel – a locally-owned small business on Jacksonville’s Westside – to help the company create jobs through the manufacture of automotive diagnostic equipment.
“As Mayor, I am partnering with the business community and City Council to improve the City’s economic development process and take advantage of economic opportunities so we can create jobs and make Jacksonville more competitive,” said Mayor Brown. “I commend the Council for passing these bills, which will help to boost our economy and revitalize Downtown.”
Specific to Riverside Park, estimated private investment ranges up to $50.5 million. Per the legislation, the city would put up $1.8 million to improve infrastructure near the Park/Riverside project site and would authorize $5.15 million in Recapture Enhanced Value (Rev) Grants. The project would generate nearly $17.8 million in new tax revenue, which would more than cover the cost of debt service and Rev Grant reimbursements to gain $10 million in new revenue for the City.
Expected benefits of the project are numerous:
The City projects a net gain of ad valorem revenue of $10 million over 20 years while improving 11 acres in a blighted area, increasing property values and enhancing the urban core.
The private investment is expected to create 247 jobs at the housing and retail complexes, along with numerous other temporary contracting jobs through project construction.

The residential portion of the project will provide attractive housing options for employees working in the Riverside Avenue corridor.
Stormwater infrastructure improvements are expected to prevent flooding and pollution into McCoy’s Creek and the St. Johns River from the project area.
Riverside Park will become neighbor to the 220 Riverside project, a $30 million investment that broke ground in November at Riverside Avenue and Jackson Street. Developer Hallmark Partners is working with the help of $4.9 million in Rev Grants on plans to build 294 residential units ranging between 600 and 1,200 square feet along with 16,500 square feet of retail space. An adjacent public park about the size of a football field will be the adequate size to program festival-style entertainment or provide enough green space to accommodate roughly 1,000 people.

Source: City of Jacksonville