Author Topic: New life for Berkman II? Owners seeking Commercial CBD Rezone  (Read 60039 times)

thelakelander

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Re: New life for Berkman II? Owners seeking Commercial CBD Rezone
« Reply #375 on: March 12, 2019, 10:52:27 AM »
In general, something on the edge like Berkman II isn't making or breaking downtown. However, if something positive can happen there, efforts should certainly be made to get redevelopment off the ground.

However, $36 mill is a ton of money to toss on a risky project, so there's nothing wrong with vetting it and the group requesting the public to subsidize their hotel operation at the expense of other private businesses they'll be competing against. Seriously, what happens if the hotel, miniature amusement park and a ferris wheel next to a county jail go belly up? In reality, that's more likely to happen then tourist from all over flocking in.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

downtownbrown

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Re: New life for Berkman II? Owners seeking Commercial CBD Rezone
« Reply #376 on: March 12, 2019, 10:55:14 AM »
There are always reasons to do nothing.

thelakelander

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Re: New life for Berkman II? Owners seeking Commercial CBD Rezone
« Reply #377 on: March 12, 2019, 11:06:39 AM »
Vetting to make sure you don't lose your shirt and doing nothing are two different things. I'm not seeing the big issue here. It doesn't seem like anyone is saying kill the project. I actually wish they'd seriously vet more of the recent expenditures being tossed around in the name of downtown redevelopment.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

thelakelander

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Re: New life for Berkman II? Owners seeking Commercial CBD Rezone
« Reply #378 on: March 12, 2019, 11:12:45 AM »
Great examples of why nothing ever happens.  Danny Becton says we sound "desperate". The shell has been sitting there for 12 years with no one beating down the door.  Damn right we're desperate.

The more accurate answer is that we seriously don't know what we're doing. We've defied the logical approach to urban redevelopment for so many years and instead of taking note of how that negatively impacts things, we blanketly assume things sit decayed for over a decade because there's no market. As a result, we then get desperate by tossing god awful sums of public money at things that may not necessarily move the redevelopment needle one way or the other. Unfortunately, this has been a consistent pattern for decades. If we can take a step back and understand how local strategies and politics have a direct impact on facilitating or limiting our market rate opportunities, I think taxpayers and downtown would be better off and sites like Berkman II would not sit empty for decades.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

vicupstate

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Re: New life for Berkman II? Owners seeking Commercial CBD Rezone
« Reply #379 on: March 12, 2019, 02:23:57 PM »
$36 million is a lot of money (heck, you could buy and demolish TWO Jacksonville Landing's for that much). However, the bulk of the funds given would not be generated in the first place, without the project, and Jacksonville IS desperate. I would probably go forward with it with the condition that if it fails, the city gets complete title to the parking garage. A 630 space garage would cost most of the 18.5 million left anyway.  I would make sure this company had some substantial financial heft though. A recession can't be too far off.     

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DrQue

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Re: New life for Berkman II? Owners seeking Commercial CBD Rezone
« Reply #380 on: March 12, 2019, 03:41:03 PM »
I don't like subsidizing the resort's operations. Providing property tax relief and funds for a public parking deck/river walk expansion is one thing, but once the improvements are in place, the business should not rely on cash injections from the city's operating budget.

"Under the proposal, the city would give the developer a $3.25 million grant after the resort is built and pay a yearly subsidy for the hotel’s operation equal to 5 percent of its annual revenue. The city would subsidize the hotel for 15 years but would pay no more than $8.25 million. The subsidy would come from the city’s general fund."


thelakelander

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Re: New life for Berkman II? Owners seeking Commercial CBD Rezone
« Reply #381 on: March 12, 2019, 04:15:34 PM »
^Didn't we do something crazy like this with the courthouse, library and sports district parking garages over a decade ago that we're still paying millions on now?
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vicupstate

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Re: New life for Berkman II? Owners seeking Commercial CBD Rezone
« Reply #382 on: March 12, 2019, 04:27:29 PM »
^Didn't we do something crazy like this with the courthouse, library and sports district parking garages over a decade ago that we're still paying millions on now?

Yes. IIRC, the developer was guaranteed an 8% ROI. 
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DrQue

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Re: New life for Berkman II? Owners seeking Commercial CBD Rezone
« Reply #383 on: March 13, 2019, 03:06:10 PM »
At least we're consistent.

thelakelander

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Re: New life for Berkman II? Owners seeking Commercial CBD Rezone
« Reply #384 on: April 09, 2019, 01:56:26 PM »
Quote
Investor behind proposed Berkman II delinquent in taxes in New Orleans project

The head of the Mississippi-based development firm behind the proposed Berkman II redevelopment project, which could receive up to $36 million in public incentives, has ties to a struggling condominium project in New Orleans that owes more than $200,000 in delinquent property taxes and $79,000 in unpaid debts to contractors, according to public records.

Lori Stewart didn’t lead the presentation given to Jacksonville City Council members about the plans to transform the half-constructed Berkman II tower that sits along the river on downtown’s Bay Street into a destination hotel and amusement park, and her name wasn’t listed as part of the development team described in that presentation. Instead, she is the leader of the primary financial backer of the project, the Stewart Family Trust, and the development company that acts as its public face, Barrington Development.

Barrington Development lists several Mississippi hotels and resorts among its track record of success and says it has big plans for others in Biloxi, Miss. and Pensacola Beach. Absent from the news releases and PowerPoint presentations about the project: the Lake Vista condominiums.

Full article: https://www.jacksonville.com/news/20190408/investor-behind-proposed-berkman-ii-delinquent-in-taxes-in-new-orleans-project
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Tacachale

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Re: New life for Berkman II? Owners seeking Commercial CBD Rezone
« Reply #385 on: April 09, 2019, 02:23:34 PM »
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?


pierre

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Re: New life for Berkman II? Owners seeking Commercial CBD Rezone
« Reply #387 on: April 10, 2019, 07:52:18 AM »
What is the least level of surprised someone can be?


thelakelander

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Re: New life for Berkman II? Owners seeking Commercial CBD Rezone
« Reply #389 on: April 12, 2019, 01:30:08 PM »
^This is what a dose of reality will do to such projects. It also further points to why it would be a good idea to have a downtown master plan and identified vision for what the city wants to see with its parcels and an identified timeline for incremental implementation. Seems like actually determining what can and can't be done with the shipyards property (and at what cost) is in order. Maybe it should be the "front lawn" some want, assuming that means you don't have to dig up and deal with whatever is under there?
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali