Author Topic: DT may be the hardest hit in Jacksonville — but it might not have hit bottom  (Read 1123 times)

thelakelander

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Among the challenges facing downtown:

Quote
- City-run parking lots and garages downtown have lost nearly 1,000 commuters, including more than 600 at just the TIAA Bank building.

- The Courthouse, Arena and Sports Complex garages – privately owned but city-funded – are expected to lose $5 million, an increase of about $1 million from the garages' usual annual loss, due to canceled events.

- The Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront has laid off nearly 200 employees – 120 of them permanently. The hotel is forecasting a slow return to pre-Covid levels.

- TIAA, whose banking subsidiary is a major downtown office tenant and the namesake of the Jaguars' stadium, has offered buyouts to about 75% of its employees, although it is unknown how many of those will be in Jacksonville.

- In May, the city slowed down DIA's procurement bids, shelving a parks planning solicitation and requiring city approval for future solicitations. DIA was also asked to keep its budget flat in the next fiscal year, which begins in October.

Full article: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2020/06/16/dia-downtown-covid-impact-incentives-wait.html?iana=hpmvp_jac_news_headline
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bl8jaxnative

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To be clear, TIAA has extended a buyout offer to 75% of it's employees.  They're saying they expect @5% to take it. 

What they're not saying is what sort of cost cutting measures they'll take after that. 

Ken_FSU

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Omni wants out of Downtown Jacksonville.

https://www.travelweekly.com/Travel-News/Hotel-News/Omni-considers-selling-several-properties

Hopefully they find a good suitor.

There was a lot of very serious talk during the pandemic that the hotel might not even reopen.

MusicMan

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I would think the Omni would sell pretty fast, as they do not have a lot of competition outside of the Hyatt.

thelakelander

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I'd love to see Omni become a Marriott property. I'd also love to see the ground floor redesigned. That block is about as bad as it gets at street level. I'd argue the limited visibility of the street level retail is a negative to both the Omni property and Enterprise Center next door.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Steve

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I'd love a Marriott property. Westin is actually a name that I think would do good in this market - upscale and modern but not over the top like a Ritz or Four Seasons.

I completely agree about the ground floor - thank you 1980s for giving us that. Ideally they could get together with the ownership of Enterprise Center and do something together. At a minimum make the employee entrance (which is the best entrance) the restaurant/bar.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2020, 11:52:16 AM by Steve »

thelakelander

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^Definitely agree about the employee entrance. The bottom floor of Enterprise Center would also benefit from transparent windows. It has a decent lobby space fronting Hogan Street that's been vacant for years now.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

jaxlongtimer

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This furthers my thesis about Khan backing off on his Shipyard development plans.  Hotels are going to be a long time recovering from COVID between their own inherent risks and the risks of traveling to them, particularly by air/train/ship.  The Omni here likely relied mostly on business travelers who fly in so not positioned well under current circumstances.  A bad time to own a hotel in a downtown area.  I note that Omni is closing the Omni Berkshire in NYC.  I have stayed there twice, once as a child when it was an independent hotel and once under Omni's ownership.  It's a good location so I think closing it reflects just how hard NYC is being hit, which, again, doesn't bode well for much lesser downtowns, like ours.

It appears Omni wants to move toward more convention/group related business and their purchase of Amelia Island Plantation follows that direction.

Despite desires for an upscale brand to take it over, I am going to guess we get a more mid-level flag.  I just don't think Jacksonville attracts enough high end travelers outside of infrequent special events and without more tourism.  With Downtown's lack of activity and, now, COVID, I just don't see that.  It's enough to support the near 1,000 room Hyatt (which has had its own struggles going back to its original flag, the Adams Mark).


Steve

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That's why if Marriott I was thinking Westin. Marriott's brands:



For context, The Southbank Hotel is now a part of Delta hotels. Given that there's full kitchen, meeting room space, etc, it would have to at least be a "Premium" on Marriott's chart.  Definitely out are Marriott Vacation Club, Delta, Le Meridien, Renaissance, Autograph Collection, Tribute, Design, and Gaylord for various reasons. Sheraton seems unlikely as I'm not sure even Marriott knows what they're doing with the brand. That leaves Marriott or Westin.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2020, 12:31:22 PM by Steve »

MusicMan

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"A Loft?" Stayed in one in Atlanta near Ga Tech and it would work there.

Steve

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"A Loft?" Stayed in one in Atlanta near Ga Tech and it would work there.

Aloft is the "Select" version of a W. The key from a brand is aloft doesn't have a full kitchen, where the Omni does. That's the main difference between "Select" and "Premium" - food and beverage/catering for events. A W is considered a "Luxury" property (your miles may vary on that one but that's where Marriott slots it), and I can't think of a single market that has a W and not a Westin. I feel like Marriott uses that as a bit of a barometer as both have modern finishes; the W is just a little more "clubby" modern. W is another brand that wasn't doing well before the pandemic.

Ken_FSU

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Back under new ownership  ;D

Retained a lot of recipes and menu items from the OGs.