Author Topic: A Northbank renaissance in the making  (Read 20430 times)

thelakelander

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Re: A Northbank renaissance in the making
« Reply #45 on: March 21, 2023, 06:28:23 PM »
What's your definition of a "true" win for the Northbank? I'd say the completing the cluster of adaptive reuse projects just northwest of city hall is a true win in the works right now. Combined, those projects will bring more residential units and retail square footage online within the next few years than anything else on the urban core's radar, along with some true old school density. Some of those buildings, like the Florida Baptist Convention, have sat vacant for 30-40 years. There's some infill proposed with these projects that will only add more density and beef up the skyline as well.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

landfall

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Re: A Northbank renaissance in the making
« Reply #46 on: March 21, 2023, 09:05:29 PM »
There definitely is a problem here of beggars not being choosers so we go and risk it with small timers like Spandrel or Southeast who have more renderings than actual projects. There was no excuse with the Ford on Bay this time however. We literally had the largest owner of apartments in the United States as one of the bidders, you can't get anymore legitimate than that. All we are missing is a clown car monorail like in that Simpsons episode. Oh wait hold on....

jaxlongtimer

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Re: A Northbank renaissance in the making
« Reply #47 on: March 22, 2023, 12:35:47 AM »
You've suggested this a number of times before, and personally it's getting a little confusing when we are already attempting to spend quite an amount of money on park space, and clearly struggling to gather all of the needed funds and operational ability to do so. Between Metro Park, Shipyards West Park (including the Naval Museum), the new MOSH and the park space next to that, the expansion of the Northbank Riverwalk, the Riverfront Plaza Park, the Music Commons Park, the McCoys Creek Park, Gefen Park next to FIS, the Riverside Arts Market Park, the Artist Walk Park, the St. Johns River Park where MOSH currently is, and the new park at RiversEdge, and the Southbank Riverwalk extension, we are building or upgrading a lot of parks.

That's before you even start talking about the Emerald Trail or Hogan's Creek or Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing or any of the other major park projects in the urban core, and that all comes on top of already having the largest urban park system in the country, much of which needs improvement anyway. You've treated this for some time like we're somehow not doing anything to create or improve park space in Jacksonville, which seems pretty contrary to the facts on the ground. Heck, we already did pretty much what you asked for by tearing down the Landing and rededicating most of it to signature park space, something we are still struggling to actually bring to completion after 4 years since starting to do so! Or McCoys Creek Park, where we're even relocating the mouth of the creek to better serve as a central point for the park. Lori Boyer is pretty open if you ask that the former City Hall Annex site is going to be park space for events pretty much indefinitely.

There's a lot of work that a lot of public money is already trying to satisfy your vision with and you don't seem to have any sense of satisfaction about it. I can't seem to figure out what is actually an acceptable amount of urban park space for you, especially in the context that this is still ultimately supposed to be an urban neighborhood with offices and restaurants and amenities and housing and infrastructure.

Here are some of my points on why we need to preserve as much river frontage and depth for parks as we can, now:

1. A lot of "smaller" parks, as listed in your post, is not the same as contiguous acreage making up one larger park with more wide open/natural/passive use spaces uninterrupted by substantial buildings/development.  The Emerald Trail is fantastic but it is a different type of green space, more of a green connector/pathway.
 
2. Compared to many cities our largest contiguous acreage for any green space Downtown is a mere pittance.  20 to 40 acres at the Shipyards doesn't compare to a hundred to hundreds of acres many cities have at their heart.

3. We are only the largest urban park system in the country because we have the largest City limits in the mainland US and the Timucuan Preserve single handedly accounts for a disproportionate part of our park system acreage.

4. I don't know many citizens who think there is ever too much green space other than developers who never saw land they didn't want to build on.  Green space is a critical component to quality of life for many.

5. Green space also is needed to exploit the value of our natural environment including the river and flora and fauna.  It is what gives our corner of the world its character.

6. If Jacksonville continues on its growth trajectory, we will have millions more people here over the next decades and green space to support those numbers will be ever harder to obtain or retrieve, if at all.  Further, a larger population will expect the City to host ever larger events/gatherings that will rival past events such as the Super Bowl where public space (over half of that slated for development) was required to host outdoor events for hundreds of thousands at once.  We will be hard pressed to do so with broken up parcels and lesser acreage of the larger parcels.

7. There are plenty of successful urban districts with green space at their heart.  Look no further than Central Park in Manhattan.  With the view expressed in the quoted post, no one would have approved the creation of Central Park.  Who would want to live in much of Manhattan without Central Park?  Is that enough for NYC?  No, they are now building out a greenbelt around the entire island of Manhattan along their waterfront.  It demonstrates that green space is an economic development driver, not the opposite.

8. Large parks are needed to promote more Downtown living.  If you want a pickup football, basketball, soccer, volleyball or softball game, you need bigger parks.  The same for a dog park or to fly a kite or drone.  And, the same if you want to jog or bike a few miles close to where you live while also hosting a nice sized marina, riverwalk, gardens, public art, a water feature, food venues, bathrooms, passive spaces amongst an urban forest, etc.

9.  Green space along the river is an entirely different and more pleasing aesthetic than buildings, especially multistory ones.

10. Green space provides a resiliency buffer as it is all-but-certain the river is going to be flooding is banks going forward.  Building in this flood plain is insanity.  It is also a heat-sink and helps purify/oxygenate the urban air.

11.  As long as there is an ROI that exceeds other project ROI's, there should be no shortage of investable funds in parks.  This City has, or is, spending over $400 million on AV's, $50 million on tearing down the Hart Bridge Ramp, $20 to $50 million with no claw back on UF's mystery project, $25 million to create Lenny's Lawn (that's on the Mayor's incompetence, not on parks), hundreds of millions for a Four Seasons that few expect to benefit much of the urban core, millions more for developments that never seem to come out of the ground, perhaps $750 million to over a billion on the future stadium improvements, tens of millions for the stadium's previous improvements including scoreboards, millions on legal fees fighting the school board referendum and dealing with JEA's sale, millions or tens of millions kicking the pension fund down the road for the Mayor's political expediency, giving millions away to City Council's favored non-profits and business friends from Federal COVID dollars, forfeiting tens of millions not raising the garbage fee, forfeiting hundreds of millions with a too-low property tax rate, etc.  And, many of these projects were never in a long range plan and often are funded on an ad hoc basis.

12. This isn't about today, tomorrow or even 5 years out.  This is thinking far beyond, decades and even a hundred years out.  The #1 issue with this City is it has no coherent, well thought-out long term plan for land use that is adhered to over such long periods.  Such a plan would address my concerns, most certainly.  As the adage does, the trees we enjoy today were planted long before we were born.  It is up to us to plant such trees for the people of tomorrow.

Bottom line, urban parks are critical to the future success of Downtown and we remain well short of what we need to do.  And, if we want parks, we can find the dollars.  It's about priorities, the will, planning, visioning and execution based on robust leadership.  Jacksonville is in short supply on every count.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2023, 12:43:36 AM by jaxlongtimer »

Jax_Developer

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Re: A Northbank renaissance in the making
« Reply #48 on: March 22, 2023, 01:14:56 AM »
What's your definition of a "true" win for the Northbank? I'd say the completing the cluster of adaptive reuse projects just northwest of city hall is a true win in the works right now. Combined, those projects will bring more residential units and retail square footage online within the next few years than anything else on the urban core's radar, along with some true old school density. Some of those buildings, like the Florida Baptist Convention, have sat vacant for 30-40 years. There's some infill proposed with these projects that will only add more density and beef up the skyline as well.

I mean ground up new construction. Agreed those are great projects. Banks will likely underwrite those deals differently than true ground up. There needs to be a new “riverfront” (or close to) Northbank property essentially.. I do think the RISE project helps that guesstimating. The projects in Brooklyn & the Southbank essentially serve as the definitive caps to any valuation for the northbank. (Which makes this difficult)  Those areas seem to be going 8-ish stories right now. In theory Northbank can’t support similar ground-up density. Hopefully that makes sense.

thelakelander

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Re: A Northbank renaissance in the making
« Reply #49 on: March 22, 2023, 07:39:55 AM »
You've suggested this a number of times before, and personally it's getting a little confusing when we are already attempting to spend quite an amount of money on park space, and clearly struggling to gather all of the needed funds and operational ability to do so. Between Metro Park, Shipyards West Park (including the Naval Museum), the new MOSH and the park space next to that, the expansion of the Northbank Riverwalk, the Riverfront Plaza Park, the Music Commons Park, the McCoys Creek Park, Gefen Park next to FIS, the Riverside Arts Market Park, the Artist Walk Park, the St. Johns River Park where MOSH currently is, and the new park at RiversEdge, and the Southbank Riverwalk extension, we are building or upgrading a lot of parks.

That's before you even start talking about the Emerald Trail or Hogan's Creek or Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing or any of the other major park projects in the urban core, and that all comes on top of already having the largest urban park system in the country, much of which needs improvement anyway. You've treated this for some time like we're somehow not doing anything to create or improve park space in Jacksonville, which seems pretty contrary to the facts on the ground. Heck, we already did pretty much what you asked for by tearing down the Landing and rededicating most of it to signature park space, something we are still struggling to actually bring to completion after 4 years since starting to do so! Or McCoys Creek Park, where we're even relocating the mouth of the creek to better serve as a central point for the park. Lori Boyer is pretty open if you ask that the former City Hall Annex site is going to be park space for events pretty much indefinitely.

There's a lot of work that a lot of public money is already trying to satisfy your vision with and you don't seem to have any sense of satisfaction about it. I can't seem to figure out what is actually an acceptable amount of urban park space for you, especially in the context that this is still ultimately supposed to be an urban neighborhood with offices and restaurants and amenities and housing and infrastructure.

Here are some of my points on why we need to preserve as much river frontage and depth for parks as we can, now:

1. A lot of "smaller" parks, as listed in your post, is not the same as contiguous acreage making up one larger park with more wide open/natural/passive use spaces uninterrupted by substantial buildings/development.  The Emerald Trail is fantastic but it is a different type of green space, more of a green connector/pathway.
 
2. Compared to many cities our largest contiguous acreage for any green space Downtown is a mere pittance.  20 to 40 acres at the Shipyards doesn't compare to a hundred to hundreds of acres many cities have at their heart.

3. We are only the largest urban park system in the country because we have the largest City limits in the mainland US and the Timucuan Preserve single handedly accounts for a disproportionate part of our park system acreage.

4. I don't know many citizens who think there is ever too much green space other than developers who never saw land they didn't want to build on.  Green space is a critical component to quality of life for many.

5. Green space also is needed to exploit the value of our natural environment including the river and flora and fauna.  It is what gives our corner of the world its character.

6. If Jacksonville continues on its growth trajectory, we will have millions more people here over the next decades and green space to support those numbers will be ever harder to obtain or retrieve, if at all.  Further, a larger population will expect the City to host ever larger events/gatherings that will rival past events such as the Super Bowl where public space (over half of that slated for development) was required to host outdoor events for hundreds of thousands at once.  We will be hard pressed to do so with broken up parcels and lesser acreage of the larger parcels.

7. There are plenty of successful urban districts with green space at their heart.  Look no further than Central Park in Manhattan.  With the view expressed in the quoted post, no one would have approved the creation of Central Park.  Who would want to live in much of Manhattan without Central Park?  Is that enough for NYC?  No, they are now building out a greenbelt around the entire island of Manhattan along their waterfront.  It demonstrates that green space is an economic development driver, not the opposite.

8. Large parks are needed to promote more Downtown living.  If you want a pickup football, basketball, soccer, volleyball or softball game, you need bigger parks.  The same for a dog park or to fly a kite or drone.  And, the same if you want to jog or bike a few miles close to where you live while also hosting a nice sized marina, riverwalk, gardens, public art, a water feature, food venues, bathrooms, passive spaces amongst an urban forest, etc.

9.  Green space along the river is an entirely different and more pleasing aesthetic than buildings, especially multistory ones.

10. Green space provides a resiliency buffer as it is all-but-certain the river is going to be flooding is banks going forward.  Building in this flood plain is insanity.  It is also a heat-sink and helps purify/oxygenate the urban air.

11.  As long as there is an ROI that exceeds other project ROI's, there should be no shortage of investable funds in parks.  This City has, or is, spending over $400 million on AV's, $50 million on tearing down the Hart Bridge Ramp, $20 to $50 million with no claw back on UF's mystery project, $25 million to create Lenny's Lawn (that's on the Mayor's incompetence, not on parks), hundreds of millions for a Four Seasons that few expect to benefit much of the urban core, millions more for developments that never seem to come out of the ground, perhaps $750 million to over a billion on the future stadium improvements, tens of millions for the stadium's previous improvements including scoreboards, millions on legal fees fighting the school board referendum and dealing with JEA's sale, millions or tens of millions kicking the pension fund down the road for the Mayor's political expediency, giving millions away to City Council's favored non-profits and business friends from Federal COVID dollars, forfeiting tens of millions not raising the garbage fee, forfeiting hundreds of millions with a too-low property tax rate, etc.  And, many of these projects were never in a long range plan and often are funded on an ad hoc basis.

12. This isn't about today, tomorrow or even 5 years out.  This is thinking far beyond, decades and even a hundred years out.  The #1 issue with this City is it has no coherent, well thought-out long term plan for land use that is adhered to over such long periods.  Such a plan would address my concerns, most certainly.  As the adage does, the trees we enjoy today were planted long before we were born.  It is up to us to plant such trees for the people of tomorrow.

Bottom line, urban parks are critical to the future success of Downtown and we remain well short of what we need to do.  And, if we want parks, we can find the dollars.  It's about priorities, the will, planning, visioning and execution based on robust leadership.  Jacksonville is in short supply on every count.

Our largest urban park has historically been Springfield Park. It's just as large as the Boston's Common. It could be a real crown jewel but will need hundreds of millions to bring that vision to reality.
"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: A Northbank renaissance in the making
« Reply #50 on: March 22, 2023, 07:45:28 AM »

What's your definition of a "true" win for the Northbank? I'd say the completing the cluster of adaptive reuse projects just northwest of city hall is a true win in the works right now. Combined, those projects will bring more residential units and retail square footage online within the next few years than anything else on the urban core's radar, along with some true old school density. Some of those buildings, like the Florida Baptist Convention, have sat vacant for 30-40 years. There's some infill proposed with these projects that will only add more density and beef up the skyline as well.

I mean ground up new construction. Agreed those are great projects. Banks will likely underwrite those deals differently than true ground up. There needs to be a new “riverfront” (or close to) Northbank property essentially.. I do think the RISE project helps that guesstimating. The projects in Brooklyn & the Southbank essentially serve as the definitive caps to any valuation for the northbank. (Which makes this difficult)  Those areas seem to be going 8-ish stories right now. In theory Northbank can’t support similar ground-up density. Hopefully that makes sense.
I come from the development world as well. I understand your opinion. I differ a bit on if a true win is determined by building height. The Northbank has several other dynamics at play when compared to some of the larger markets across the state and sunbelt. With that said, I do believe we've dropped the ball in taking advantage of the two boom periods that have occurred since 2000. With a bit of vision and coordinated investment in the early 2000s, we'd be having a different discussion regarding DT 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

Captain Zissou

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Re: A Northbank renaissance in the making
« Reply #51 on: March 22, 2023, 10:05:49 AM »
I mean ground up new construction. Agreed those are great projects. Banks will likely underwrite those deals differently than true ground up. There needs to be a new “riverfront” (or close to) Northbank property essentially.. I do think the RISE project helps that guesstimating. The projects in Brooklyn & the Southbank essentially serve as the definitive caps to any valuation for the northbank. (Which makes this difficult)  Those areas seem to be going 8-ish stories right now. In theory Northbank can’t support similar ground-up density. Hopefully that makes sense.

Yeah wouldn't that be great?!?! I feel like it's been at least four seasons since we've had a project like that proposed or constructed.  Hopefully something can break ground soon at a site like the shipyards or something.  It would be great to get a high end hotel or office over there. Maybe even luxury residential would work there.

Jax_Developer

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Re: A Northbank renaissance in the making
« Reply #52 on: March 22, 2023, 10:31:45 AM »

What's your definition of a "true" win for the Northbank? I'd say the completing the cluster of adaptive reuse projects just northwest of city hall is a true win in the works right now. Combined, those projects will bring more residential units and retail square footage online within the next few years than anything else on the urban core's radar, along with some true old school density. Some of those buildings, like the Florida Baptist Convention, have sat vacant for 30-40 years. There's some infill proposed with these projects that will only add more density and beef up the skyline as well.

I mean ground up new construction. Agreed those are great projects. Banks will likely underwrite those deals differently than true ground up. There needs to be a new “riverfront” (or close to) Northbank property essentially.. I do think the RISE project helps that guesstimating. The projects in Brooklyn & the Southbank essentially serve as the definitive caps to any valuation for the northbank. (Which makes this difficult)  Those areas seem to be going 8-ish stories right now. In theory Northbank can’t support similar ground-up density. Hopefully that makes sense.
I come from the development world as well. I understand your opinion. I differ a bit on if a true win is determined by building height. The Northbank has several other dynamics at play when compared to some of the larger markets across the state and sunbelt. With that said, I do believe we've dropped the ball in taking advantage of the two boom periods that have occurred since 2000. With a bit of vision and coordinated investment in the early 2000s, we'd be having a different discussion regarding DT now.


Couldn't agree more. True that the building height isn't the biggest factor for success, however this part of DT 'should' have taller buildings than the Southbank or Brooklyn. I think that's the tricky predicament to some degree when we see these tall projects being selected.

I mean ground up new construction. Agreed those are great projects. Banks will likely underwrite those deals differently than true ground up. There needs to be a new “riverfront” (or close to) Northbank property essentially.. I do think the RISE project helps that guesstimating. The projects in Brooklyn & the Southbank essentially serve as the definitive caps to any valuation for the northbank. (Which makes this difficult)  Those areas seem to be going 8-ish stories right now. In theory Northbank can’t support similar ground-up density. Hopefully that makes sense.

Yeah wouldn't that be great?!?! I feel like it's been at least four seasons since we've had a project like that proposed or constructed.  Hopefully something can break ground soon at a site like the shipyards or something.  It would be great to get a high end hotel or office over there. Maybe even luxury residential would work there.

I like the creative writing there lol that Khan project could have brought us that first example. Now we will have comps for luxury office space, luxury condos, and a luxury hotel. Not sure many of those uses will be recreated in the next 10 years other than maybe the condos with the Berkman 2 or something. Maybe a mixed-use hotel.

Jax_Developer

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Re: A Northbank renaissance in the making
« Reply #53 on: March 22, 2023, 10:35:04 AM »
This always gets me:

https://www.jacksonville.com/story/business/real-estate/2022/05/11/four-seasons-hotel-jacksonville-look-shipyards-project/9706825002/

"The biggest condominium would be a 19,000-square-foot penthouse whose sales value would equate to $16.5 million"

Like what? Maybe for Khan himself lol..

acme54321

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Re: A Northbank renaissance in the making
« Reply #54 on: March 22, 2023, 11:15:51 AM »
This always gets me:

https://www.jacksonville.com/story/business/real-estate/2022/05/11/four-seasons-hotel-jacksonville-look-shipyards-project/9706825002/

"The biggest condominium would be a 19,000-square-foot penthouse whose sales value would equate to $16.5 million"

Like what? Maybe for Khan himself lol..

LOL, has to be

Captain Zissou

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Re: A Northbank renaissance in the making
« Reply #55 on: March 23, 2023, 10:49:29 AM »
I like the creative writing there lol that Khan project could have brought us that first example. Now we will have comps for luxury office space, luxury condos, and a luxury hotel. Not sure many of those uses will be recreated in the next 10 years other than maybe the condos with the Berkman 2 or something. Maybe a mixed-use hotel.

So are you saying jax is just going to apartment build itself into a better tomorrow?  The district has Class A office space, hotel uses, and at times it has advertised for sale residential.  Eyes will definitely be on this project to use as a benchmark.

Spec office space hasn't been built downtown since 501 Riverside in the early 2000s.  Condos haven't' been built since 2008, despite taking off nationally for the past few years.  Nothing above a 3 star hotel has been built in decades despite a boom in South Florida and Tampa lately.  There likely won't be direct comps to these projects for 25 years, but I think the shipyards will be very illuminating and expand the realm of what's achievable downtown. It will definitely set price records across the board for all uses.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2023, 10:56:34 AM by Captain Zissou »

Jax_Developer

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Re: A Northbank renaissance in the making
« Reply #56 on: March 23, 2023, 11:08:30 AM »
I like the creative writing there lol that Khan project could have brought us that first example. Now we will have comps for luxury office space, luxury condos, and a luxury hotel. Not sure many of those uses will be recreated in the next 10 years other than maybe the condos with the Berkman 2 or something. Maybe a mixed-use hotel.

So are you saying jax is just going to apartment build itself into a better tomorrow?  The district has Class A office space, hotel uses, and at times it has advertised for sale residential.  Spec office space hasn't been built downtown since 501 Riverside in the early 2000s.  Condos haven't' been built since 2008.  Nothing above a 3 star hotel has been built in decades.  There likely won't be direct comps to these projects for 25 years, but I think the shipyards will be very illuminating and expand the realm of what's achievable downtown. It will definitely set price records across the board for all uses.

What other uses do you suggest?

There won't be another ground up Class A office space nearby for quite some time. There won't be another Four Season's level hotel built around here for probably a decade. I can guarantee you there won't be a condo selling for $16M anytime soon, outside of this PH. All of those comps will likely not lead to further successes in the same use. So in terms of uses that can actually bring in 'enough' revenue let alone the highest and best use, you don't have a ton of options. The Berkman is selling at or near replacement cost. That's why the city flung MOSH nearby.. they might be one of those exceptions? Apartments almost always lead condos in transitional areas. I bet that RISE's project will do more for this comp domino than the 4S project will. It's just more practical.

jaxlongtimer

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Re: A Northbank renaissance in the making
« Reply #57 on: June 28, 2023, 01:01:16 PM »
Another DIA/Downtown project turning into a dumpster fire.  It is clear that DIA's generous handout of incentives is not working and only leads to more requests for ever more incentives.  Projects in the suburbs get finished everyday without incentives.  Incentives are often evidence of the shaky economics underpinning these projects leaving no room for error.

Instead of spending money on incentives, the City should be investing those dollars in transit, infrastructure, amenities and disciplined planning and standards that will create the foundation for better economics that mean developers won't need incentives....  the projects will be able to easily stand on their own two feet with a substantial cushion for things not going as planned but still allowing successful completion of the project.

The City needs a whole new approach to how DIA works.  Its track record is terrible.

Quote
Developer of Ambassador Hotel and Independent Life building grapples with stack of liens

A developer that owns three historic buildings in downtown Jacksonville is grappling with nearly $1.4 million in liens filed by contractors and two foreclosure lawsuits, casting a shadow on the long-running restoration of the Ambassador Hotel.

The Ambassador Hotel, built in 1922, is among the neighboring buildings owned by corporations related to Augustine Development Group, based in St. Augustine. The other buildings are the 18-story Independent Life Building tower that originally opened in 1955 and the Central National Bank Building built in 1957.

The location of the buildings in the core of downtown puts them on the frontlines of the city's drive to bring more residents into the historic district where redevelopment of vacant but architecturally important buildings is harder and more unpredictable than starting from scratch....

https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/local/2023/06/28/downtown-jacksonville-developer-deals-with-liens-and-foreclosure-suits/70331767007/

Jax_Developer

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Re: A Northbank renaissance in the making
« Reply #58 on: June 28, 2023, 01:10:05 PM »
Rev Grants are fine if they aren't abused. Everything else needs to go towards another use. Tired of 7 or 8 figure completion grants. The District is the only exception imo, given they are doing a lot of infrastructure work that the city would otherwise do.

jcjohnpaint

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Re: A Northbank renaissance in the making
« Reply #59 on: June 28, 2023, 03:40:11 PM »
Does anyone know how much work went into these buildings since they will sit for another 100 years?