The Jaxson

Jacksonville by Neighborhood => Downtown => Topic started by: Steve on July 12, 2019, 10:06:08 AM

Title: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Steve on July 12, 2019, 10:06:08 AM
https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/city-puts-historic-armory-up-for-sale-redevelopment

Quote
The city-owned former Florida National Guard armory on the northeast edge of Downtown is for sale.

The city published a request for proposals July 3 seeking bids from developers to buy the 2.02-acre site at 851 N. Market St., with an option to redevelop an adjacent 2.97-acre property at 928 N. Liberty St. The building has been empty for nine years.

According to the RFP, the city also might consider a long-term lease with a developer.

I suppose good that the RFP isn't for Demolition.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Bill Hoff on July 12, 2019, 10:08:24 AM
For those that don't know, this property has had a lot of conversation & controversy around it within the past decade. COJ considered using it as a homeless center (SPAR squashed that idea through vigorous advocacy), then COJ considered allowing a Confederate group to use it, then there was a proposal for an arts center. Lots of energy, consternation & public discussion about all this - none came to fruition as it has major flooding issues. If you want to read about some of that drama, here are a number of links, roughly in order:

https://www-jacksonville-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.jacksonville.com/article/20121016/NEWS/801245452?amp_js_v=a2&amp_gsa=1&template=ampart&usqp=mq331AQA#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.jacksonville.com%2Farticle%2F20121016%2FNEWS%2F801245452

https://www-jacksonville-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.jacksonville.com/article/20121018/NEWS/801245341?amp_js_v=a2&amp_gsa=1&template=ampart&usqp=mq331AQA#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.jacksonville.com%2Farticle%2F20121018%2FNEWS%2F801245341

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2013/12/04/armory.html

https://www.jacksonville.com/article/20131202/OPINION/801241963

https://www.jacksonville.com/article/20130705/ENTERTAINMENT/801250280

https://www-jacksonville-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.jacksonville.com/article/20131209/OPINION/801241474?amp_js_v=a2&amp_gsa=1&template=ampart&usqp=mq331AQA#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.jacksonville.com%2Farticle%2F20131209%2FOPINION%2F801241474

Wonder if Vestcor would be interested? Seems like something up their alley.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Steve on July 12, 2019, 10:28:17 AM
The flooding issues would be my #1 concern. Is there a city plan to mitigate that? I'm sure the Armory isn't the only building in the area susceptible to that.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Tacachale on July 12, 2019, 10:57:54 AM
The flooding problem will likely limit who's interested in the building.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: KenFSU on July 12, 2019, 11:07:17 AM
^Aquarium to armory confirmed.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Charles Hunter on July 12, 2019, 11:46:25 AM
Uh oh. Someone at City Hall is going to lose their job.  Putting out an RFP before demolishing the building? That's not the way we do things, it's easier here. 
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Bill Hoff on August 15, 2019, 07:57:32 AM
Update to the The Armory's redevelopment: 3 bids received, 2 from South Florida, 1 local.

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/bids-opened-for-historic-national-guard-armory
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: thelakelander on August 15, 2019, 08:21:13 AM
Interesting collection of bids. Can't wait to learn more about each one.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: vicupstate on August 15, 2019, 08:43:26 AM
The grocer idea sounds very promising but hard to believe.


Quote
Exterior Realty Inc. also responded as a no-bid.

Wut?
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Bill Hoff on August 15, 2019, 02:44:51 PM
The grocer idea sounds very promising but hard to believe.

Dialogue critique:

How can something be very promising, yet hard to believe?
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: thelakelander on August 15, 2019, 02:54:32 PM
The grocer has a 10,000 square foot store in a suburban strip mall in Boca. It will be interesting to see what their thoughts are with 80,000 square feet of space in Jax at that location. With that said, I love seeing more diversified parties seeking development opportunities in the urban core. Considering the DIA just gave Vestcor three city blocks for free, would they be willing to gift this building as an incentive for its redevelopment? That's another part of this process that will be interesting to see played out.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: vicupstate on August 15, 2019, 04:11:05 PM
The grocer idea sounds very promising but hard to believe.

Dialogue critique:

How can something be very promising, yet hard to believe?

Let me rephrase. The grocer idea sounds very desireable but hard to believe.

It would be great to have a specialty grocer, but hard to believe a sufficient market to support it is there yet. 
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Wacca Pilatka on August 15, 2019, 04:55:10 PM
I'm not familiar with the grocery store - is this perhaps a destination grocer that would be interested in this space due to being in the State/Union corridor and drawing from beyond downtown and Springfield?
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: thelakelander on August 15, 2019, 05:09:16 PM
It appears to be a smaller, local specialty grocer in South Florida. The Armory site would definitely be a location that would draw from a larger portion of the population than downtown, Springfield and the Eastside. State and Union have a hell of a lot more potential from a commercial market perspective than the majority of the surrounding thoroughfares, due to their high crosstown traffic counts. Nevertheless, I seriously doubt a single grocery store of any kind would take up 80,000 square feet. So it would definitely have to be some sort of mix of uses or spaces.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Wacca Pilatka on August 15, 2019, 05:25:07 PM
Specialty grocer as a food hall anchor perhaps?

I always pictured the Armory as a great candidate for an arts center like the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, but Torpedo Factory is in the midst of a dense environment with complementing uses.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Bill Hoff on August 16, 2019, 10:07:21 AM
The Boca Raton grocery reps met with SPAR staff the other day. They have some interesting ideas, but who knows. Personally, I'm a fan of having a residential component. But any project would need to address the flooding issue first - and that ain't easy.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Captain Zissou on August 16, 2019, 11:38:44 AM
I always pictured the Armory as a great candidate for an arts center like the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, but Torpedo Factory is in the midst of a dense environment with complementing uses.

I was in the Torpedo Factory last month and loved it.  My hope was for the Landing to become something similar to that, but I'd be fine with the Armory taking up that idea and running with it.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Bill Hoff on August 16, 2019, 02:57:21 PM
I always pictured the Armory as a great candidate for an arts center like the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, but Torpedo Factory is in the midst of a dense environment with complementing uses.

I was in the Torpedo Factory last month and loved it.  My hope was for the Landing to become something similar to that, but I'd be fine with the Armory taking up that idea and running with it.

You all might remember several years ago, a group of local arts organizations coordinated to try and transform the armory into The Artery, an arts hub directly inspired by the Torpedo Factory. Alas, city council wasn't persuaded to hand it over.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=5xNtMi4DfQY
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: thelakelander on August 21, 2019, 08:38:27 AM
Quote
Farmers market, architecture school proposed for old Armory

The former Florida National Guard armory Downtown could become a mixed-use farmers market, greenhouse and event space -or an architecture school.

Property bidder B&H Fine Foods co-owner Barry Adkin said he proposes to turn the property into a farmers market, greenhouse/urban farm, incubator kitchens for local companies and space for performances or events.

B&H Fine Foods is based in Boca Raton, where it operates a grocery store.


Rafael Caldera of Jacksonville-based Arkest LLC
Bidder Rafael Caldera of Jacksonville-based Arkest LLC proposes to open an architecture school on the property. The school would occupy the Armory Building with the neighboring structures demolished and new ones built for the school.

Full article: https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/farmers-market-architecture-school-proposed-for-old-armory


For those who are interested in Caldera's projects, he'll be a panelist at the APA Florida First Coast Section's Affordable and Workforce Housing event this Friday in the Cathedral District. For more information on that:

(https://img.evbuc.com/https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.evbuc.com%2Fimages%2F67598589%2F93676574779%2F1%2Foriginal.20190805-170829?w=800&auto=compress&rect=0%2C0%2C780%2C390&s=cb5fad0fac288d5d6553df905c2e6488)

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/affordable-workforce-housing-tickets-68020100953
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Steve on August 21, 2019, 08:44:30 AM
The farmers' market sounds cool, but not enamored with the "open once a month thing." So the building will sit closed 29 days out of 30? I realize he also wants the incubator kitchen part, but....not terribly excited.

The architecture school sounds cool, but does he have a school lined up or is he starting one that he hopes to get 1,000 students.

Neither of them "wow" me, though a vacant building isn't exciting either.

Would love to know the details about the third bid.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Tacachale on August 21, 2019, 10:56:18 AM
The farmers' market sounds cool, but not enamored with the "open once a month thing." So the building will sit closed 29 days out of 30? I realize he also wants the incubator kitchen part, but....not terribly excited.

The architecture school sounds cool, but does he have a school lined up or is he starting one that he hopes to get 1,000 students.

Neither of them "wow" me, though a vacant building isn't exciting either.

Would love to know the details about the third bid.

A farmer's market once a month is at least realistic. There just aren't enough farmers around here to sustain something open more than about once a week. The only one that's open every day is the Jacksonville Farmer's Market, and despite the name those are almost all resellers from across the country, not actual local farmers. The other parts of that request sound more interesting to me - an urban farm, greenhouse and processing for small farmers is something we don't currently have to the extent we need.

I'm more skeptical of an architecture school. Unless he's talking about UM or the state schools, I have no idea what schools he could be talking about. Otherwise, it's some school that doesn't have architecture already. Additionally, architects have one of the highest unemployment rates of any major, and there are too many schools in the state.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Jax Farmers Market on August 21, 2019, 11:23:39 PM
The only one that's open every day is the Jacksonville Farmer's Market, and despite the name those are almost all resellers from across the country, not actual local farmers.

Tacahale, your post to came to our attention and we would like to respectfully respond as your comment represents a common misconception.  Jacksonville Farmers Market does carry truck loads of produce and agricultural products from local farmers.  And, our vendors are all local small business owners (often minorities) working hard up to 80+ hours a week to serve their customers.

In today's world, it is not realistic for full time farmers to staff an urban-located retail or wholesale stall for up to 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.  Nor do individual farmers always have the variety of items to attract today's one-stop convenience customers.  While we do, on occasion, have a farm family that can spare a family member to run a stall for a few days at a time, nearly all farmers find it efficient and cost effective to utilize the permanent "resellers/wholesalers" at JFM as their selling agents.  These agents not only staff the hours, they assemble a wide range of both local and non-local (i.e. items not grown or out-of-season locally) to provide the one-stop convenience that is necessary to attract customers for the local items and to compete with grocers and club stores.

Not always seen by the public, many farmers come during the very early AM hours to wholesale to JFM vendors so they can return to their farming duties.  Other JFM vendors own trucks and visit area farms to bring back harvests to JFM.

In conclusion, if you are looking for fresh local/regional produce and agricultural products, JFM has more quantity and variety in one location than any other venue in NE Florida.  And, nicely, usually at prices far lower than any other outlet.

We would also like to add that JFM is a rare outlet for variety and affordable produce, seafood and other healthy foods in a food desert.  JFM is operated for the benefit of the community so support for it is critical for it to continue well beyond the 80 years it has been in operation.

Thank you for the opportunity to present this clarification and we hope you, and others, will continue to patronize JFM vendors and, thus, support the area farms that supply them.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: thelakelander on August 22, 2019, 06:34:51 AM
Quote
Fort Lauderdale-based REVA Development Corp. proposes 100 units of workforce housing and a cultural arts facility at the former Florida National Guard armory Downtown.

REVA was among three groups that submitted bids to purchase the vacant city-owned historic Gothic Revival-style Armory Building at 851 N. Market St.

The more than 100-year-old building, along with an optional adjacent property with three warehouses at 928 N. Liberty St., was offered for sale by the city.

“MADE at the ARMORY” would be an adaptive reuse of the Armory Building, said Don Patterson, president of REVA Development Corp.

Full article: https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/fort-lauderdale-based-armory-bidder-plans-cultural-facility-workforce-housing
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Steve on August 22, 2019, 09:16:37 AM
Another interesting concept I don't completely get. Sounds like the housing will be on the north parcel, and the Armory would be the cultural stuff.

Nothing against any of these uses, but all of these while they sound cool in concept, aren't exactly revenue generators for the main building, a building that's older and prone to flooding.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Tacachale on August 22, 2019, 11:08:23 AM
The only one that's open every day is the Jacksonville Farmer's Market, and despite the name those are almost all resellers from across the country, not actual local farmers.

Tacahale, your post to came to our attention and we would like to respectfully respond as your comment represents a common misconception.  Jacksonville Farmers Market does carry truck loads of produce and agricultural products from local farmers.  And, our vendors are all local small business owners (often minorities) working hard up to 80+ hours a week to serve their customers.

In today's world, it is not realistic for full time farmers to staff an urban-located retail or wholesale stall for up to 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.  Nor do individual farmers always have the variety of items to attract today's one-stop convenience customers.  While we do, on occasion, have a farm family that can spare a family member to run a stall for a few days at a time, nearly all farmers find it efficient and cost effective to utilize the permanent "resellers/wholesalers" at JFM as their selling agents.  These agents not only staff the hours, they assemble a wide range of both local and non-local (i.e. items not grown or out-of-season locally) to provide the one-stop convenience that is necessary to attract customers for the local items and to compete with grocers and club stores.

Not always seen by the public, many farmers come during the very early AM hours to wholesale to JFM vendors so they can return to their farming duties.  Other JFM vendors own trucks and visit area farms to bring back harvests to JFM.

In conclusion, if you are looking for fresh local/regional produce and agricultural products, JFM has more quantity and variety in one location than any other venue in NE Florida.  And, nicely, usually at prices far lower than any other outlet.

We would also like to add that JFM is a rare outlet for variety and affordable produce, seafood and other healthy foods in a food desert.  JFM is operated for the benefit of the community so support for it is critical for it to continue well beyond the 80 years it has been in operation.

Thank you for the opportunity to present this clarification and we hope you, and others, will continue to patronize JFM vendors and, thus, support the area farms that supply them.

Thank you for your response. I certainly don't mean to knock JFM or resellers in general. My point was that a producer-only market in our area, like what's proposed for the Armory, can't be expected to open every day. Our area farms simply don't grow enough to support that without produce coming in from other areas. I definitely believe that JFM provides valuable service to people who need it and is a great asset for the community.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Bill Hoff on September 13, 2019, 07:35:08 AM
Looks like a mixed use of workforce housing, office and arts space (hypothetically) heading to The Armory building. Seems rather aspirational, but we'll see:

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/cultural-facility-workforce-housing-selected-for-armory
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Bill Hoff on September 18, 2019, 08:26:22 AM
More details about the proposed plan for The Armory. Pretty ambitious:
https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2019/09/18/new-details-on-downtowns-armory-redevelopment-an.html
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Charles Hunter on September 18, 2019, 08:36:38 AM
Doesn't look like they are providing much space for the Emerald Necklace, although it is hard to tell how wide that green strip is along the creek. Speaking of the creek, isn't this an area of frequent flooding? Doesn't look like they have taken that into consideration, either.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: thelakelander on September 18, 2019, 09:27:47 AM
I like the overall concept and mix of uses. If they can pull it off, it will be huge for Springfield, the Eastside, the Cathedral District and State & Union Streets. More housing is a plus but I'd be happy if they can just activate the Armory itself. I suspect, what's shown in that quick RFP sketch will change dramatically as the components go from concept to reality.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: Kerry on September 18, 2019, 10:50:06 AM
Is it just me or is anyone getting to the point that "art space" is code for "we have no idea how to get real retail or office users here".
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: nuts over reality on October 26, 2019, 01:03:56 PM
Reva Development plans on leasing the Armory for $1 a year. No ownership mean no responsibility. Can give the Armory back to the city and profit from the work force housing project. This sound like the Landings all over!
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: thelakelander on October 26, 2019, 04:12:12 PM
COJ will own Live! at Lot J as well. Yet everyone who doesn't know better seems to think it will be a game changer.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: jaxlongtimer on October 27, 2019, 08:28:36 PM
Reva Development plans on leasing the Armory for $1 a year. No ownership mean no responsibility. Can give the Armory back to the city and profit from the work force housing project. This sound like the Landings all over!

Leasing from the City instead of developers owning these projects is just another taxpayer giveaway as they pay no property taxes during the lease.  That's on top of the incentives the City gives them elsewhere but they probably won't include the tax savings in the public totals to avoid a taxpayer backlash.  And, with the leases at bargain rates they get another giveaway.

Imagine no property taxes on hundreds of millions of value in Lot J or elsewhere.  At 1.5 to 2% tax rate, we are talking about $15,000 to $20,000 per million per year so $100 million in development equates to $1.5 to 2.0 million per year of no taxes to support City services or our schools.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: nuts over reality on October 28, 2019, 11:23:06 PM
Also Reva will make about 4 million alone, once he completes the work force housing project and probably will has a non-recourse HUD loan.
So if the project fails Reva could walk away with 4m profit and stick the government with the loan.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: jaxlongtimer on October 28, 2019, 11:39:13 PM
Also Reva will make about 4 million alone, once he completes the work force housing project and probably will has a non-recourse HUD loan.
So if the project fails Reva could walk away with 4m profit and stick the government with the loan.

As is if all this plus no property taxes, generous city incentives (plus any other tax credits) and a bargain lease are not enough, the Armory and Lot J are both in Federal Opportunity Zones.  This means that developers can defer paying current capital gains taxes from unrelated projects for up to 10 years (i.e. an interest free loan by the Feds), get a substantial reduction of said capital gain taxes and, the real zinger, never-ever pay any income tax on any of the profits on any of these new developments!  And, really, will any of these developments improve the quality of life for the surrounding residents or just, on the best of days, gentrify their neighborhoods and further their plights.

With all these breaks, how can the developer lose, even on a dud of a project?  It's the ultimate taxpayer giveaway.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: thelakelander on October 28, 2019, 11:51:59 PM
To be fair, doesn't the armory flood? I wonder what's the plan to deal with Hogans Creek?
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: jaxlongtimer on October 29, 2019, 10:03:58 PM
To be fair, doesn't the armory flood? I wonder what's the plan to deal with Hogans Creek?

If the Armory (or Lot J) floods and the City owns it, they will probably get the taxpayer funded FEMA to cover the damages.  Another advantage to leasing from the City.

Like I said, the developers in these deals almost can't lose.
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: nuts over reality on December 19, 2019, 09:39:12 PM
Any news on the armory, still sitting empty. Maybe the mayor needs to look at this deal to.  I thought the idea was to preserve the armory and make it part of the community again. It seem that the interest is in tearing down the maintenance buildings and building apartments.

Why would someone offer to buy the maintenance buildings but only lease the armory?
Title: Re: Armory Being RFP'd
Post by: sandyshoes on December 20, 2019, 08:03:47 AM
Can we put JEA in there??