Author Topic: Daniel Davis wants to relocate the jail in his first term, if elected  (Read 22048 times)

Ken_FSU

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Feels like this deserves its own topic.

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/news/2023/may/05/daniel-davis-move-jail-out-of-downtown-speed-development-process/

With so many other needs, prioritizing relocation of the jail remains a staggeringly insane idea.

The question shouldn't be, "Does having the jail in its current location hurt downtown vibrancy?"

The question should be, "If improving downtown vibrancy is our end goal, and we have $500-$600 million we'd like to budget toward that goal, is relocation of the jail the best use of these dollars?"

This is an ASTRONOMICAL amount of money that results in zero immediate net-new addition to downtown.

For context, for the same amount of money it would cost to relocate the jail, you could fully fund the Laura Street Trio renovation project incentives ($62 million), the proposed piers and food hall at Shipyards West ($30 million), the proposed restaurant and public art at Riverfront Plaza ($25 million), the UF Graduate Center ($50 million), a full revamp of JWJ park ($10 million), open up the retail bays at the Main Library to Laura Street ($1 million), pump an extra $20 million into each of the major riverfront parks in the planning stages ($80 million), and still have enough leftover to fund Lot J ($250 million) with CASH TO SPARE to toss at MOSH, build a new museum on the Southbank in the old MOSH space, remediate Hogan's Creek, two-way the streets, incentivize historic rehabs or restaurant/retail leases, etc.

Not saying these are the right projects, but I find it impossible to believe that the collective benefit to downtown from a mix of projects like this is outweighed by the net detriment of having our prison located near the river.

The DIA's end goal for the jail property is a convention center, but with half a billion dollars committed to moving the jail, and likely close to $750 million committed to what the Jags want to do with the stadium rehab and Lot J 2.0, there's no universe where we can afford a convention center in the next 20 years if the jail is prioritized, short of selling JEA or a major new Better Jax-like plan. So, more than likely, the end result of moving the jail would be yet another piece of prime property sitting vacant for decades.

This does nothing to help downtown vibrancy, and the opportunity cost is staggering.

We have spent MORE THAN ENOUGH MONEY removing things from downtown based on supposed opportunity (the Landing, River City Brewing, Greyhound Station, Courthouse & Annex, Berkman 2, a city block at Coastline, etc.) without adding anything concrete back to replace them. It's gotten us nowhere, greatly reduce downtown density, and cost hundreds of millions with nothing to show for it.

Davis (and Curry before) pushing this as high-priority for their buddies at the JSO displays a fundamental lack of understanding about what it will truly take to move our downtown forward.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2023, 11:18:05 AM by Ken_FSU »

Steve

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Here's my take: WHY are we doing it?

I ask this because if the jail is truly at the end of its useful life and we need a new one and we'd have spent this money anyway even if the jail was nowhere near downtown, then that's one thing. At that point then it's not really a downtown project - it's something that has to be spent anyway.

But, I don't know the answer to this question.

Jax_Developer

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Moving the jail is not a zero sum game at all. In fact, the city of Jacksonville has paid hundreds of millions already with it being in its current place. You just don't see it, nor is it a dollar amount that is able to be defined easily.

Here are all the costs of the jail thus-far:

1). The land
2). The building
3). Cost of any expansion from Day 0
4). The lack of tax revenue from an entire subregion of downtown being depressed
5). The extracurricular events/things that devalued the greater region around the jail
6). The increased police dollar to account for having increased crime DT

I'm sure those more aware with the jail can offer some more. Like paying to demolish a rooftop park on a jail. Nonetheless, the combined price tag of all of that is easily more than the cost of relocating the jail, just put a time factor on your money. And honestly if anyone doesn't think there is a depression of values in this general area, then IDK what to tell ya. It is a fact.

Here are all of the benefits to moving the jail out of DT.

1). The land could be used for an extreme social & private benefit
2). The reduction of crime in the immediate subregion the jail is around
3). The increase in adjacent land values (a huge annual tax bill difference)
4). Actually being able to attract outside investment without REV grants & incentives ("Hey developer, come build a $50M product next to a jail!")
5). Ability to create a cohesive environment from the core to the sports district

--

IDK any project in Jacksonville that has a benefit even close to what would occur if the jail was relocated. Seriously, not a single project. 4S, Trio, The District.. you name it. There is no project/property that negatively affects property values, negatively affects the social climate, and sits on basically the largest accumulation of land in all of DT. The jail relocation is the biggest no brainer item that exists in JAX as of today.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2023, 12:52:27 PM by Jax_Developer »

RatTownRyan

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Demolish the jail. Build the UF campus there. Have a cool transition between the sports/ entertainment area to UF campus to DT core.

Jax_Developer

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Demolish the jail. Build the UF campus there. Have a cool transition between the sports/ entertainment area to UF campus to DT core.

Literally, think about how awesome that would be. We only have so much prime riverfront.

vicupstate

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Demolish the jail. Build the UF campus there. Have a cool transition between the sports/ entertainment area to UF campus to DT core.

Literally, think about how awesome that would be. We only have so much prime riverfront.

Truth be told there is probably not a city anywhere in the US, of any size, with MORE vacant 'prime' riverfront than Jacksonville.

You can't put the UF campus there because 1) it won't be ready in time and 2) it is already being planned as the future convention center site.   
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Charles Hunter

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Moving the jail is not a zero sum game at all. In fact, the city of Jacksonville has paid hundreds of millions already with it being in its current place. You just don't see it, nor is it a dollar amount that is able to be defined easily.

Here are all the costs of the jail thus-far:

1). The land
2). The building
3). Cost of any expansion from Day 0
4). The lack of tax revenue from an entire subregion of downtown being depressed
5). The extracurricular events/things that devalued the greater region around the jail
6). The increased police dollar to account for having increased crime DT

I'm sure those more aware with the jail can offer some more. Like paying to demolish a rooftop park on a jail. Nonetheless, the combined price tag of all of that is easily more than the cost of relocating the jail, just put a time factor on your money. And honestly if anyone doesn't think there is a depression of values in this general area, then IDK what to tell ya. It is a fact.

Here are all of the benefits to moving the jail out of DT.

1). The land could be used for an extreme social & private benefit
2). The reduction of crime in the immediate subregion the jail is around
3). The increase in adjacent land values (a huge annual tax bill difference)
4). Actually being able to attract outside investment without REV grants & incentives ("Hey developer, come build a $50M product next to a jail!")
5). Ability to create a cohesive environment from the core to the sports district

--

IDK any project in Jacksonville that has a benefit even close to what would occur if the jail was relocated. Seriously, not a single project. 4S, Trio, The District.. you name it. There is no project/property that negatively affects property values, negatively affects the social climate, and sits on basically the largest accumulation of land in all of DT. The jail relocation is the biggest no brainer item that exists in JAX as of today.

First, if I remember by college economics classes correctly (it has been a long time), the first three items listed are sunk costs from the initial decision to locate the Pre-Trial Facility there. Thus, irrelevant to the discussion of the cost to relocate.

Is the property tax base around the PTF depressed? Is it because of the PTF? Would the value of the Berkman or Maxwell House be more without the PTF?

Is the crime rate higher downtown? Higher near the PTF and Police Station? Are the PTF and Police Station the cause of the alleged higher crime rate?

According to the Property Appraiser webpage, the Pre-Trial Facility, the Police HQ, and adjacent parking cover about 10 acres. Granted, if the PTF were moved to the Prison Farm out near the Veterans Cemetary, there would presumably be no land acquisition cost. But, where are you going to move the Police HQ? I am sure the sheriff wants to be centrally located. 

Hasn't the city provided REV grants to projects not at all close to the PTF?

The 10 acre site is pencilled in as the location of a new convention center. I assume this facility would be city-owned, and would not add anything to the property tax base.

Would a convention center be a "better" use of the site than the Police HQ and Pre-Trial Detention Facility? Sure. But, is the transformation the best use of over a billion public dollars at this point?

Ken_FSU

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Moving the jail is not a zero sum game at all. In fact, the city of Jacksonville has paid hundreds of millions already with it being in its current place. You just don't see it, nor is it a dollar amount that is able to be defined easily.

Here are all the costs of the jail thus-far:

1). The land
2). The building
3). Cost of any expansion from Day 0

I'm sure those more aware with the jail can offer some more. Like paying to demolish a rooftop park on a jail in the next 4 years. Nonetheless, the combined price tag of all of that is easily more than the cost of relocating the jail, just put a time factor on your money.

Respectfully, I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at here. What's been spent already is all sunk cost that shouldn't be a consideration in whether or not it is prudent to move the jail. If anything, having existing assets and infrastructure in place should be a strike against moving the jail, in a vacuum. This isn't a facility that was built in 1940. It's barely 30 years old.

Quote
The lack of tax revenue from an entire subregion of downtown being depressed. And honestly if anyone doesn't think there is a depression of values in this general area, then IDK what to tell ya. It is a fact.

Where's the evidence that the presence of the jail is stifling development in the last decade? There was heavy interest in the Ford on Bay RFP. The Doro is topped off. The highest end steakhouse in town opened two blocks away. Four Seasons has agreed to build a hotel down the street. Intuition is doing fine. MOSH is moving its family museum in. We're full speed ahead on a new park and food hall at Shipyards West. Hyatt business has boomed post-recession, and there was plenty of interest in convention center at the adjacent parcel.

Berkman 2 is the main failure that stands out, but even that situation seems more tied to the economic downturn in 2008 forward, city meddling, and lackluster ownership groups not knowing what or how to do with the site. Aside from the Berkmans, what private property is being depressed?

I'd argue any depression in tax revenue from the adjacency is because everything is either publicly owned park space, brownfield, or large-scale proposed development getting the same REV grants that projects on the Southbank or CBD are getting.

Quote
Here are all of the benefits to moving the jail out of DT.

1). The land could be used for an extreme social & private benefit
2). The reduction of crime in the immediate subregion the jail is around
3). The increase in adjacent land values (a huge annual tax bill difference)
4). Actually being able to attract outside investment without REV grants & incentives ("Hey developer, come build a $50M product next to a jail!")
5). Ability to create a cohesive environment from the core to the sports district

I don't doubt it would benefit Jacksonville to move the jail away from downtown, I just don't buy for a second that REV grants in the tens of millions being floated to developments from the Strand, to the Penisula, to Related's Southbank apartments, to FIS headquarters, to the Landing, to the Laura Street Trio, to the District, to the Shipyards project are somehow the result of a prison being housed on the eastern portion of the riverfront.

Those REV grants aren't going to go away because there's a fenced off 10-acre field where the prison once stood.

And let's not forget the last time we heard this. The promises about how removing the blight of the dangerous, decrepit Jacksonville Landing was going to be a catalyst for the explosion of downtown Jacksonville and the end to incentives.

To Steve's point, it's obviously important to better understand whether this is a want for downtown development or a true need (not a bullshit "need" like the Hart Bridge ramps "needing" to go to improve Talleyrand, or JEA "needing" to be sold to circumvent financial ruin for the city) necessitated by the existing facility reaching end-of-life.

Jax_Developer

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If someone can find me another city that has more than a thousand feet of buildable riverfront/waterfront property, that has been vacant for more than a decade, I will kindly recant everything I said. I am reasonably confident you won't. (Also Brooklyn has had all of its Riverfront owned by sizeable firms/companies for decades now.) That lost tax revenue.. sheesh. Also to the "Courthouse" responders.. well yeah you are kind of adding to my argument. Govt buildings don't pay taxes. Profit generating businesses & residences generate a lot of revenue though. Also, that was a courthouse with a surface lot. So...

There is another phenomena in building, shown by the prison. The prison officially marks the end of any tall buildings (density.) So, all those decades of building, and nothing has been built of densities rivaling the central core. Office, residential etc. This where most of the translation gets lost. The opportunity cost there is staggering. Its decades long. If I made a model, it would make your eyes tear up at the sheer lost value.

The opportunity cost of most these decisions have compounded drastically to what we see today. And it's why the DT died and why there has been hundreds of millions poured into it to "fix" it. How can a DT with a river running through it die? I'd understand if the geography was that of ATL, but frankly it isn't.

Nothing is a zero sum game, and the decisions made back then have cost us substantially more than anything we are talking about now. Question is, do you want to continue to make the same economic errors that previous generations did?

And the projects going on today, are several blocks away and likely lobbying for it.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2023, 05:57:40 PM by Jax_Developer »

Jax_Developer

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Moving the jail is not a zero sum game at all. In fact, the city of Jacksonville has paid hundreds of millions already with it being in its current place. You just don't see it, nor is it a dollar amount that is able to be defined easily.

Here are all the costs of the jail thus-far:

1). The land
2). The building
3). Cost of any expansion from Day 0
4). The lack of tax revenue from an entire subregion of downtown being depressed
5). The extracurricular events/things that devalued the greater region around the jail
6). The increased police dollar to account for having increased crime DT

I'm sure those more aware with the jail can offer some more. Like paying to demolish a rooftop park on a jail. Nonetheless, the combined price tag of all of that is easily more than the cost of relocating the jail, just put a time factor on your money. And honestly if anyone doesn't think there is a depression of values in this general area, then IDK what to tell ya. It is a fact.

Here are all of the benefits to moving the jail out of DT.

1). The land could be used for an extreme social & private benefit
2). The reduction of crime in the immediate subregion the jail is around
3). The increase in adjacent land values (a huge annual tax bill difference)
4). Actually being able to attract outside investment without REV grants & incentives ("Hey developer, come build a $50M product next to a jail!")
5). Ability to create a cohesive environment from the core to the sports district

--

IDK any project in Jacksonville that has a benefit even close to what would occur if the jail was relocated. Seriously, not a single project. 4S, Trio, The District.. you name it. There is no project/property that negatively affects property values, negatively affects the social climate, and sits on basically the largest accumulation of land in all of DT. The jail relocation is the biggest no brainer item that exists in JAX as of today.

First, if I remember by college economics classes correctly (it has been a long time), the first three items listed are sunk costs from the initial decision to locate the Pre-Trial Facility there. Thus, irrelevant to the discussion of the cost to relocate.

Is the property tax base around the PTF depressed? Is it because of the PTF? Would the value of the Berkman or Maxwell House be more without the PTF?

Is the crime rate higher downtown? Higher near the PTF and Police Station? Are the PTF and Police Station the cause of the alleged higher crime rate?

According to the Property Appraiser webpage, the Pre-Trial Facility, the Police HQ, and adjacent parking cover about 10 acres. Granted, if the PTF were moved to the Prison Farm out near the Veterans Cemetary, there would presumably be no land acquisition cost. But, where are you going to move the Police HQ? I am sure the sheriff wants to be centrally located. 

Hasn't the city provided REV grants to projects not at all close to the PTF?

The 10 acre site is pencilled in as the location of a new convention center. I assume this facility would be city-owned, and would not add anything to the property tax base.

Would a convention center be a "better" use of the site than the Police HQ and Pre-Trial Detention Facility? Sure. But, is the transformation the best use of over a billion public dollars at this point?

- Agreed they are irrelevant to relocate but nonetheless public dollars went in to its creation.
- Yes both sites would be worth substantially more without the prison adjacent to it
- I don't have exact numbers, and could be wrong on the crime. However, I live nearby and can tell you that the Southbank/Brooklyn areas certainly gives off a slightly different vibe than the Northbank which is only two or so blocks away. LaVilla is also much more quiet from my experience. Again, maybe this is just me, but I have heard similar opinions to mine.
- From my understanding of previous reporting, there is already land available tied with another facility. I think the Sherriff's office requires a HQ from the eventual RFP
- I'm personally a believer in upgrading an existing facility to create a convention center. Maybe the Hyatt. I also don't think the convention center is an immediate need.
- I think a 10-acre RFP for a master plan site, could fetch an amazing dollar. Miami just had a $1.2B land sale.. I'm more of a believer in requiring public benefit through RFP's as developers are often much more willing to create public spaces that way. Usually in trade for some benefit on their end.

Just my thoughts.




thelakelander

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Here's my take: WHY are we doing it?

I ask this because if the jail is truly at the end of its useful life and we need a new one and we'd have spent this money anyway even if the jail was nowhere near downtown, then that's one thing. At that point then it's not really a downtown project - it's something that has to be spent anyway.

But, I don't know the answer to this question.

The same group of players have the pushing this jail removal thing for a number of years. Its irrelevant to making downtown vibrant. However, we make (and have been making) several decisions in downtown that have little to nothing to do with really making things vibrant from a cost effective perspective. Same donor class (doesn't matter who the mayor is) + billions spent = same end results.
"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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Maybe someday, the jail should be moved.  But like some have noted, that is not the main issue holding back Downtown.  It is incompetent leadership that can't even implement the very basics of creating a vibrant area... and not necessarily having to spend a bundle do it.  It is a lack of vision, planning, discipline, common sense... and caring to build a City for all and not just a few preferred friends of the Mayor.

Take care of all of the above and then we can talk about moving the jail... or, for that matter, building a convention center.  There are so many prerequisites that should be addressed before even thinking about these projects.

FYI, at this point, who benefits the most from moving the jail or having a convention center?  Or making Bay Street an "innovation" corridor featuring the $400+ million U2C fiasco?  I say Shad Khan more than anyone else.  This on top of another version of Lot J and a billion dollar stadium makeover.  Meanwhile, there is no money for the Northwest Quadrant or so many other City needs.

Too add, as Nate Monroe pointed out months ago, no way Davis can deliver on his promises based on the financial math unless he gets a tax increase, something he said he will not do.

Just a sample of what may need big dollars:

1. New jail at $400+ million.
2. Pensions again for JSO.
3. Existing underfunded pension plan that Curry never really fixed.
4. 200+ more JSO officers.
5. Billion dollar stadium deal.
6. Incentives for development and new businesses.
7. Annual pay raises to retain and attract competent City employees.
8. Garbage fund shortfall of tens of millions or more.
9. New version of Jacksonville Journey.
10. Fixing up downtown.
11. Investing in infrastructure that is crumbling.
12. Replacing septic tanks.
13. New convention center.
14. Addressing resiliency needs.
15. Developing and maintaining parks.

thelakelander

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Shad Khan will be dead by the time half of this stuff materials. Most of us as well. Some of these regurgitated ideas have been pushed way longer than Khan has been in town.
"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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Shad Khan will be dead by the time half of this stuff materials. Most of us as well. Some of these regurgitated ideas have been pushed way longer than Khan has been in town.

Exactly.  But if they suddenly get traction, where do you think the "mojo" would be emanating from? ;D  See Hart Bridge ramp project.

thelakelander

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I don't believe Shad Khan is the mastermind before the idea of moving the jail and building a convention center there. Demoing the Hart Bridge and opening up access to the stadium and Metropolitan Park makes sense (if the goal is to develop around the stadium). We just screwed it up by not knocking the entire thing down.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali