Author Topic: The Downtown Investment Authority's Future  (Read 42944 times)

thelakelander

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Re: The Downtown Investment Authority's Future
« Reply #135 on: November 06, 2023, 05:48:27 PM »
^I look forward to listening to it!
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Ken_FSU

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Re: The Downtown Investment Authority's Future
« Reply #136 on: November 07, 2023, 10:23:21 AM »
DIA head, Lori Boyer, was the featured guest today on First Coast Connect.  Replay link is below.  Boyer, after laying delays at the feet of Parks and Public Works, went on to note that the fountain would likely be ready in early 2024 but the rest of the park would be out a year.

Predictably, she saw downtown progress through rose-tinted glasses, even though the host brought up the concerns often presented on the Jaxson.

https://news.wjct.org/show/first-coast-connect/2023-11-03/next-time-on-first-coast-connect-downtown-development-why-flamingos-are-taking-over

Thanks for the share, interesting listen!

Listening reminds me both of why Lori Boyer is so well respected at City Hall for her intelligence and knowledge, and why many think she's not the right person to lead the DIA.

Won't beat a dead horse on my own personal opinion, but a couple of interesting things stuck out to me from the interview:

1. The DVI includes Union Terminal Warehouse in their housing units under construction calculation; the DIA does not. I wonder why not? I drive across the Matthews Bridge a few times a week, and it certainly looks like the project is under construction. Is it just interior demo at this point?

2. It sounds like the new mayoral administration is frustrated with the lack of progress/slow pace with public works projects and is committed to getting the parks built and operating on a faster timeline than Curry and Co. They've got committees in place to understand what went wrong with sites like Friendship Fountain and make sure the same mistakes aren't repeated. I dig it.

3. The old JEA HQ/Universal Marion tower remains a prospect for residential conversion; Boyer pushed back on data showing that ground-up construction was cheaper than office conversion because of the accelerated timeline possible with conversion and the cost of concrete and steel. No acknowledgement that Jacksonville's post-COVID office bounceback trails both state and national averages by a significant margin. Just kind of a "because covid" shoulder shrug.

4. No acknowledgment or accountability at all for issues that have happened under her watch leading the DIA. Friendship Park? Public works fault. 30% higher office vacancy than national downtown average? Covid. Empty lots everywhere? Necessary to make way for future mega projects. Too much city owned property sitting dormant downtown? The city does not have a lot of property downtown. Homeless presence on the rise? The stats don't back that up. Seems to be a lot of retail vacancy? Retail is up considerably.

I'd just feel so much better if she acknowledged, as the head of the Downtown Investment Authority, that we've dropped the ball during this last economic cycle in a few areas, and have plans to do things differently in the coming years to avoid wasting another decade. It's clear that there are a lot of things outside of the DIA's control, but when I walk out-of-town clients down the Laura Street corridor at 11:00 AM on a work day and it looks like an abandoned, shelled warzone straight out the Ukraine or Gaza Strip, I don't like to be told I'm imagining things and everything is coming up daisies.

Spilled milk at this point, fingers crossed the new Administration replaces talk with action.


thelakelander

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Re: The Downtown Investment Authority's Future
« Reply #137 on: November 07, 2023, 10:45:41 AM »
DIA head, Lori Boyer, was the featured guest today on First Coast Connect.  Replay link is below.  Boyer, after laying delays at the feet of Parks and Public Works, went on to note that the fountain would likely be ready in early 2024 but the rest of the park would be out a year.

Predictably, she saw downtown progress through rose-tinted glasses, even though the host brought up the concerns often presented on the Jaxson.

https://news.wjct.org/show/first-coast-connect/2023-11-03/next-time-on-first-coast-connect-downtown-development-why-flamingos-are-taking-over

Thanks for the share, interesting listen!

Listening reminds me both of why Lori Boyer is so well respected at City Hall for her intelligence and knowledge, and why many think she's not the right person to lead the DIA.

Won't beat a dead horse on my own personal opinion, but a couple of interesting things stuck out to me from the interview:

1. The DVI includes Union Terminal Warehouse in their housing units under construction calculation; the DIA does not. I wonder why not? I drive across the Matthews Bridge a few times a week, and it certainly looks like the project is under construction. Is it just interior demo at this point?

Because its actually in the Eastside and not downtown. It just so happens that a small slice of the parcel is south of the expressway viaduct, which made it eligible for DIA incentives. It's one of the largest projects actually under construction, so it bolsters the reports numbers, but I'd agree with Lori Boyer in that it should not be included in the downtown statistics because the building isn't.

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2. It sounds like the new mayoral administration is frustrated with the lack of progress/slow pace with public works projects and is committed to getting the parks built and operating on a faster timeline than Curry and Co. They've got committees in place to understand what went wrong with sites like Friendship Fountain and make sure the same mistakes aren't repeated. I dig it.

Good move by them. The time for excuse making is over. Let's just get these things completed and open. We can then build off that momentum.

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3. The old JEA HQ/Universal Marion tower remains a prospect for residential conversion; Boyer pushed back on data showing that ground-up construction was cheaper than office conversion because of the accelerated timeline possible with conversion and the cost of concrete and steel. No acknowledgement that Jacksonville's post-COVID office bounceback trails both state and national averages by a significant margin. Just kind of a "because covid" shoulder shrug.

Keeping the old JEA Tower is a common sense lesson we should have learned after blowing up a perfectly adaptable City Hall Annex building. Tear it down and you're not getting that type of high-rise density as a replacement. With that said, I would force it into having to be a residential conversion. Let the development teams figure out the exact mix of uses. I promise you, they'll know much more than city staff and hired consultants.

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4. No acknowledgment or accountability at all for issues that have happened under her watch leading the DIA. Friendship Park? Public works fault. 30% higher office vacancy than national downtown average? Covid. Empty lots everywhere? Necessary to make way for future mega projects. Too much city owned property sitting dormant downtown? The city does not have a lot of property downtown. Homeless presence on the rise? The stats don't back that up. Seems to be a lot of retail vacancy? Retail is up considerably.

Up compared to what? I haven't bothered looking at the report yet. I assume it must be up compared to the previous year? On the other hand, I'd be willing to put money down that it's down compared to the pre-Landing demolition number.

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I'd just feel so much better if she acknowledged, as the head of the Downtown Investment Authority, that we've dropped the ball during this last economic cycle in a few areas, and have plans to do things differently in the coming years to avoid wasting another decade. It's clear that there are a lot of things outside of the DIA's control, but when I walk out-of-town clients down the Laura Street corridor at 11:00 AM on a work day and it looks like an abandoned, shelled warzone straight out the Ukraine or Gaza Strip, I don't like to be told I'm imagining things and everything is coming up daisies.

Just have to take things said with a grain of salt.

Quote
Spilled milk at this point, fingers crossed the new Administration replaces talk with action.

This is the most important thing. We all know that a lot of time and money was wasted during the previous administration's terms. Whether someone admits that or not, we still need to move on and get things done ASAP.
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Jax_Developer

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Re: The Downtown Investment Authority's Future
« Reply #138 on: November 07, 2023, 11:16:08 AM »
https://www.costar.com/article/1546621985/jacksonvilles-retail-sector-second-in-the-us-for-rent-growth-during-the-third-quarter

Our retail market is up quite a bit in the past few years. Much much higher psf on a city average than from 2019. I believe Ken is highlighting that the DT market may not have had that gain, and you may even be correct Lake in that the Northbank rates have not changed. The rest of the city, has seen rates increase 20% or more in that same time.

thelakelander

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Re: The Downtown Investment Authority's Future
« Reply #139 on: November 07, 2023, 11:24:50 AM »
^Yes, we're referring to downtown specifically.
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Jax_Developer

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Re: The Downtown Investment Authority's Future
« Reply #140 on: November 07, 2023, 01:16:04 PM »
Right, so why won't they acknowledge that?

thelakelander

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Re: The Downtown Investment Authority's Future
« Reply #141 on: November 07, 2023, 04:29:27 PM »
I haven't looked at the report. So I'm not sure what period of time they are comparing. I'll eventually take a look.
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Ken_FSU

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Re: The Downtown Investment Authority's Future
« Reply #142 on: November 08, 2023, 10:37:55 PM »
Curious, how do you guys think the Laura Street Trio is going to play out?

1) City Council begrudgingly agrees to pay Southeast $65 million to develop the Trio (feels unlikely given other big ticket priorities and the mayor’s stance on subsidizing other large private projects like the American Lions proposal)
2) The City refuses to pay the ransom, and Southeast lets property remain blighted for years
3) ?

Is there a third option that seems within the realm of possibility?

Southeast sells? The city tries to force a sale or take control?

Charles Hunter

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Re: The Downtown Investment Authority's Future
« Reply #143 on: November 08, 2023, 11:24:41 PM »
Thinking "box, what box?"

3) UF chooses the Trio for their DT Jax campus and the millions of local and state money go to creating a mixed-use facility: classrooms and offices for UF, hotel rooms, apartments, and commercial/restuarants for UF and the public.

thelakelander

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Re: The Downtown Investment Authority's Future
« Reply #144 on: November 08, 2023, 11:42:09 PM »
1) City Council agrees to pay Southeast any amount necessary to get the project done.
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marcuscnelson

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Re: The Downtown Investment Authority's Future
« Reply #145 on: November 10, 2023, 09:55:48 PM »
Came across this graphic today in a tweet:



The obvious questions that occurred to me were, where are those 7,280 units in this market? What policy decisions are we making that has developers concluding they should build these thousands of units outside of downtown? Can we choose to change that?
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thelakelander

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Re: The Downtown Investment Authority's Future
« Reply #146 on: November 11, 2023, 07:20:49 AM »
We're one of the smallest markets on this list. No most of these are going up in the Southside and Northern St. Johns County. We need to work on getting a larger percentage of these units in Downtown.
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Jax_Developer

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Re: The Downtown Investment Authority's Future
« Reply #147 on: November 11, 2023, 08:17:19 AM »
The 14k under construction is actually more like 8-9k.

Nonetheless, number three on the list of most apartment deliveries is the westside. To me, that's pretty damning on the lack of ability to turnaround DT as a desirable market, even after all the $$ has been poured into it. Apartment economics are viable in every direction, especially with the influx the Northside will receive in 2024.

Funniest part is that we are in probably the second fastest growing city in the country for jobs & population (per capita) and we're still unable to capitalize on that growth DT.

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Re: The Downtown Investment Authority's Future
« Reply #148 on: November 11, 2023, 08:54:16 AM »
We're one of the smallest markets on this list. No most of these are going up in the Southside and Northern St. Johns County. We need to work on getting a larger percentage of these units in Downtown.
And though we are prone to forget this area, and the market is weaker there than other areas of Jax, how about the Northside (outside of downtown/urban core)?
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CityLife

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Re: The Downtown Investment Authority's Future
« Reply #149 on: November 11, 2023, 10:31:32 AM »
Speaking of multi-family. Does anyone know if COJ is doing anything to address the Live Local Act that was passed last legislative session? The Act makes it significantly easier for developers to build multi-family throughout Florida, but also takes away a lot of a municipality's ability to regulate multi-family projects. Having been on both side of the table on controversial multi-family projects, the Act is well intentioned in some ways (allowing more affordable housing and combating NIMBY-ism), but really goes too far and limits a municipalities ability to ensure any type of compatibility with surrounding properties. There are legitimate possibilities for very tall and dense multi-family projects to be built next door to single-family homes. I'm not talking four-story buildings. I'm talking mid to high rise buildings.

From google, I can see that the City passed an Ordinance to give tax breaks for affordable housing pursuant to the Act, but I don't see anything on the Planning side.

Quick summary of the Live Local Act as it relates to multi-family development:

-Municipalities have to prepare an inventory of all property they own that is suitable for affordable housing. This was to be done by October 1, 2023. This is good. No issues.

-Municipalities have to approve a multi-family or mixed-use development if at least 40% of the units are affordable in ANY area zoned for commercial, industrial, or mixed-use development.

-If a project qualifies for the above provision, it is eligible for the highest allowable density in ANY zoning district in the city. This means a developer could get Downtown level density in the suburbs or historic districts. However, maximum height typically limits the maximum possible density.

-Speaking of which, the Act says that a municipality may not restrict the height of a qualifying project to anything less than the highest allowable height within a commercial or residential development that is within a mile of the project. In Jax, I imagine that anything within a mile of Mayo, Baptist South, Shands, and suburban office parks could automatically get a fair amount of height. Then you can also likely do the same anywhere within a mile of the outer edges of downtown, plus other urban areas where some height is allowed like Five Points and San Marco.

-If a development qualifies and meets all of the land development regulations, it must be approved administratively. This means no public hearing process. Simply a staff level review and signoff.


Here is where Jax has some teeth for the Act. It says that projects in any municipality that is less than 20% commercial or industrial only qualify for the above process for mixed-use projects.  Given Jax's massive amount of undeveloped land on the outskirts of town, I would be shocked if it wasn't below 20%. Having to incorporate a mix of uses, will make it much harder for developers to qualify for the act.

A lot of municipalities are passing legislation clarifying how they will enforce the regulations from the Act. For instance, the City I am the Planning Director of is less than 20% commercial and industrial and we are clarifying that a developer has to provide a mixed-use development to qualify for the Act, along with some more minor clarifications. Hopefully someone in Jax is doing something similar...
« Last Edit: November 11, 2023, 11:24:44 AM by CityLife »