Author Topic: The DIA and Lori Boyer Are Doing a Phenomenal Job  (Read 28237 times)

Ken_FSU

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Re: The DIA and Lori Boyer Are Doing a Phenomenal Job
« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2024, 11:13:50 AM »
I almost posted this the other day, but one of the DIA's biggest weaknesses is that virtually everyone there is doing their job for the first time and most either previously worked at COJ or are somehow politically connected. The DIA can use some outside blood with fresh ideas, ideally from someone with experience doing projects all over the place.

The DIA needs an infusion of new talent and ideas. Imo, instead of hiring inside the Jacksonville family, they should be hiring a headhunter and going after talented people at Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, etc's downtown development agencies or from large development firms.

This, again, is part of my frustration with the DIA. It's not a personal affront to Lori Boyer to suggest we should have brought in someone with proven experience in downtown revitalization vs. hiring a local because of their "passion."

And let's not forget how wonky the voting process was that put her in power.

We did, in fact, conduct a nationwide search through Jorgenson Consulting when looking to fill the role of DIA CEO in 2019, which yielded strong finalists from Kansas City (who has run laps around Jacksonville in the last 15 years with downtown redevelopment) and New Orleans.

At the time, there was almost universal recognition that Greg Flisram from Kansas City was extremely qualified, with a proven track record of major downtown redevelopment wins.

When it came time to pick a winner, Lori Boyer narrowly beat Flisram (356 points vs. 346 points) in a vote from the DIA Board that violated Sunshine Laws because scorecards were filled out anonymously (nothing shady about that!).

As a reminder, here are the details:

https://www.firstcoastnews.com/article/news/local/jacksonville-dia-board-violated-sunshine-law-attorneys-say/77-131c4640-06ad-449e-80f9-0cd8165fe183

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The individual scoring sheets submitted anonymously by board members show how close the choice was between Boyer and Flisram.

Based on the individual scoring, three board members put Boyer as their top choice, three board members scored Flisram as the best applicant, one board member’s evaluation put Boyer and Flisram in a tie for the top score, and one board member gave the highest score to Hanna.

The individual scoring sheets show four board members gave their second-highest score to Flisram, two board members gave the second-highest tally to Boyer, and two gave their second-highest scores to Hanna.

If you discounted the scoring, and just looked at the popular vote, Flisram actually won, with an equal number of first place votes as Boyer, along with twice as many second place votes.



So, how could Flisram lose on scoring when he had the same number of first place votes as Boyer, twice as many second place votes, and no third-place votes (vs. two for Boyer)?

When a re-vote was held and board members were forced to put their name on ballots, it turned out that Boyer's win pretty much came down to one board member, Oliver Barakat, who scored scored Boyer three points ahead of the other board member's average (47 points vs. 44 points), and who scored Flisram an insane 12 points below the other board member's average (33 points vs. 45 points).

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Each board member could give a maximum of 50 points. Boyer’s margin came largely from one board member who awarded her 47 points, far ahead of 33 points for Flisram and 31 points for Hanna. That 14-point margin for Boyer made the difference when she emerged as the top scorer from the total votes of all board members by 10 points over Flisram.

Not saying it was a fix or anything (a lot of DIA votes seem to be decided by one outlier tanking the second place candidate), but Oliver Barakat's quote about part of that decision making is really frustrating as someone who wants to see downtown improve yesterday, rather than tomorrow. The internet? Fear of carpetbagging?

Quote
Councilwoman picked to lead DIA
Board cites Lori Boyer's passion as she beats out candidates from New Orleans and Kansas City

https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/2019/05/16/dia-picks-jacksonville-city-councilwoman-lori-boyer-as-new-ceo/5152184007/

Lori Boyer, whose background in finance and deep understanding of city issues saw her become a leading voice on the Jacksonville City Council during her soon-to-end tenure, will be the new CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority.

The DIA’s board of directors picked Boyer on Tuesday after interviewing her and two other finalists, Greg Flisram, a senior vice president for the Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City, and Kevin Hanna, who was a finalist for the DIA’s top job in 2013 and has worked for the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.

While Boyer has never worked for a downtown development agency, the board was still impressed by her resume — before politics, she worked as an attorney and an executive of real-estate and management companies — as well as her familiarity with downtown and Jacksonville’s political landscape.

“I don’t think there’s a more passionate candidate,” said board member Carol Worsham.

Boyer has held her district council seat, which represents San Marco and the surrounding area, since 2011. Term limits will force her to step down this summer.

During her first term, she quickly built a reputation as a sharp legislator who wasn't afraid to dig into the weeds. She scrutinized and opposed many of former Mayor Alvin Brown's initiatives in the waning years of his administration, although her commentary was measured and absent of the bomb-throwing rhetoric used by her colleagues.

These days, she's adopted a much friendlier tone with the Mayor's Office and has become one of Mayor Lenny Curry's strongest allies on the council.

The biggest hurdle Boyer had to overcome in the interview process was a recent opinion from the State Ethics Commission restricting her from lobbying the council for the next two years. The two-year lobbying ban comes from a state law aimed at shuttering the “revolving door” of legislators leaving public office and taking jobs to lobby the same body they served on.

Board members said they were concerned that she wouldn’t be able to directly communicate with council members, who must approve deals the DIA uses to entice development, and asked Boyer how she would deal with the restriction.

Boyer acknowledged it would be a “handicap,” but she said her experience on the council would give the DIA's initiatives credibility with council members, even if she couldn't personally speak with them. And if the DIA needed to lobby the council, Boyer said the agency could hire a lobbyist to handle that work until her cooling-off period expires.

When asked about her vision for downtown, Boyer said one of her goals would be increasing downtown’s residential population to 10,000 residents in the next five years. She said accomplishing that goal would be a major step toward turning downtown into a thriving place.

“Industry relocates based on talent pool. Talent pool looks for a vibrant downtown,” she said.

The other finalists impressed the board with their real-world experience in downtown redevelopment, and several board members pondered whether bringing an outsider would breathe fresh air into the city’s fledgling, and at times struggling, downtown.

“I want a candidate who has been there and done this for a bigger city,” said board member Todd Froats.

Board member Oliver Barakat countered Froats, saying that there are also risks in bringing in an outsider.

“We’ve had out-of-town people come in and bring in new ideas, but they didn’t stick around,” Barakat said. “With the internet, I don’t think it takes a lot of work to figure out the best practices (from around the country.)

The board members scored each candidate after their interviews, and Boyer emerged with the highest score. The board didn’t say who finished second or third.

Can't help but wonder where we'd be right now if we would have had someone with real world experience, rather than learning on the job, heading up the DIA during this last economic cycle.

Will continue to beat the drum that we need proven outside blood heading up the effort.

What we're doing just ain't working.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2024, 11:18:01 AM by Ken_FSU »

CityLife

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Re: The DIA and Lori Boyer Are Doing a Phenomenal Job
« Reply #31 on: January 19, 2024, 02:09:02 PM »
^Nice receipts Ken. Keep up the good fight, sir. Made me go back and look through this thread during her hiring:

https://www.metrojacksonville.com/forum/index.php/topic,35513.0.html

I realize now that I'm a broken record, as I posted this back in that thread in 2019.

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"An opinion issued in April from the Florida Commission of Ethics says a former City Council member is not allowed to represent a group or the city’s interests before the council for two years following their term.

In her interview, she said DIA staff would be used to address the City Council for routine issues, while an outside lobbyist could be hired to represent DIA interests with elected officials for larger development deals."

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/boyer-selected-as-next-downtown-investment-authority-ceo

While Boyer is sharp, has vision, and knows the lay of the land locally; she has no experience running a Downtown Development agency and presumably has minimal development connections outside of Jacksonville. The DIA is going to need a strong number 2. Hopefully, Boyer and co will look for a rising talent from outside of Jacksonville. Ideally someone from Orlando, WPB, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, or Tampa's downtown agencies; or even someone from Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, etc.

It really is insane that they didn't create a Deputy Director position, with Boyer's lack of administrative experience, no outside connections, and two year ban from Council representation. Had a quality #2 been hired back then, there would be a clear and obvious successor in place. Without one, it's much harder to ever get rid of Boyer without a major setback to DIA operations for 6 months to a year. Sweet deal for Boyer. The City? TBD.

That is all in the past though and some mistakes can be blamed on the Mayor. Moving forward, the DIA really needs some big wins in the next year or so.  There are no more excuses.

UrbanistInExile

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Re: The DIA and Lori Boyer Are Doing a Phenomenal Job
« Reply #32 on: January 19, 2024, 03:28:47 PM »
This is the first time I've seen a detailed explainer of how the selection of Boyer went down, and it pretty much explains everything.

jaxlongtimer

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Re: The DIA and Lori Boyer Are Doing a Phenomenal Job
« Reply #33 on: January 20, 2024, 02:02:42 PM »
^The process of picking agency, department, commission, board, etc. heads in Jax echoes the above nearly always.  Same for picking contractors.  If you are local, due to the weighting of "scoring" systems (i.e. rigging the outcome), you are almost always assured a win, no matter how inexperienced you are and how experienced the outsider is.

And, if an outsider does get picked, it is based more on politics than qualifications.

Just look at the State surgeon general, recent college presidents at some state schools, etc.

It is how Zahn was picked to lead JEA or Joe Peppers the Kids Hope Alliance.

Almost every time, it harms the public's interest and is why government often gets black eyes.

vicupstate

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Re: The DIA and Lori Boyer Are Doing a Phenomenal Job
« Reply #34 on: January 21, 2024, 08:42:54 AM »
Just now catching up on this thread. 

Everyone here seems to think the DIA is intended to be independent and has the final authority on things concerning DT. While that is what it NEEDS to be, it is not. It is part and parcel a part of city government and thus will 100% be beholden to city politics.

Wasn't the former DDA under Mayor Delaney and Austin and independent agency just like JEA and Jaxport?  Seems like they had a lot more control and authority than the DIA has.  Frank Nero was the head of it before he went to Miami to head up their DT agency.
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thelakelander

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Re: The DIA and Lori Boyer Are Doing a Phenomenal Job
« Reply #35 on: January 21, 2024, 09:57:49 AM »
Nero was in charge when LaVilla was razed. Even today, there are a lot of references to his name and era from people who were around back then.
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Jax_Developer

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Re: The DIA and Lori Boyer Are Doing a Phenomenal Job
« Reply #36 on: January 21, 2024, 11:31:56 AM »
Just now catching up on this thread. 

Everyone here seems to think the DIA is intended to be independent and has the final authority on things concerning DT. While that is what it NEEDS to be, it is not. It is part and parcel a part of city government and thus will 100% be beholden to city politics.

Wasn't the former DDA under Mayor Delaney and Austin and independent agency just like JEA and Jaxport?  Seems like they had a lot more control and authority than the DIA has.  Frank Nero was the head of it before he went to Miami to head up their DT agency.

Agreed 1000%. If the DIA had any real authority then I would be on board with assigning the blame to the DIA. They are literally a board to make recommendations & keep all the agencies that actually do have real power aligned. I think it’s misguided to say Lori or the DIA is responsible for the current landscape.

You’d have to completely disregard:
- The lack of any transit
- A 2,000+ bed jail in our city center
- Decades of issues surrounding demolition
- Concentrating low-income housing
- A 3.9 square mile DT (inability to focus on one smaller area)

Plug literally anybody in that role & I can tell you with 90% certainty that our outcome wouldn’t be that much different than where we’re at today. The unfortunate reality that people just literally can’t comprehend is that our DT is not “desirable” and prices indicate that. I don’t wanna hear about the “rent psf” downtown because that only applies to the Southbank & Brooklyn. Everywhere else in DT has above average vacancy, with below average rent. Throwing up parks on a blighted riverfront doesn’t solve anything in the short-term.

My biggest gripe with the DIA is guidance. Why are they trying to get skyscrapers when we can’t even build 10-stories for-profit? That makes no sense, but its not their fault we are in this mess. Blame JTA, City Council, and other key players that A). got us here & B). continue to be hurdles for real change. We will never have TOD’s downtown (Artea isn’t a TOD) and we will continue to no be eligible for very simple programs that virtually any other city in the US qualifies for.

vicupstate

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Re: The DIA and Lori Boyer Are Doing a Phenomenal Job
« Reply #37 on: January 21, 2024, 12:21:10 PM »
Razing LaVilla was a mistake  but doing so was part of Ed Austin's River City Renaissance. Not being able to infill LaVilla for 30 years except with a middle school is the biggest example of how badly DT has been managed since. It took decades to build anything except some heavily subsidies residential projects.
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Zac T

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Re: The DIA and Lori Boyer Are Doing a Phenomenal Job
« Reply #38 on: January 21, 2024, 01:01:17 PM »
Just now catching up on this thread. 

Everyone here seems to think the DIA is intended to be independent and has the final authority on things concerning DT. While that is what it NEEDS to be, it is not. It is part and parcel a part of city government and thus will 100% be beholden to city politics.

Wasn't the former DDA under Mayor Delaney and Austin and independent agency just like JEA and Jaxport?  Seems like they had a lot more control and authority than the DIA has.  Frank Nero was the head of it before he went to Miami to head up their DT agency.

Plug literally anybody in that role & I can tell you with 90% certainty that our outcome wouldn’t be that much different than where we’re at today. The unfortunate reality that people just literally can’t comprehend is that our DT is not “desirable” and prices indicate that. I don’t wanna hear about the “rent psf” downtown because that only applies to the Southbank & Brooklyn. Everywhere else in DT has above average vacancy, with below average rent.

Which property has above average vacancy? All market-rate properties in the Northbank (Barnett, Metro Lofts, 11 East, Carling, WA Knight Building, JWB Church Street Apts) are all currently between 97%-100% occupancy and have maintained 95%+ occupancy for the last 10 years with the exception of the Barnett and Church St which were not open.

These vacancy numbers are below average for the metro area which is averaging 94%-96% occupancy

Ken_FSU

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Re: The DIA and Lori Boyer Are Doing a Phenomenal Job
« Reply #39 on: January 21, 2024, 02:38:50 PM »
Just now catching up on this thread. 

Everyone here seems to think the DIA is intended to be independent and has the final authority on things concerning DT. While that is what it NEEDS to be, it is not. It is part and parcel a part of city government and thus will 100% be beholden to city politics.

Wasn't the former DDA under Mayor Delaney and Austin and independent agency just like JEA and Jaxport?  Seems like they had a lot more control and authority than the DIA has.  Frank Nero was the head of it before he went to Miami to head up their DT agency.

Agreed 1000%. If the DIA had any real authority then I would be on board with assigning the blame to the DIA. They are literally a board to make recommendations & keep all the agencies that actually do have real power aligned. I think it’s misguided to say Lori or the DIA is responsible for the current landscape.

I'm just a sucker for accountability, and despite all the machinations behind the scenes that drag down everything we do locally, I think it's totally fair to judge the DIA by the things that they've gone to the press to claim ownership of.

From a marketing perspective, lets look at the outcome of the major RFPs that the DIA has headed up over the last 6 years.

1. 2018 Convention Center RFP. The DIA issued an absurdly unrealistic RFP for a new 200,000 square foot Convention Center. A lot of highly respectable firms put a lot of time and money into their responses. In the end, all parties involved got burned when DIA backtracked and said that Jacksonville wasn't ready for a new convention center after all. Did Curry tank this one to appease Shad? Probably. But it was still a DIA issued RFP (in the Aundra Wallace days) that seemed divorced from reality in terms of scope.

2. 2019 LaVilla Townhomes RFP. A second botched RFP, this one for the Townhomes in LaVilla, choosing a retail-less Vestcor development over a significantly better, more historically appropriate Johnson Commons alternative, with retail. This was another one where scoring was wonky, and the DIA ultimately urged the winner Vestcor to alter their design to be more like the losing design by Johnson Commons. Three years were wasted on the project, with Vestcor eventually backing out and Johnson Commons graciously coming back.

3. 2020 Ford on Bay RFP. The second DIA RFP on the property to fail within two years. Spandrel selected by DIA as the winner, but things fall apart when Spandrel wants to change their design and when everyone figures out that the DIA didn't technically have the right to offer up half the property due to a right-of-first refusal held by the Hyatt. Whoops. Another two years wasted.

3. 2021 Ford on Bay RFP The DIA executing a third botched RFP, for Ford on Bay, this one inexplicably waiving the requirement for retail on Bay Street. Despite stating at the time that they were looking for a developer willing to break ground immediately, the winner (Carter) was given a runway of over two years to work out a development agreement. I believe said agreement would have needed to have been completed last week for this one to not fall apart.

4. 2021 Riverfront Plaza Park RFP. The DIA issues an RFP heavily weighted toward public art. When it came time to score, Parks+Will was chosen as the winner specifically because of their JAX art installation. After public criticism of the "Lerp" statue, the DIA completely backtracks, stating that the sculpture might not even be affordable, making a complete mockery of the selection process.

5. 2023 Riverfront Plaza Private Development Pad RFP. The DIA publicly justifies the rushed demolition of the Jacksonville Landing and the displacement of 30+ businesses because they claim it will make the site more marketable to private development for the RFP. Said RFP - inexplicably pushing for an office user - yields exactly one response, for a wildly unrealistic skyscraper that will require historic levels of publicly subsidy. Despite the fact that said tower is clearly dead, the DIA is still pushing for phased construction of the new Riverfront Plaza park to accommodate the phantom tower.

In terms of marketing Downtown Jacksonville to outside investors or companies for corporate relocation, during one of the biggest population booms of our lifetime, how many outside companies have relocated to downtown Jacksonville? How many national and international investors have projects that have broken ground downtown in the last six years?

What about the DIA's other big-ticket plans?

In early 2020, they announced their Food & Retail Corridor plan, with a list of restaurants they were targeting for downtown relocation. How many did they manage to land, even with 50% subsidies for capital improvements?

Quote
https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/news/2020/jan/17/the-plan-to-spur-downtown-dining-includes-incentives-for-restaurants/

Here is the list of Jacksonville restaurants that the DIA could target for expansion Downtown. The list was created by the jaxrestaurantreviews.com blog as examples of restaurants that would draw people Downtown. DIA officials said the list is preliminary and restaurants could be added.

• 4 Rivers Smokehouse
• Angie’s Subs
• The Bearded Pig
• Catullo’s
• Cinotti’s Bakery and Sandwich Shop
• Domu
• Doro
• Fish Camps/Valley Smoke
• Fish House Group (Orange Park Fish House, Beach Road Fish & Chicken Dinners)
• The French Pantry
• Le Petit Paris
• Pie95 Pizza and Catering
• Safe Harbor Seafood
• Sliders Oyster Bar
• Picasso’s
• Soul Food Bistro
• Terra Gaucha

How about the plans to start two-way conversion of downtown streets announced in 2019?

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/news/2019/oct/18/boyer-advocates-for-downtown-density/

Again, there are clearly roadblocks at City Hall that may have prevented the two-waying of streets, the completion of parks, the disposition of land, etc.

But at the end of the day, you can't bat .100 on projects you claim in your self-congratulatory marketing material (the riverfront, the Trio, the parks, Jones Bros, Independent Life, Ambassador Hotel, Chamblins Apartments, Related Skyscraper, the District) and expect no pushback when everyone gets their contract unanimously renewed and another half-decade is squandered with nothing but demolition to show for it. I wouldn’t get 10% as fired up about if it there was some acknowledgment of the issues from the agencies tasked with fixing them and I wasn’t instead made to feel crazy for not feeling the historic momentum on the streets.

It brings me absolutely no glee to be critical. Those who know me know that I'm a pretty positive dude. But I think it's disingenuous to absolve the DIA of any responsibility for the current landscape when we've seen time and time again that they're pushing for and allowing the wrong things. No retail on Bay Street. A Related restaurant on the Southbank that doesn't interface with Friendship Park. Office use at the Landing. A 200,000 square foot convention center. An innovation corridor that removes on-street parking from Bay Street. Retail-less Townhome developments in LaVilla. A convention center 15 blocks from the CBD in a location currently occupied by a prison when an expansion of the Hyatt's convention space could start driving vibrancy tomorrow. Endless futile RFPs. The end-all be-all goal of 10k residents. This isn't all on the city putting a gun to someone's head.

It doesn't reflect a lack of effort. Doesn't reflect bad faith. But we're gonna be spinning our wheels forever if we don't start bringing in some outside all-stars who are willing to fight tooth and nail with City Hall - independent or not - to push back against some of the major mistakes that we've made during this current DIA run in terms of historic demolition, land use, outside marketing, RFP process, transportation planning, parks, etc. Even if it takes adding a zero to the end of the salary, it'll pay for itself.

And, that's the very last I'll personally say about it.

It's spilled milk at this point. I've got a lot of faith in our new mayor and some very smart people she has guiding her.

I'm ready to be proven wrong. Clean slate.

I can't keep eating Jimmy John's like four times a week. It ain't healthy for a guy.

Let's go.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2024, 02:56:26 PM by Ken_FSU »

Jax_Developer

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Re: The DIA and Lori Boyer Are Doing a Phenomenal Job
« Reply #40 on: January 22, 2024, 08:09:18 AM »
Just now catching up on this thread. 

Everyone here seems to think the DIA is intended to be independent and has the final authority on things concerning DT. While that is what it NEEDS to be, it is not. It is part and parcel a part of city government and thus will 100% be beholden to city politics.

Wasn't the former DDA under Mayor Delaney and Austin and independent agency just like JEA and Jaxport?  Seems like they had a lot more control and authority than the DIA has.  Frank Nero was the head of it before he went to Miami to head up their DT agency.

Plug literally anybody in that role & I can tell you with 90% certainty that our outcome wouldn’t be that much different than where we’re at today. The unfortunate reality that people just literally can’t comprehend is that our DT is not “desirable” and prices indicate that. I don’t wanna hear about the “rent psf” downtown because that only applies to the Southbank & Brooklyn. Everywhere else in DT has above average vacancy, with below average rent.

Which property has above average vacancy? All market-rate properties in the Northbank (Barnett, Metro Lofts, 11 East, Carling, WA Knight Building, JWB Church Street Apts) are all currently between 97%-100% occupancy and have maintained 95%+ occupancy for the last 10 years with the exception of the Barnett and Church St which were not open.

These vacancy numbers are below average for the metro area which is averaging 94%-96% occupancy

Office & Retail vacancy downtown are above our metro averages. Retail sales in the Northbank are 2/3 the value of our MSA average. Our northbank office property has lower than average rental rates. The same submarket that has skyscraper office space. We have like 1.3M square feet of vacancy just on the Northbank alone right now.

The residential market doesn’t have an accurate comparison yet because well, there’s really no market-rate apartments on the Northbank. We’re talking about less than 2,000 free market units for the entire submarket. Supply demonstrates the lack of demand there. There isn’t a single RE sector on the Northbank that is doing better than average, or has in quite a while. Otherwise, the apartment market wouldn’t be non-existent.



Ken, I agree with you that the RFP’s have had issues. I do agree they are responsible for some very botched proposals. I don’t think they are all the DIA’s responsibility however. The Ford on Bay & the American Lions building are very difficult parcels to be built on right now. The other botches are where I see real issue. They don’t seem to understand the market when they make public comment on what they “want” in those same RFP’s.

thelakelander

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Re: The DIA and Lori Boyer Are Doing a Phenomenal Job
« Reply #41 on: January 22, 2024, 10:43:22 AM »
That wish list of restaurants should have never been published. I get the desire to have said types of businesses in downtown but it doesn't do anyone any favors in the effort to bring it to fruition. The pandemic didn't help either. F&B will generally need to cluster to be more successful. A refurbished space like the Landing would have been a viable spot for a development entity to work with.
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: The DIA and Lori Boyer Are Doing a Phenomenal Job
« Reply #42 on: January 22, 2024, 06:02:39 PM »
The unfortunate reality that people just literally can’t comprehend is that our DT is not “desirable” and prices indicate that. I don’t wanna hear about the “rent psf” downtown because that only applies to the Southbank & Brooklyn. Everywhere else in DT has above average vacancy, with below average rent. Throwing up parks on a blighted riverfront doesn’t solve anything in the short-term.

JD, I agree that DT is not desirable.  But, by the end of your statements above, you hit on what I say would help make it desirable so not sure of your approach.  Active parks, attractive streetscapes, good mass transit (WITHIN, not just without, Downtown), quality public infrastructure, historic preservation and good zoning will make DT desirable.  Nothing else will compare despite best efforts by developers.  They can't do it alone.  No developer has the scope and scale to do what City Hall can do to make DT desirable.

I have long advocated that the City should invest in the above before considering incentives for developers to maximize ROI for the taxpayers and developers.  Just look at the pictures of what downtowns look like elsewhere as posted in Jaxson articles.

The only positive we have is, ultimately, the Emerald Trail.  Maybe when City leaders see the impact of that, they will get the message finally.


Ken_FSU

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Re: The DIA and Lori Boyer Are Doing a Phenomenal Job
« Reply #43 on: January 22, 2024, 06:24:48 PM »
The unfortunate reality that people just literally can’t comprehend is that our DT is not “desirable” and prices indicate that. I don’t wanna hear about the “rent psf” downtown because that only applies to the Southbank & Brooklyn. Everywhere else in DT has above average vacancy, with below average rent. Throwing up parks on a blighted riverfront doesn’t solve anything in the short-term.

JD, I agree that DT is not desirable.  But, by the end of your statements above, you hit on what I say would help make it desirable so not sure of your approach.  Active parks, attractive streetscapes, good mass transit (WITHIN, not just without, Downtown), quality public infrastructure, historic preservation and good zoning will make DT desirable.  Nothing else will compare despite best efforts by developers.  They can't do it alone.  No developer has the scope and scale to do what City Hall can do to make DT

Preach!

With parks and projects progressing in Brooklyn, LaVilla, and the CBD, I don’t know if there’s a single more baffling miss than the JTA abandoning plans for a no-frills Skyway Station in Brooklyn.

Cost of the station was put at roughly $500k to $800k in 2020 by JTA (https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/local/2020/03/13/on-road-new-skyway-station-planned-for-jacksonvillersquos-booming-brooklyn-area/112246466/).

Pound for pound, I don’t know if there’s a better half million, or million, to be spent anywhere else downtown.

Hopefully this is something the new administration might be able to make a push for.

thelakelander

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Re: The DIA and Lori Boyer Are Doing a Phenomenal Job
« Reply #44 on: January 22, 2024, 06:38:12 PM »
JTA is baffling altogether.  They have all the resources in the world and a community that actually desires better mass transit options....yet mysterious finds ways to spend big bucks getting the basics wrong. That Brooklyn station is one of several examples. Instead, we'll spend nearly $20 million on a U2C shed on a street where a Whole Foods is going up, when we already have three similar facilities within walking distance.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2024, 06:40:36 PM by thelakelander »
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