Author Topic: Three high-impact downtown developments could require $244 million in incentives  (Read 10181 times)

Captain Zissou

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All in all, I hate to say it, but a new fancy shiny tower, with amazing views, right on the Southbank, might end up getting a lot more attention than what it is being compared to on the Northbank. You can park in your private garage, go up the elevator to your fancy unit with a view, and never interact with the street-level shenanigans that come with downtowns, since they will goto at the Publix in San Marco. The Northbank will certainly be more impactful, but will it sell a lifestyle like Related? Probably not. Time will tell.

For a small portion of the population, this might be the case.  As you've stated, 600,000 people have recently moved to the area from other parts of the country, and I would guess that plenty of those are from large mid-atlantic to northeastern cities.  If there was a thriving downtown with 18 hour daily activities, dining, shopping, and great public spaces, I think downtown would draw many of those transplants in.  Gateway's project will incorporate a grocery store, high end dining and retail, fitness, and other amenities that will make the area a live, work, play community and create the environment that many of these transplants are used to.  There are also a number of people living in the urban core communities who would move downtown if it offered the same dining and retail that they experience now. 

If someone wanted the Related experience you detailed, they could already achieve it at the Strand, Berkman, San Marco Place, or the Peninsula.  There is nothing like what Gateway is proposing that currently exists in downtown.

thelakelander

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However in our situation, consolidation has not worked out well for our DT & several other parts of town. CityLife has commented on this before as well... Our planning staff, commission, etc. are all stretched to cover more than any other municipality in Florida. There's no way you can convince me that our local code/government is set up to be anywhere near as fluid as Orlando, Tampa, or St. Pete. In the time I have worked here, there have been 0 meaningful zoning changes to speak of through legislation. Meanwhile... all three cities listed above have implemented several overlays & code changes over the same time period.

How is not consolidating working out for Detroit, Toledo or Buffalo? All are a mess economically. I'm not trying to convince anyone that our comprehensive plan is out of date and should be overhauled. I'm 100% in favor of updating our archaic zoning policies. However, that would be the case, with or without consolidation. Regardless of the form of government, if we don't have competent decision makers at the wheel, we're screwed. Also, about staff being stretched to thin, that's another local decision. We have plenty of budget to hire more staff....if that's a city hall priority. These are items I find it hard to fault the government structure for, as I've worked with small disfunctional municipal agencies as well.

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This isn't Jax specific. Its a national problem we struggle to overcome and properly address.

This isn't true. While many of the Southeast cities continue mass suburbia, we are building more urban housing now than in decades. Most major urban centers have better schools, and more modern infrastructure. That's why many people choose to pay more to live in cities. Our DT lacks all the major components that drive demand to downtown or urban living. We also happen to have a river, so we also do have the bonus of a nature component.

Sorry, I could have misunderstood what you were trying to say but I can't think of one city where it is harder to develop in areas with good schools, new public infrastructure, low crime, more available land, etc, than those suffering from high crime, bad schools, lack of infrastructure investment, land, etc. Addressing the inequitable "tale of two zip codes" is a national problem that keeps people like me employed.

Quote
All in all, I hate to say it, but a new fancy shiny tower, with amazing views, right on the Southbank, might end up getting a lot more attention than what it is being compared to on the Northbank. You can park in your private garage, go up the elevator to your fancy unit with a view, and never interact with the street-level shenanigans that come with downtowns, since they will goto at the Publix in San Marco. The Northbank will certainly be more impactful, but will it sell a lifestyle like Related? Probably not. Time will tell.

Related will only have 410 residential units and one restaurant. Gateway will have over 1,000 units and significantly more retail/dining that's integrated into the surrounding urban environment. Each comes with a tower. Related at 25 floors and Gateway at 22 floors. Gateway's will likely break ground first. Other than personal preference regarding architecture or location, there's not much difference in height to amount to anything that we haven't already experienced in the past with the Strand, Peninsula, Berkman, etc. While pretty cool to have a larger skyline that lights up at night (which both will add too) we need significant impact at the pedestrian level to really transform the urban environment. Regardless of its its a high-rise, or 6-story stick frame infill, getting things designed right at the pedestrian level will be one of the most important elements required to activate downtown in a manner that draws a large amount of people from all sorts of backgrounds and economic levels.
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jaxjags

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Can someone update the most recent status of the Gateway project and what is the next major milestone?

thelakelander

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A mid-2024 ground breaking on the 22-story tower was the last I heard.
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Jax_Developer

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All in all, I hate to say it, but a new fancy shiny tower, with amazing views, right on the Southbank, might end up getting a lot more attention than what it is being compared to on the Northbank. You can park in your private garage, go up the elevator to your fancy unit with a view, and never interact with the street-level shenanigans that come with downtowns, since they will goto at the Publix in San Marco. The Northbank will certainly be more impactful, but will it sell a lifestyle like Related? Probably not. Time will tell.

For a small portion of the population, this might be the case.  As you've stated, 600,000 people have recently moved to the area from other parts of the country, and I would guess that plenty of those are from large mid-atlantic to northeastern cities.  If there was a thriving downtown with 18 hour daily activities, dining, shopping, and great public spaces, I think downtown would draw many of those transplants in.  Gateway's project will incorporate a grocery store, high end dining and retail, fitness, and other amenities that will make the area a live, work, play community and create the environment that many of these transplants are used to.  There are also a number of people living in the urban core communities who would move downtown if it offered the same dining and retail that they experience now. 

If someone wanted the Related experience you detailed, they could already achieve it at the Strand, Berkman, San Marco Place, or the Peninsula.  There is nothing like what Gateway is proposing that currently exists in downtown.

The Strand & Peninsula are the only two that are even remotely relevant in this conversation, and both of them are market leaders for pricing on the Southbank. Moreover, both are almost 20 years old now, so what you're implying is not entirely accurate. Most units in the Peninsula have been extensively renovated. Is someone in Jacksonville going to pay top dollar for a 20-year old product? Probably not, unless it's PVB.

However in our situation, consolidation has not worked out well for our DT & several other parts of town. CityLife has commented on this before as well... Our planning staff, commission, etc. are all stretched to cover more than any other municipality in Florida. There's no way you can convince me that our local code/government is set up to be anywhere near as fluid as Orlando, Tampa, or St. Pete. In the time I have worked here, there have been 0 meaningful zoning changes to speak of through legislation. Meanwhile... all three cities listed above have implemented several overlays & code changes over the same time period.

How is not consolidating working out for Detroit, Toledo or Buffalo? All are a mess economically. I'm not trying to convince anyone that our comprehensive plan is out of date and should be overhauled. I'm 100% in favor of updating our archaic zoning policies. However, that would be the case, with or without consolidation. Regardless of the form of government, if we don't have competent decision makers at the wheel, we're screwed. Also, about staff being stretched to thin, that's another local decision. We have plenty of budget to hire more staff....if that's a city hall priority. These are items I find it hard to fault the government structure for, as I've worked with small disfunctional municipal agencies as well.

Quote
Quote
This isn't Jax specific. Its a national problem we struggle to overcome and properly address.

This isn't true. While many of the Southeast cities continue mass suburbia, we are building more urban housing now than in decades. Most major urban centers have better schools, and more modern infrastructure. That's why many people choose to pay more to live in cities. Our DT lacks all the major components that drive demand to downtown or urban living. We also happen to have a river, so we also do have the bonus of a nature component.

Sorry, I could have misunderstood what you were trying to say but I can't think of one city where it is harder to develop in areas with good schools, new public infrastructure, low crime, more available land, etc, than those suffering from high crime, bad schools, lack of infrastructure investment, land, etc. Addressing the inequitable "tale of two zip codes" is a national problem that keeps people like me employed.

Quote
All in all, I hate to say it, but a new fancy shiny tower, with amazing views, right on the Southbank, might end up getting a lot more attention than what it is being compared to on the Northbank. You can park in your private garage, go up the elevator to your fancy unit with a view, and never interact with the street-level shenanigans that come with downtowns, since they will goto at the Publix in San Marco. The Northbank will certainly be more impactful, but will it sell a lifestyle like Related? Probably not. Time will tell.

Related will only have 410 residential units and one restaurant. Gateway will have over 1,000 units and significantly more retail/dining that's integrated into the surrounding urban environment. Each comes with a tower. Related at 25 floors and Gateway at 22 floors. Gateway's will likely break ground first. Other than personal preference regarding architecture or location, there's not much difference in height to amount to anything that we haven't already experienced in the past with the Strand, Peninsula, Berkman, etc. While pretty cool to have a larger skyline that lights up at night (which both will add too) we need significant impact at the pedestrian level to really transform the urban environment. Regardless of its its a high-rise, or 6-story stick frame infill, getting things designed right at the pedestrian level will be one of the most important elements required to activate downtown in a manner that draws a large amount of people from all sorts of backgrounds and economic levels.

In most markets, the locations with better schools, more space & amenities are often NIMBY. Ponte Vedra Beach is a great example locally & Atlantic Beach more recently. Even today, you can goto both areas and find empty lots, large & small. That's why Jacksonville benefits when St. Johns slows down building. If you asked the average person, they would likely choose St. Johns over Jacksonville. Same goes for the 10,000+ acres rezoned north of Nocatee. These locations will certainly become NIMBY areas in 10-20 years. We're already seeing it with St. Johns County.

Lake I do agree with you on Gateway particularly. That project should yield the greatest impact! But, again... they have pull more off. It can certainly happen, and I am rooting for it... If you look at the tallest buildings under construction nationwide, a good percentage of them have a project profile that is extremely similar to Related. "Cool" housing with a view is very desirable in today's market.

thelakelander

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If you asked the average person, they would likely choose St. Johns over Jacksonville. Same goes for the 10,000+ acres rezoned north of Nocatee.

Only if we consider the average person of a certain homogeneous demographic. I literally have no desire to be in St. Johns County. Nothing there appeals to me that wasn't in much larger supply from where I came from in Central Florida. I wouldn't touch the place with a ten-foot pole. Nothing against those that are attracted to that type of lifestyle, it's just not my cup of tea. DT Jax will never out sprawl....sprawl cookie cutter subdivisions and autocentric strip malls. 

There's hundreds of thousands out here who share the same sentiment. I'd agrue that it would be good for the future of downtown (and the urban core) to focus on appealing to a different market and demographic. Appeal to the segment of the market that is already there, nearby or attracted to what makes the area unique. This means also revamping the zoning code to facilitate a different growth pattern and finally investing in the public infrastructure, parks, schools, etc. at a similar level as we've done in the burbs since WWII. The tall buildings will eventually be viable again when there's a reason for a larger segment of the population to spend time and money in the vicinity.
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Jax_Developer

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If you asked the average person, they would likely choose St. Johns over Jacksonville. Same goes for the 10,000+ acres rezoned north of Nocatee.

Only if we consider the average person of a certain homogeneous demographic. I literally have no desire to be in St. Johns County. Nothing there appeals to me that wasn't in much larger supply from where I came from in Central Florida. I wouldn't touch the place with a ten-foot pole. Nothing against those that are attracted to that type of lifestyle, it's just not my cup of tea. DT Jax will never out sprawl....sprawl cookie cutter subdivisions and autocentric strip malls. 

There's hundreds of thousands out here who share the same sentiment. I'd agrue that it would be good for the future of downtown (and the urban core) to focus on appealing to a different market and demographic. Appeal to the segment of the market that is already there, nearby or attracted to what makes the area unique. This means also revamping the zoning code to facilitate a different growth pattern and finally investing in the public infrastructure, parks, schools, etc. at a similar level as we've done in the burbs since WWII. The tall buildings will eventually be viable again when there's a reason for a larger segment of the population to spend time and money in the vicinity.

By "Only if we consider the average person of a certain homogeneous demographic" do you mean white people? Because in Florida, more than 50% of the state is white non-hispanic. I can assure you that St. Johns attracts people outside of an average white American. Even so, I mentioned average & if you take demographics out of this completely, pricing proves my point. I don't think DT is competing with St. Johns for housing families, but they certainly are housing more than just families in St. Johns with the thousands of apartments that were built there between 2018-2023.

thelakelander

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^No, I never said anything about race. Homogeneous demographic = people who like suburban living.
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thelakelander

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If you asked the average person, they would likely choose St. Johns over Jacksonville. Same goes for the 10,000+ acres rezoned north of Nocatee.

Only if we consider the average person of a certain homogeneous demographic. I literally have no desire to be in St. Johns County. Nothing there appeals to me that wasn't in much larger supply from where I came from in Central Florida. I wouldn't touch the place with a ten-foot pole. Nothing against those that are attracted to that type of lifestyle, it's just not my cup of tea. DT Jax will never out sprawl....sprawl cookie cutter subdivisions and autocentric strip malls. 

There's hundreds of thousands out here who share the same sentiment. I'd agrue that it would be good for the future of downtown (and the urban core) to focus on appealing to a different market and demographic. Appeal to the segment of the market that is already there, nearby or attracted to what makes the area unique. This means also revamping the zoning code to facilitate a different growth pattern and finally investing in the public infrastructure, parks, schools, etc. at a similar level as we've done in the burbs since WWII. The tall buildings will eventually be viable again when there's a reason for a larger segment of the population to spend time and money in the vicinity.

By "Only if we consider the average person of a certain homogeneous demographic" do you mean white people? Because in Florida, more than 50% of the state is white non-hispanic. I can assure you that St. Johns attracts people outside of an average white American. Even so, I mentioned average & if you take demographics out of this completely, pricing proves my point. I don't think DT is competing with St. Johns for housing families, but they certainly are housing more than just families in St. Johns with the thousands of apartments that were built there between 2018-2023.

While I didn't bring up race, I will also add that Jacksonville's racial and ethic demographics are different from Florida's as well. White non-hispanic is already the minority and its going to continue to shrink as we grow to become a more multicultural community. This is actually a huge plus, if this reality is catered to in relationship to downtown's future. It's something that no other suburban county in this region can mimick.

Even in the urban core, we could use thousands of more multifamily units, missing middle housing, etc. at various price points and development types to cater to the demand. Considering our urban core is built for two or three times as many people than it holds today, it's a huge market opportunity that could be unleashed through the help of zoning modifications and additional investment in public infrastructure, parks, schools, etc.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2024, 11:26:31 AM by thelakelander »
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Jax_Developer

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If you asked the average person, they would likely choose St. Johns over Jacksonville. Same goes for the 10,000+ acres rezoned north of Nocatee.

Only if we consider the average person of a certain homogeneous demographic. I literally have no desire to be in St. Johns County. Nothing there appeals to me that wasn't in much larger supply from where I came from in Central Florida. I wouldn't touch the place with a ten-foot pole. Nothing against those that are attracted to that type of lifestyle, it's just not my cup of tea. DT Jax will never out sprawl....sprawl cookie cutter subdivisions and autocentric strip malls. 

There's hundreds of thousands out here who share the same sentiment. I'd agrue that it would be good for the future of downtown (and the urban core) to focus on appealing to a different market and demographic. Appeal to the segment of the market that is already there, nearby or attracted to what makes the area unique. This means also revamping the zoning code to facilitate a different growth pattern and finally investing in the public infrastructure, parks, schools, etc. at a similar level as we've done in the burbs since WWII. The tall buildings will eventually be viable again when there's a reason for a larger segment of the population to spend time and money in the vicinity.

By "Only if we consider the average person of a certain homogeneous demographic" do you mean white people? Because in Florida, more than 50% of the state is white non-hispanic. I can assure you that St. Johns attracts people outside of an average white American. Even so, I mentioned average & if you take demographics out of this completely, pricing proves my point. I don't think DT is competing with St. Johns for housing families, but they certainly are housing more than just families in St. Johns with the thousands of apartments that were built there between 2018-2023.

While I didn't bring up race, I will also add that Jacksonville's racial and ethic demographics are different from Florida's as well. White non-hispanic is already the minority and its going to continue to shrink as we grow to become a more multicultural community. This is actually a huge plus, if this reality is catered to in relationship to downtown's future. It's something that no other suburban county in this region can mimick.

Even in the urban core, we could use thousands of more multifamily units, missing middle housing, etc. at various price points and development types to cater to the demand. Considering our urban core is built for two or three times as many people than it holds today, it's a huge market opportunity that could be unleashed through the help of zoning modifications and additional investment in public infrastructure, parks, schools, etc.

https://www.jacksonville.gov/departments/office-of-economic-development/about-jacksonville/demographics

I'm just following the stats online. The demographics for our combined metro are of course more skewed. Nonetheless, it is a bold claim to say that St. Johns does not contribute to the economic drain in Jacksonville. Quite literally, there are thousands of people from Jacksonville who have packed up from their 1980-1990's built subdivisions, and have moved to their 2010-2020's built subdivisions. It's a textbook example. Properties like Related speak to a different audience that really only the Vista Brooklyn & the Strand currently see. Both having some of the highest rents in the city for apartments.

I've mentioned this before, and others have too, but this project could prove that the Southbank CRA should be sunsetted. There really isn't the need for incentives there if they are able to achieve rents near $3 psf. Throw the extra funding towards the Northbank where it is really needed. Again, only if Related is right about their pro forma.

thelakelander

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I find it hard to believe that St. Johns is impacting anything we can and can't do in downtown. Historically, downtown's biggest challenges have been self inflicted wounds and it's impossible to talk market realities in downtown without accounting for our mistakes there.
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WarDamJagFan

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If you asked the average person, they would likely choose St. Johns over Jacksonville. Same goes for the 10,000+ acres rezoned north of Nocatee.

Only if we consider the average person of a certain homogeneous demographic. I literally have no desire to be in St. Johns County. Nothing there appeals to me that wasn't in much larger supply from where I came from in Central Florida. I wouldn't touch the place with a ten-foot pole. Nothing against those that are attracted to that type of lifestyle, it's just not my cup of tea. DT Jax will never out sprawl....sprawl cookie cutter subdivisions and autocentric strip malls. 

There's hundreds of thousands out here who share the same sentiment. I'd agrue that it would be good for the future of downtown (and the urban core) to focus on appealing to a different market and demographic. Appeal to the segment of the market that is already there, nearby or attracted to what makes the area unique. This means also revamping the zoning code to facilitate a different growth pattern and finally investing in the public infrastructure, parks, schools, etc. at a similar level as we've done in the burbs since WWII. The tall buildings will eventually be viable again when there's a reason for a larger segment of the population to spend time and money in the vicinity.

By "Only if we consider the average person of a certain homogeneous demographic" do you mean white people? Because in Florida, more than 50% of the state is white non-hispanic. I can assure you that St. Johns attracts people outside of an average white American. Even so, I mentioned average & if you take demographics out of this completely, pricing proves my point. I don't think DT is competing with St. Johns for housing families, but they certainly are housing more than just families in St. Johns with the thousands of apartments that were built there between 2018-2023.

While I didn't bring up race, I will also add that Jacksonville's racial and ethic demographics are different from Florida's as well. White non-hispanic is already the minority and its going to continue to shrink as we grow to become a more multicultural community. This is actually a huge plus, if this reality is catered to in relationship to downtown's future. It's something that no other suburban county in this region can mimick.

Even in the urban core, we could use thousands of more multifamily units, missing middle housing, etc. at various price points and development types to cater to the demand. Considering our urban core is built for two or three times as many people than it holds today, it's a huge market opportunity that could be unleashed through the help of zoning modifications and additional investment in public infrastructure, parks, schools, etc.

I always find it interesting how demographics are interpreted. No matter where, a shrinking white population is always considered a "huge plus" because diversity. On the other side of the coin, if an area is mostly black and sees the black population shrink because of others moving in, then it's considered gentrification and a negative impact for the area. Given the low crime rates, quality schools, income and health demographics of St Johns County, wouldn't we want more of that in DT vs what's already around the area which is - high crime, poor health, terrible schools?

jcjohnpaint

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The only thing that makes us consider leaving town is the schools. All cities have crime and out of control sprawl. Some of these cities have it much worse and still have much better cores.

WarDamJagFan

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The only thing that makes us consider leaving town is the schools. All cities have crime and out of control sprawl. Some of these cities have it much worse and still have much better cores.

Atlanta being exhibit A.  Booming core plus endless sprawl. Don't know much about their public school system but the traffic literally sent me packing back home to Jax in 2011.

fsu813

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The only thing that makes us consider leaving town is the schools. All cities have crime and out of control sprawl. Some of these cities have it much worse and still have much better cores.

Recently went through the process of navigating school entry, as my oldest is coming of age. I'm in a poorly rated school district, so the local zoned school wasn't an option. We toured public schools, charter schools, and private schools. Think 7 total, some more than once. I learned that there are A LOT of school choice options, so not difficult to find a quality school if you have means to transport kids to and from. But because there are a lot, it's also more complicated and thus can be intimidating. Of the schools toured, we would have been comfortable at 4 of them, and got into 3 of those - one private, one charter, one public (via school preference). We chose the public.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2024, 03:22:44 PM by fsu813 »