Author Topic: Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer  (Read 4948 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer
« on: September 12, 2007, 11:45:00 AM »
Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer



In response to recent photos showing the Sax Seafood Bar   Grill site as a make-shift homeless camp, fences have been installed around the abandoned construction site.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/579

thelakelander

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Re: Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2007, 12:11:06 PM »
Does anyone have an idea if Sax is still in the works?
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Jason

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Re: Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2007, 12:39:34 PM »
If I were a homeless guy all I'd have to do is find a pit-bull make frinds with him and throw him and myself over that fence.  He'll keep the other guys out and we'll both have a great place to live.

copperfiend

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Re: Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2007, 01:09:19 PM »
Am I wrong for guessing this project is dead?

vicupstate

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Re: Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2007, 02:02:04 PM »
Is it any wonder DT is going nowhere, when some crackpot can get $2mm for a restaurant that couldn't get financing in the private sector, a parking garage operation gets a guaranteed rate of return, but the city won't put up half a million to bring the parking meters out of the 1940's.

 
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thelakelander

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Re: Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2007, 02:14:44 PM »
If Sax is dead, which it appears to be, why can't this building be marketed or put on sale for someone else to take over?  Its a brand new building off State & Union.  Also, where's all of the public money given to this group.  Where's the accountability?
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fsujax

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Re: Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2007, 03:36:15 PM »
I can not believe that this project is dragging like this? How can this be happening and not one local news agency pick up on it? I bet if it got some exposure, things might change. Until then, what a great entry to Downtown of off I-95....welcome to DT Jax, how do you like our $2 million homeless camp with a fence around it now?

tufsu1

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Re: Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2007, 05:34:31 PM »
not sure about this situation, but most of the JEDC grants aren't paid until construction is complete

thelakelander

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Re: Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2007, 05:42:15 PM »
I read somewhere a while back that they have about $200k or so.  I'll dig around and see if I can find the old TU article with that information.
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02roadking

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Re: Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2007, 06:45:25 PM »
Daily Record info...

02/23/2005
by Bradley Parsons
Staff Writer

After two years on the drawing board, a planned LaVilla restaurant looks to be moving closer to reality.

The Downtown Development Authority first looked at plans for the LaVilla Bistro in early 2003. The City Council approved a $2 million incentive package six months later that cleared the way for the neighborhood’s first restaurant since the LaVilla Grille closed in 2002. The land bordered by State, Union, Madison and Davis streets has sat vacant since.

But the Orlando developers are now seeking approval for some final design changes that could indicate ground is about to be broken.

The Orlando partnership, Jax Casual Dining, LLC, will submit its latest plans to the Design and Review Committee at its Thursday afternoon meeting. In addition to minor design changes in the roof and facade, the developers have also changed the name. The restaurant will now be known as Sax Seafood and Grill.

If the DRC approves the changes, work could begin as soon as permits are granted. The Jacksonville Economic Development Commission and the City Council have already signed off.

An incentive package that calls for a $100,000 grant and a $1.9 million loan from the Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund is still available, said JEDC spokesperson Jean Moyer.

“The only thing that’s changed is the name,” she said.

The deal encountered some resistance from City Council members who thought the incentive dollars were being used to force the market for a restaurant in the area. It passed 11-6. Supporters said the restaurant would be a welcome addition to a neighborhood that the City has committed to redeveloping.

The deal would also represent a substantial capital investment in the area, according to the JEDC’s analysis. The developers would invest more than $2.4 million to build the 6,000 square-foot restaurant, which would be similar to a Fridays or Applebee’s.

6 months later:

08/25/2005
J. Brooks Terry
Staff writer

  It’s taken a while to iron out the deal, but construction on a new LaVilla restaurant is finally moving forward. Sax Seafood and Grill is expected to open by November.
  Located at the corner of Union, Davis and Madison Streets, plans to build the 6,000-square-foot building have been on the City’s radar for some time.
  In 2002, Jax Casual Dining was selected by the City to develop the long-vacant LaVilla site with a jazz-concept restaurant, LaVilla Bistro.
  Years later, the more than $2 million project has somewhat changed. The jazzy atmosphere is still a component, but the seafood flavor is new.
  Representatives from the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission, who are monitoring the project’s progress, said everything is on track with Sax and that tours of the site are being taken from time to time.
  Jax Casual Dining is using a $1.9 million low interest City loan to subsidize construction efforts. Aside from that and an $81,000 grant awarded for site preparation, the rest is being privately financed.

Springfield since 1998

downtownparks

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Re: Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2007, 12:18:02 AM »
Why exactly should the City subsidize restaurants?

To make them feel better about tearing down the entire neighborhood. White guilt is a powerful thing.

Jerry Moran

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Re: Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2007, 04:35:12 AM »
I emailed Kirk Wendland,  who headed the JEDC way back in 2004, about the folly of funding this project.  The original emails are unavailable due to a disk crash in 2006. Christ, I'd love to post those messages here, but I've searched multiple back-up drives and can't find them. There is nothing "convenient" about the loss, as the content would now damn the judgement of the City and the JEDC.  All I have is an email to Ron Littlepage 4/07 about this abomination of a use of public funds. I can remember that the City Council intended to turn the project down, and then watching what looked like a cast of extras from a Michael Jackson video sand-bagging the Council at a regular meeting. 

Quote
Insert Quote
Sax seems to be along the lines of the fraternity house "renovations" to Genovar Hall, i.e. nothing more than a political payoff to a favored interest group.  What a joke!  And the City wonders why taxpayers are not too concerned when they cry about not having enough money due to impending property tax reforms from the State.

Seems to me that when a well advertised RFP goes out, and then is ignored by every national chain restaurant concept, something is wrong with the location.  Also, a local restaurateur, with some experience, advises against the project. A minority Orlando attorney, who has ties to a (then) successful seafood restaurant in Winter Park, picks up on the offer, and enlists the local a-m leadership (ministers) to push the deal through the City Council on pain of accusations of racism... Here we are today.

Ron Littlepage responds to my 4/08/07 email:

Quote
yep. that's on the list. good one to check into. it was a loan of $1.9 million of which $1 million has been received. project is listed as "ongoing" but i'm not sure what's involved. will try to find out.


On Apr 8, 2007, at 6:29 AM, Jerry Moran wrote:


The La Villa Bistro A.K.A. Sax Seafood Grill??   or something like that.  What happened to the sign "Opening Fall 2005", and the $1M loan and $100K grant.  The place was supposed to "...employ 100 workers" if I recall the T-U story correctly.  I emailed Kirk Wendland of the JEDC  back then about throwing money away on a project that didn't have a chance of success.  Wendland actually returned my call to voice mail before he likely asked someone "Who the hell is Jerry Moran."  Never heard from him again.

These stupid decisions, and guilt driven wastes of money by the City must stop.  Hopefully, the new members of the City Council recognize this, and are willing to yield to reason over emotion.  Imagine what good those resources would have done had they been allocated to the JSO.

Don't even think of accusing me of racism based on this posting.  I've got one of just about everything working at my restaurant, and we're all family. 

« Last Edit: September 13, 2007, 04:48:05 AM by Jerry Moran »

thelakelander

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Re: Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2007, 05:18:56 AM »
Here's the old article I mentioned earlier:

A good deal?

$100 million of your money. That's how much the JEDC has promised to bring businesses (and jobs) here. But how are the returns on these investments adding up?

Quote
By JOE LIGHT
The Times-Union

Such has been a recurring discussion among city leaders struggling to pinpoint where to draw the line when giving money to companies that intend to bring jobs to Jacksonville.

Criticism of incentives reached a crescendo last fall, during the approval of a deal for Fidelity National Financial, after which company officials said they came "pretty close" to abandoning the project altogether.

At the root of the problem: the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission had no measuring stick to judge which deals were good and which deals were bad. Since the earliest deals in the mid-90s, the JEDC has approved an average of about $2,230 in city incentives for every job created among deals that created 50 or more jobs. Private companies have intended to invest about $16 in infrastructure for every dollar the city promised.

Now, since the approval of its public investment policy in June, the JEDC does try to objectively measure them.

Using a couple of the tools that the JEDC now has to judge projects, The Times-Union looked at the deals the JEDC has approved since the mid-1990s to find how the commission's past decisions measure up to today's standards. The search was narrowed to projects that created 50 or more jobs to root out deals that were likely struck for reasons other than economic development or bringing new jobs to Jacksonville.

Uneven matches spur reforms

From the creation of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission in 1996 to the end of last year, the city has approved nearly $100 million worth of incentives for projects that created or retained 50 or more jobs. The group has given out almost $51 million as of the end of last year, according to the JEDC figures.

JEDC officials say that money is expected to create or retain about 45,000 jobs and bring $1.6 billion in capital investment for companies building facilities to expand their businesses. Some companies that have finished their projects have ultimately created fewer jobs or invested less money, and others have created and invested more.

But every deal the JEDC approves isn't economic-based. Some money, such as that drawn from the Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund, has gone to projects less focused on bringing a bigger tax base and more on bringing retail to distressed areas.

That was the case with T.C. Bar-B-Que, for example, which had received about $123,000 of its $130,000 incentive package as of Dec. 31. In comparison, the owners invested about $22,000 and created six jobs.

In the past, the JEDC has also approved money to spur the construction or renovation of condominiums and apartments downtown. In one of the most criticized deals, the commission approved almost $40 million for TriLegacy Group to make public improvements to the Shipyards on Jacksonville's Northbank. At the same time that city officials alleged that the money was misspent, Mayor John Peyton charged the JEDC to reorganize and realign itself to ensure the right projects got the right amount of incentives.

Now, in an attempt to objectively calculate incentives, JEDC staff score projects based on several criteria. The most important of those is the ratio of private money invested to public money given and the city cost to bring each job.

"Before this, there was no consistent, formal investment policy," said JEDC executive director Ron Barton. "It was fluid, and different administrations had different ideas of how to use the money."

Such deals are difficult to compare to ones like the project approved in June for Fidelity Investments. Fidelity would create 1,200 jobs, invest about $27 million, and ultimately receive about $1.8 million from the city if everything goes as planned.

Those jobs would cost the city about $1,500 a piece. That's better than the JEDC's historic average for deals that created more than 50 of them.

A little more than $15 would be spent by the company for every $1 invested by the city - slightly below the average for all deals.

Biggest deals stick to ratio

The biggest project approved by the JEDC among those analyzed was the River City Marketplace, a 1.2 million-square-foot mall on the Northside. When the project is finished, 4,000 people will likely work in its shops at a cost to the city of $4,000 per job for a total city incentive of $16 million. As of the end of last year, the city had paid about $9.7 million for the project.

In fact, of the city's top 25 deals in size, only six came in lower than the average contribution per job, like Swisher International, to which the city ultimately gave $1,543 for every job created. Eight exceeded the private capital investment to city investment ratio of $16 to $1.

What makes the biggest deals the most expensive for the city? For one, they rely almost exclusively on city money, rather than a combination of city and state money. Most were passed under programs such as the Northwest Jacksonville fund, which comes from a city coffer created by the Better Jacksonville Plan, rather than through state programs.

For example, the state's Qualified Target Industry Tax Credit program has specific ratios, such as state and city money per job, that companies have to meet.

The city has also ended up spending more money per job when major roads have had to be built to reach the developments. The River City Marketplace, for example, needed a four-lane road to connect Main and Duval streets. That said, road improvements frequently benefit more companies than the one that the road was built for.

Now: no jobs, no money

The analysis by the Times-Union included only projects approved up until the 2004-05 fiscal year. But so far, in the 2005-06 fiscal year, the JEDC has approved about $3.1 million worth of incentives that would create about 2,900 jobs - if all the projects move forward.

For those projects, the city would pay about $1,080 per job, and companies would spend about $16 for every $1 the city gives them. Like most incentives now approved by the JEDC, if the companies create no jobs, they get no money.

If current trends hold for the bigger deals, the commission might get a return on investment that more taxpayers can be happy with.

joe.light@jacksonville.com,

(904) 359-4689


The following 15 companies received incentives worth more than $1.5 million. The figures in parantheses represent actual "to date" figures.*

1. RIVER CITY MARKETPLACE

(April 2004)

Projected new and retained employees: 4,000 (N/A to date)

Projected incentives: $16 million ($9.73 million to date)

Projected city money per job: $4,000

2. SOUTHEAST TOYOTA

(March 1999)

Projected new and retained employees: 450 (79 to date)

Projected incentives: $8.5 million ($2.95 million to date)

Projected city money per job: $18,889

3. HUMANA

(June 1998)

Projected new and retained employees: 1,584 (0 to date)

Projected incentives: $6.78 million ($1.15 million to date)

Projected city money per job: $4,283

4. WINN-DIXIE

(September 1998)

Projected new and retained employees: 1,550 (665 to date)

Projected incentives: $5.02 million ($3.17 million to date)

Projected city money per job: $3,241

5. GATEWAY CENTER

(Sept. 1997)

Projected new and retained employees: 1,800 (1,259 to date)

Projected incentives: $4.9 million ($4.64 million to date)

Projected city money per job: $2,722

6. COACH INC.

(July 1994)

Projected new and retained employees: 650 (320 to date)

Projected incentives: $4.65 million ($4.65 million to date)

Projected city money per job: $7,160

7. FIDELITY NATIONAL FINANCIAL

(July 2003)

Projected new and retained employees: 750 (N/A to date)

Projected incentives: $4.22 million ($186,375 to date)

Projected city money per job: $5,633

8. H.O.P.E. OF JACKSONVILLE

(November 2001)

Projected new and retained employees: 277 (80 to date)

Projected incentives: $3 million ($3 million to date)

Projected city money per job: $10,830

9. AMERISTEEL

(March 2005)

Projected new and retained employees: 305 (N/A to date)

Projected incentives: $3 million ($0 to date)

Projected city money per job: $9,836

10. MONCRIEF PLAZA

(December 2001)

Projected new and retained employees: 60 (86 to date)

Projected incentives: $2.82 million ($2.82 million to date)

Projected city money per job: $46,967

11. SSGP OF FLORIDA

(July 2001)

Projected new and retained employees: 1,600 (0 to date)

Projected incentives: $2.5 million ($32,853 to date)

Projected city money per job: $1,563

12. LAVILLA BISTRO

(June 2003)

Projected new and retained employees: 100 (N/A to date)

Projected incentives: $2.06 million ($228,120 to date)

Projected city money per job: $20,630


13. STEIN MART INC.

(May 2002)

Projected new and retained employees: 300 (77 to date)

Projected incentives: $2 million ($1.2 million to date)

Projected city money per job: $6,667

14. RAYONIER INC.

(November 1999)

Projected new and retained employees: 85 (75 to date)

Projected incentives: $1.93 million ($1.96 million to date)

Projected city money per job: $22,776

15. TREND OFFSET PRINTING

(November 2000)

Projected new and retained employees: 200 (160 to date)

Projected incentives: $1.59 million ($419,123 to date)

Projected city money per job: $7,944

NOTE: "Projected new and retained employees to date" refers to Dec. 31, 2005, the last data available.

Source: Jacksonville Economic Development Commission

This story can be found on Jacksonville.com at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/080606/bus_3838658.shtml.
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walter

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Re: Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2007, 09:09:06 AM »
that flimsy fence a barrier?  Ha thats funny!  Looks to me like a more secure homeless camp now.

This story along with that fraternity "renovation" nearby, the Shipyard deal, courthouse debacle, pocket parks  blah, blah, blah..... this is Jacksonville folks, get out your wallet cause they're broke, but if you can get some of this largess then go for it, seems to be the order of the day!  NO ACCOUNTABILITY.

RiversideGator

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Re: Sax Seafood: Homeless Camp no Longer
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2007, 12:09:15 PM »
I dont expect that the $1 million dollar "loan" will ever be paid back either or that there will be a lawsuit to attempt to collect it as every other creditor would do.  I could sure use such a million dollar "loan" and I would actually put the money to good use developing the urban core neighborhoods.

I agree that white guilt fuels these type deals together with the admirable skills of the shake down artists who get the money.  Here is an idea:  Assess all projects on a race neutral basis and award incentives accordingly.  After all, this is sort of what the law requires anyway...