A new proposal for turning vacant riverfront land on downtown’s Southbank into an ambitious development called The District would have the city give up to $56 million in property tax rebates and pay up to $26.4 million for constructing public improvements, such as roads and a riverwalk.
Our Florida Times-Union news partner reports that Downtown Investment Authority CEO Aundra Wallace joined City Council member Lori Boyer to roll out the tentative financing framework at a meeting attended by the Downtown Investment Authority board and City Council members.
A previous proposal, which fell apart in January, called for the city to purchase the land from JEA at a cost of $18.6 million and spend up to $26.4 million for work on public improvements. In that deal, the developer would not have sought future rebates on property taxes generated by The District.
The city’s purchase of the land would have been a highly unusual move for a downtown development project.
The new version of the financing would still have the city spending as much as $26.4 million for the public improvements portion of the development. But the developer would purchase the land from JEA and the city would offer the developer up to $56 million in property tax rebates spread out over 22 years. Such tax rebates are the most commonly used financial incentive in downtown development.
The amount of tax rebates could end up being less because the rebates are based on how much taxable property value rises as different components of The District are actually completed.
It would be one of the largest downtown developments in city history. The plan presented Monday shows a timetable for construction of 725 apartments, 147 hotel rooms, 200 condominiums, 25 townhomes and 125 marina slips. It also would have 134,600 square feet of retail space and 200,000 square feet of office space. Construction would be complete by the end of 2022.