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First Coast

DIA Approves Many Millions For Jacksonville Redevelopment Projects

The Downtown Investment Authority reviewed $56 million in city-backed financial incentives, loans and grants at its monthly meeting Wednesday.

Topping the list is the proposed redevelopment of Berkman Plaza II, the unfinished condominium shell that has been idle for more than a decade.

Our Jacksonville Daily Record news partner reports the DIA approved $36 million in incentives for Barrington Development’s estimated $122 million project which includes a 341-room hotel, family entertainment center and a parking garage along East Bay Street.

The package comprises a 20-year Recapture Enhanced Value Grant, which is a rebate on 75 percent of the ad valorem taxes generated over that time, worth up to $20 million; an $8.25 million Operational Performance Subsidy; and a $3.25 million grant when the resort gets a certificate of occupancy.

The city also could sell up to 3 acres from the Shipyards property to the developer, at $584,000 per acre, if needed.

The Ambassador

AmbassadorTwo.jpg
Credit Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News
The former Ambassador Hotel.

Then there’s the pending conversion of the historic Ambassador Hotel at 420 N. Julia St. into a 127-room hotel, a 200-unit apartment complex, a structured parking facility and other possible uses.

Augustine Development LLC wants to subsidize its $53 million project with $6.4 million in incentives.  The DIA approved those.

That includes a $1.5 million grant from the Downtown Historic Preservation and Revitalization Trust Fund and a 15-year, $4.9 million REV grant.

Lofts at Brooklyn

The Vestcor Companies wants to begin its fourth project in the Downtown area in as many years with a 133-unit affordable and workforce housing development called the “Lofts at Brooklyn.”

The estimated $28.6 million project could be supported with the help of a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit from the Florida Housing Finance Corp.

Vestcor is seeking incentives to cover about 9 percent of the construction cost.

The company also wants a $625,750 no-interest, 20-year Local Government Support Loan to offset the cost for the 80 affordable housing units.

It seeks a 15-year REV grant worth up to $3.98 million funded through the Northbank Tax Increment District Trust Fund.  

If Vestcor receives its incentives, the project could start in 2019.

The DIA approved the request.

Ventures Southbank Tower returns

After 10 months of legal fighting between neighboring property owners, a Southbank residential tower could soon proceed.

Ventures Development Group LLC owns what is also called the Hines property along Prudential Drive between the Acosta Bridge and the Eight Forty One building.

The group’s original proposal included 300 apartments, but was challenged by the Eight Forty One building owner, who said the development blocked river views along with other grievances.

The project was rejected and appealed to City Council and then ended up in court.

The parties have a working settlement agreement to reduce the scope of the project to 185 residential units.

In January 2017, the DIA approved a 15-year REV grant worth up to $7.66 million to help subsidize the estimated $62.3 million construction cost.

According to a DIA resolution, the modified project will now cost $44.8 million and the development group is seeking to restructure its REV grant.

Under the new terms, the REV grant is worth up to $7.88 million over 20 years.

Bryan Building

At the Bryan Building, new art studios also could be coming to North Hogan Street.

Owner 217-219 N Hogan Street LLC wants to redevelop the second floor of the Bryan Building at 217 N. Hogan St. with the help of a forgivable DIA loan.

The owner wants to convert the second floor into 12 art studios with exhibition space.

It is asking for a $55,000 forgivable loan with a seven-year term.

A DIA resolution states that the loan will be reduced by 14.29 percent every 12 months until it matures.

The loan forgiveness is contingent on the owner hosting at least two public functions in the space per month during the seven-year term.

The DIA approved the request.

Brewster Hospital

The cost to redevelop the historic Brewster Hospital for the North Florida Land Trust Inc. has risen $144,000, according to the group.

The land trust returned Wednesday to the DIA and was granted an additional $100,000 to complete a parking lot on the public property.

This year, the  trust was approved to receive $50,000 to rebuild the parking area, but those costs rose, according to its contractor, Danis Builders.  

The $100,000 is in the form of a grant, provided the project is completed.

Dyal-Upchurch Building

A development company named 10 H Investments LLC wants to make improvements to the Dyal-Upchurch building at 6 E. Bay St.

The building’s owners say it is 28 percent vacant, higher than the average Downtown.

They’re asking the DIA for a $280,000 forgivable loan. According to a term sheet, the 10-year loan has a seven-year forgiveness period.

It comes with no interest and no payments due unless the loan is in default or has a principal balance when it matures.

The loan’s principal balance would be forgiven by 14.29 percent for each year the building is occupied at 80 percent or higher.

DIA tabled the request.