Business Brief: Jax Might Use Hotel Bed Tax To Fund Part Of Lot J Deal

Aug 2, 2019

Terms of the city’s proposed agreement with Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan to develop Lot J released Thursday include a $233.3 million package of incentives.

If approved, the combination of tax rebates, Recapture Enhanced Value grants, a development grant and infrastructure improvements will back the proposed $450 million development of the parking lot west of TIAA Bank Field.

Our Jacksonville Daily Record News partner reports what’s unclear is how the city will pay for the taxpayer-backed deal.

District 3 City Council member Aaron Bowman chairs the Finance Committee, which will lead the council’s review of the deal.

Related: $450 Million Lot J Redevelopment Deal Includes $233.3 Million In City Incentives

Bowman, a second-term Republican, said Thursday that he had not read all the details of the proposed agreement, but he is supportive of the Lot J project.

Developer Jacksonville I-C Parcel One Holding Company LLC — a joint venture of Gecko Investments LLC, an affiliate of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and The Cordish Companies — plans a 300-unit residential tower, 200-room boutique hotel, 120,000-square-foot Class A office tower and a Live! entertainment district on the site.

Watch: Mayor Lenny Curry's Video Announcement About The Lot J Deal

“It’s transformational,” Bowman said. “It’s not often someone comes knocking at your door saying I want to invest half-a-billion dollars in your city.”

Bowman said one way the city could pay for a portion of the deal would be through the transient rentals tax — commonly known as the hotel bed tax. Florida statute allows Duval County to collect a 6% tax on hotel stays to be used for improvements, construction, remodels and repairs of arts, entertainment and sports venues.

In 2009, council approved Ordinance 2009-817-E, which directs hotel bed tax money primarily to facilities in the sports complex — 2 cents to sports complex improvements; 2 cents to debt service on TIAA Bank Field; and 2 cents to Visit Jacksonville, the city’s nonprofit marketing arm.

The ordinance would allow money set aside to support sports complex improvements to back the incentives.

Bowman sees additional property tax revenue generated at Lot J from new development and from transferring city-controlled property to private ownership, as well as sales taxes collected by new businesses on the site.

He said parking revenue at Lot J could support future infrastructure needs. The city will continue to receive a portion of that.

An expanded version of this story with more of Bowman’s thoughts on funding options and legislation for the project is at JaxDailyRecord.