A vacant, 11-acre plot of land nestled between Riverside Avenue and Park Street in the Brooklyn neighborhood of downtown Jacksonville is now officially on its way to sprouting a major development project expected to create 247 jobs while revamping aging public infrastructure and netting an estimated $10 million in ad valorem revenues over the next 20 years for the city of Jacksonville.
Mayor Alvin Brown signed legislation Wednesday authorizing the city to move forward with public investment to support Pope & Land Jax Riverside LP. The developer has plans to erase blight in the city's Brooklyn neighborhood by creating 300 housing units and 65,000 square feet of retail space. The mayor was joined by Council President Bill Bishop, Councilman Warren Jones, who represents the Brooklyn area, and other Brooklyn-area commercial residents at the project site for the signing.
"This project represents a major opportunity for investment that will add to the momentum we're already experiencing in the downtown area," Brown said. "Beyond creating jobs and developing high-end real estate, this project will refine a major city corridor to give future investors yet another reason to feel confident about Jacksonville."
Private investment in the project ranges up to $50.5 million. Per the legislation, the city would contribute $1.8 million to improve infrastructure near the project site and would authorize $5.15 million in Recapture Enhanced Value Grant tax reimbursements.
The project would generate nearly $17.8 million in new tax revenue, which would more than cover the cost of debt service and Rev Grants to gain $10 million in new revenue for the city.
"The mutually beneficial public-private partnership with the city of Jacksonville, combined with the property's exceptional location, make us quite optimistic about the future of this project," said Tom Barranco, of Pope & Land.
The expected benefits of the project are numerous:
- The city projects a net gain of ad valorem revenue of $10 million over 20 years while improving 11 acres in a blighted area, increasing property values and enhancing the urban core.
- The private investment is expected to create 247 jobs at the housing and retail complexes, along with numerous other temporary contracting jobs through project construction.
- The residential portion of the project will provide attractive housing options for employees working in the Riverside Avenue corridor.
- Stormwater infrastructure improvements are expected to prevent flooding and pollution into McCoy's Creek and the St. Johns River from the project area.
Riverside Park would become a neighbor to the 220 Riverside project, a $30 million investment that broke ground in November at Riverside Avenue and Jackson Street. Developer Hallmark Partners is working with the help of $4.9 million in Rev Grant reimbursements on plans to build 294 residential units ranging between 600 and 1,200 square feet along with 16,500 square feet of retail space.
An adjacent public park about the size of a football field will be the adequate size to program festival-style entertainment or provide enough green space to accommodate roughly 1,000 people.