Downtown Investment Authority taking another look at redeveloping former Florida Times-Union site

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) is taking another look at plans to redevelop the former Florida Times-Union site in Brooklyn on Thursday.

It’s one of several major projects in the works along the riverfront.

Lori Boyer, the CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority, said during a meeting Thursday night that the board is carefully considering the use of the prime riverfront real estate.

“The site is really important for our overall vision of downtown,” she said.

Susan Caven, president of Scenic Jacksonville, shares that sentiment.

“It’s a very prominent piece of property,” Caven said. “You see it coming into downtown, and so I think they need to think carefully about what should be there.”

Right now, construction is broken up into two phases. The project comes with a $182 million price tag.

There are plans for apartments, shopping and a grocery store. The DIA wants a restaurant to be a part of the first phase instead of the second, which would not start until 2025.

“If you’re coming from the downtown side, there aren’t grocers in close proximity and having another option beside Fresh Market if you are in the central core or you are in LaVilla, I think, is really valuable,” Boyer said.

Caven said her organization has concerns over the site.

“It looks like more of a residential development rather than an urban development downtown,” Caven said.

The board took a vote and passed a resolution that considers incentives for the development that include REV grants for the retail phase, a residential phase and a mixed use phase. It also includes a city acquisition of at least a third of the site, which allows for an expanded McCoy’s Creek and a park in the future, which Boyer describes as a big positive for the city.

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