City's deal with Lot J developer includes $233 million in incentives

$450 million project includes entertainment venue, office, residential, hotel

By Jim Piggott - Reporter, Steve Patrick - News4Jax digital managing editor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The proposal for a $450 million entertainment, commercial and hospitality development to go up west of TIAA Bank Field includes $233.3 million in taxpayer-backed incentives, according to documents released early Thursday morning. 

A term sheet released by the mayor's office shows the city would finance nearly half the development through tax rebates, a Recaptured Enhanced Value grant, a development grant and infrastructure improvements. The developer in the deal would be Jacksonville I-C Parcel One Holding Company LLC, a joint venture of Gecko Investments LLC, an affiliate of the Jacksonville Jaguars owned by Shad Khan, and The Cordish Companies.

The property, which includes Lot J and property stretching to the river currently occupied by Metropolitan Park, is owned by the city and any development agreement must be approved by the Downtown Investment Authority and the Jacksonville City Council.

Plans for the development detailed in the term sheet comprise a 300-unit residential tower, a 200-room boutique hotel, a 120,000-square-foot Class A office tower and what is called a Live! Entertainment district.

Under the terms of the agreement, the city would retain ownership of the Live! district. It would be operated by Cordish, the company which developed similar properties in Philadelphia and St. Louis.

READ: Term sheet lists details of Lot J development

The deal also includes a land transfer, giving the property where the luxury high-rise residential tower(s), boutique hotel, office tower and the mid-rise residential building(s) will sit to the developer. The term sheet did not list a value for the property. According to the agreement, the property transfer would occur immediately before construction.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, the developer would receive:

  • Up to $50 million, 50% of the development cost, for a Live! district entertainment venue
  • A $25 million REV grant, which is a  partial property tax rebate
  • $92.8 million in infrastructure improvements
  • A $65.5 million development grant
  • Ownership of property where the luxury high-rise residential tower(s), boutique hotel, office tower and mid-rise residential building(s) will sit

"Lot J, which is (the) live entertainment (district), which the city will own. Shad's company, Iguana, will pay half. We will lease that back to them just like we do the amphitheater," Mayor Lenny Curry said.  "They will take ownership of the other three vertical buildings. They will pay property taxes on those buildings and those property taxes will be part of the infrastructure that will go back into the development."

The deal also includes parking for the project, which would remain under city ownership. The agreement said that 1,300 parking spaces will be created within the Lot J development. That’s similar to the number of spaces there now. 

The developer would operate the parking facilities as well as TIAA Bank lots M, N and P. The cost of parking would be required to remain at market rate.

The term sheet shows revenue from parking at Lot J would be split -- the city receiving all money “up to historic levels” while the developers would receive any new parking revenue.

Pending approval by the DIA and City Council, construction of the project could begin as early as next year. The first step would be demolition of the elevated ramp from the Hart Bridge to Downtown, expected after the Jaguars season ends.

"I expect shovels to be in the ground hopefully in late January because that means our team is doing well in the playoffs," Curry said.

Jacksonville Daily Record contributed to this article.

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