City Council expected to make final vote on Lot J tonight

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — City Council is expected to make a final vote tonight on the Lot J Development project.

The legislation passed out of the committee of the whole last week. Fifteen councilmembers voted in favor of the legislation, while four people voted against. The people who were against the vote were Councilmembers Matt Carlucci, Al Ferraro, Danny Becton, and Council President Tommy Hazouri.

Hazouri said that he is worried about the bill, and how the administration and the Jaguars made the deal.

“But [the administration] should have done a better job and now they should be encouraging what we’re trying to do. And, you know, I don’t want to lose a team, but at what price? And that’s what I worry about,” Hazouri said Thursday night.

Some of the Councilmembers, like Councilmember Brenda Priestly-Jackson voted in favor of the legislation Thursday night, with the understanding that things will change by tonight.

The proposed deal is $450 million development that includes two residential buildings with 250 units, a hotel with 120 rooms, 35,000 square feet of Office Space, an entertainment venue, and 1,200 parking spaces.

The project, if passed, would cost taxpayers $233 million. The 50-year, no-interest $65.5 million loan from the incentive package is still in the final legislation.

Some of the amendments made during last week’s committee meeting included that if the Jaguars move before 2034 and Gecko Investments sells the property, then the City of Jacksonville gets 100 percent of revenues or net sale proceeds from that sale, a creation of a trust fund for the Eastside neighborhood, and the City can share in 50 percent of the profits with the Developer if there is a transfer of development rights to the hotel.

REVIEW ALL THE AMENDMENTS MADE TO THE LEGISLATION

Mayor Lenny Curry told Jacksonville’s Morning News that he is confident the deal will pass.

“I think the super majority of the council understands how transformational this project is, how visionary it is. They’ve done their work. They’ve debated it. It’ll be a catalyst for downtown. It’s not just that area. You know, we have the JTA, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority has secured a pilot program on autonomous vehicles that will run up and down Bay Street. This will spark development in the entire urban core,” Curry said. “So, look, I say amen to what you said. I wanted an up or down vote. The day has arrived and I believe we’ll get there. I hope we get there and do big things for downtown. It’s not a zero sum game, though, Rich. We have been investing in neighborhoods all over the city and my budgets will continue to do that. I’m going to have big infrastructure budgets in my last two and a half years in office. We are going to take care of every corner of this city that was long neglected going back to consolidation.”

Minutes before the meeting started, Curry tweeted out that the time to vote is tonight.

The final vote would need the support of two-thirds of the Council in order to pass. City Council meets at 5 p.m.

Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee is a General Assignment Reporter for 104.5 WOKV.

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