ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
88°
Mostly Cloudy
H 85° L 78°
  • cloudy-day
    88°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Cloudy. H 85° L 78°
  • cloudy-day
    83°
    Evening
    Mostly Cloudy. H 85° L 78°
  • cloudy-day
    79°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 89° L 77°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Amusement rides, hotel  at Berkman II Downtown seeking $36 million in incentives
Close

Amusement rides, hotel at Berkman II Downtown seeking $36 million in incentives

Amusement rides, hotel  at Berkman II Downtown seeking $36 million in incentives
Photo Credit: Barrington Development

Amusement rides, hotel at Berkman II Downtown seeking $36 million in incentives

Redevelopment of the Berkman II site on the Northbank of Downtown is expected to be a $122 million effort, and we’re now getting a better idea of what the City would be willing to offer in incentives for the project, and what that investment would bring. 

A new term sheet filed for consideration by the Downtown Investment Authority says the developer is proposing a 340-room hotel, a Family Entertainment Center, a water park, and a parking garage for the site. The parking garage would actually be on the westernmost portion of the Jacksonville Shipyards, and it would include at least 200 public short-term parking spaces. 

Barrington Development tells WOKV they are behind the plan, further elaborating that it includes a hotel and resort with themed restaurants. The Family Entertainment Center will include arcade games, indoor attractions like a ropes course and rock wall, and outdoor amusement rides along the St. Johns River. One such attraction envisioned for the site is a 200-foot observation wheel with enclosed acclimated gondolas with wi-fi.

“We are excited to bring Jacksonville a fun and exciting family friendly resort,” says Barrington Development Video President Cono Caranna.

The term sheet estimates the total cost of redeveloping the Berkman II site to be $122 million. The total proposed City and DIA incentives in the term sheet are $36 million.  Caranna says the incentives are “critical” to their financing of the project.

Barrington Development
Close

Berkman II rendering

Photo Credit: Barrington Development

The brunt of the public incentives would come in the form of a REV grant, which is essentially a property tax rebate. That award would bring the developers up to $20 million over 20 years, in connection to the enhanced property value at the site as a result of the redevelopment. If the overall project’s capital investment falls short of $92 million, the REV grant would decrease as well. It would also reduce if the project is not completed within 60 months of the Redevelopment Agreement becoming effective. 

That gives us some timeline for the possible project completion. The term sheet indicates that it expires, unless it is incorporated in to an RDA by February 28, 2019. While there would still be some time allowed to have the RDA approved by the involved parties, from there, conceivably, the five year timeline would start. The term sheet says there could be an extension in the timeline for the RDA, if all parties agree. 

In addition to the REV grant, the term sheet includes an $8.25 million operational performance subsidy. This is an incentive specifically for the hotel development, which would subsidize that element for up to 15 years, through an annual payment of 5% of annual lodging revenue. 

A redevelopment completion grant of $3.25 million is also proposed, and would be disbursed when the developer gets a Certificate of Occupancy for the hotel and family entertainment center. 

Finally, there are incentives built in to the proposed parking garage. The term sheet has the City convey approximately 3 acres from the Shipyards site to this developer, for the garage. It would be conveyed at market price, for a total estimated cost currently of $1,635,200 on the developer. There will be a $1 million offset for environmental issues on site. In addition to the land terms, the City and DIA are proposing a $3.5 million grant to offset the cost of constructing the garage, which must have 200 public spaces. 

The term sheet will go before the Downtown Investment Authority on Wednesday. If the DIA Board approves, they are authorizing the CEO to negotiate a full Redevelopment Agreement based on the terms. The City of Jacksonville Administration and City Council would still have to approve the final deal. 

The developer officially purchased the long-dormant property in mid-July. A parking garage on site collapsed during construction in 2007, killing on person. 

This is one of several development projects underway or under negotiations in Downtown Jacksonville. The Shipyards site is under long-running negotiations with Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who the DIA previously awarded development rights. 

GALLERY: Shad Khan’s plan for the Jacksonville Shipyards

The City is moving forward with taking down the Hart Bridge ramps that run next to the River, in order to increase the development potential on the site. Khan and the Jags are also seeking to redevelop the Sports Complex overall, to include a first-phase project at Lot J. 

During the Wednesday DIA meeting, the Board will also be presented with scores on three proposals that were submitted to build a Convention Center, hotel, and parking garage at the site of the old Courthouse/City Hall Annex site. 

GALLERY: Convention Center proposal from Jacobs Project Management Company

GALLERY: Convention Center proposal from Preston Hallow Capital

GALLERY: Convention Center proposal from Rimrock Devlin-DeBartolo Jacksonville

At that time, the DIA CEO will also bring forward a competing plan to build the Convention Center at the Shipyards site, and a competing plan to build a development know as “Riverwalk Place” at the old Courthouse/City Hall Annex site.

With this property right across the street from the Duval County Jail, WOKV asked Caranna if they have given much thought and consideration to that proximity. He says it’s nothing they can’t overcome.

“We are trying to focus everything to the back side of the buildings, blocking the view of our neighbors across the street; we believe it lends a level of safety and security having the police as our neighbors,” Caranna says, in a written statement.

Barrington Development is also behind the Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi, the Margaritaville Hotel in Vicksburg, and The White House Hotel in Biloxi.

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • Officials are investigating after an explicit video was shared “inadvertently and unknowingly” from a Mississippi teacher’s phone, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  According to a statement from Horn Lake police, the department received information regarding the video Wednesday.  DeSoto County Schools are conducting an investigation into the video, which reportedly showed explicit content of a teacher in the district. Police said if there was a “criminal element regarding the release of the video,” Horn Lake officers will then initiate a full investigation. School officials have not identified the teacher who was seen in the video, and the contents of the video have not been released at this time. The school district did confirm to WHBQ that the teacher involved is no longer an employee there. Again, officials told WHBQ that the video was shared without the teacher’s knowledge.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help identifying a suspect they say committed a burglary involving a battery in Arlington. According to police, their investigation has revealed that a suspect entered a victim's home overnight while she was asleep. Police say the suspect woke up the victim, threatened and battered her, and then took some of her belongings.  If you have information on who this individual is, you're urged to contact the sheriff's office at (904) 630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
  • In a series of tweets Friday, President Donald Trump announced new retaliatory tariffs against China, bumping up taxes by 5 percentage points.  >> MORE: China, Trump ratchet up tensions with new tariffs >> Read more trending news  Here’s a look at trade tariffs and what they do. What is a tariff? A tariff is a tax on imports or exports that increases their prices. Tariffs are used by governments to make foreign products less attractive to consumers in order to protect domestic industries from competition. Money collected under a tariff is called a duty or customs duty. What types of tariffs are there?There are two types of tariffs – an ad valorem tariff and a specific tariff. An ad valorem tariff is a tariff that is a fixed percentage of the value of an imported good. If the price of the imported good goes up, the ad valorem tariff goes up. If it goes down, the tariff goes down. For instance, if a company exports an item to the United States costing $50 and the ad valorem tariff on that product is 20 percent, the company would have to pay the tariff -- $10 in this case -- to export the product to the U.S. If the price of the item goes up to $75, the company will have to pay a tariff of $15 to sell the item in the US. A specific tariff is a fixed amount of money placed on the item no matter the cost. Say there is a $20 specific tariff on that $50 item. The company exporting the item to the US would have to pay $20 to sell the item in the U.S. If the item goes up in cost to $75, the company will still have to pay $20 to export the item. Why should I care if the US government puts a tariff on items? The manufacturer pays for that, right? Sure, manufacturers pay the tariff upfront, but the cost of the tariff will be passed along to the consumer. Or, if the cost of the tariff is too high for those exporting goods, then they stop exporting goods. Tariffs affect the cost of goods you buy, and the U.S. buys many more products than it sells. So, why slap tariffs on goods if it will hurt the US consumer? The theory is that as goods made by people outside the U.S. get more expensive, manufacturers within the country will either increase their production of the product or other companies will begin to produce the product, thus strengthening the U.S. economy.
  • The Baker County Sheriff's Office is announcing an arrest, following an incident Thursday were a young child was found unresponsive in a hot car. According to the sheriff's office, the 3-year-old boy's mother is now being charged with child neglect. Deputies say 23-year-old Katie Davis failed to provide the toddler with proper care and supervision.  Investigators say the boy's father had been at work all night and went to bed at approximately 7:00 AM, Thursday morning. They say that Davis also went back to sleep around that same time with the child, despite having slept some the night before.  Investigators say when Davis woke up around 1:30 PM, she realized the boy was no longer in the bed. We're told that she then discovered him inside the couple's car outside, where some of his toys had been kept.  Deputies say Davis and her husband were able to get him out by smashing one of the windows and unlocking the doors.  The boy was airlifted to Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Thursday afternoon. Deputies said Friday he's recovering and stable.
  • According to many polls, Americans – especially those who say they are Democrats -- are not that fond of the Electoral College. Neither are many of the Democratic candidates for president. >> Read more trending news  With just over 14 months until the 2020 presidential election, a movement to change the way electoral votes are awarded and who will be elected president has gained some steam. The National Popular Vote Compact (NPV), which has its roots in the most contested presidential election in U.S. history, sets in state law a policy that awards all a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. Under the Electoral College system used today, 48 states have a “winner-take-all” system that awards all the state’s electoral votes to the person who gets a majority of votes in that state. The Electoral College does not take into consideration that national popular vote. Sixteen states, along with the District of Columbia, have passed the NPV agreement. They are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island. While legislation has been passed in the 16 states and the District of Columbia, the agreement would not go into effect until states with a collective 270 electoral votes — the number needed to win the presidency — agree to join. Currently, the District of Columbia and the 16 states in the agreement hold a combined total of 196 electoral votes, meaning the pact would need enough new state members to get 74 electoral votes.Supporters say the system would give the person who got the most votes country-wide the presidency he or she deserves. Opponents say states would be forced to hand over electoral votes to a candidate who did not win that state. For instance, in the 2016 election, a state such as Florida, in which President Donald Trump earned more votes, would have had to pledge its 29 electoral votes to Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, who won the national popular vote in the 2016 election. The Electoral College of today was established by the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution which replaced the method for electing the president and vice president provided in Article II, Section 1, Clause 3. Under the system, when voters cast a ballot for president, they are actually choosing members of the Electoral College, called electors, who are pledged to that presidential candidate. Following the election for president, electors then meet to choose the president. Electors almost always vote for their state’s popular vote winner, and some states have laws requiring them to do so. However, electors are not bound by federal law to vote for a specific candidate – for instance, the one who won the popular vote in their state. In 29 states and the District of Columbia, electors are bound by state law or by a pledge they sign to vote for the candidate who won the popular vote of the state they represent. Five men have won the presidency in the Electoral College while not winning the country’s popular vote: John Quincy Adams in 1824, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Benjamin Harrison in 1888, George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016. The National Popular Vote campaign goes back to Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore's loss to Bush in 2000, according to The Associated Press. Gore won the popular vote but lost the election over a vote count in Florida.

The Latest News Videos