Jacksonville, FL — The redevelopment of the currently vacant shell of a tower, known as the Berkman II site on the Northbank of Downtown Jacksonville, could soon get underway.
About five months ago, Jacksonville's Downtown Investment Authority approved terms for the $122 million redevelopment project. Since that time, the City of Jacksonville has been working to incorporate that in to a greater Redevelopment Agreement, and that has now been filed for City Council consideration. That body will vote in the coming weeks whether to support the plan, and the $36 million in City incentives that go with it.
The developer intends to use the existing shell, which was supposed to be condos, before an on-site construction-related death in 2007 shut the project down.
It will be renovated in to a hotel, with approximately 340 rooms. The project also involves the construction of a water park, indoor family entertainment center, outdoor entertainment amenities, and a parking garage.
To support the project, the developer, DIA, and Administration have agreed to several different sources of incentives. The largest portion is a $20 million Recaptured Enhanced Value grant, which is essentially a property tax rebate that reflects the impact a project has on enhancing property value. $8.25 million would be paid out over 15 years, once the project is substantially complete, as an operational subsidy for the hotel. A $3.5 million grant specifically collates to the parking garage, which must have 200 public spaces. Additionally, there would be a $3.25 million grant paid upon substantial completion of the project.
The final $1 million to round out the City commitment as envisioned by the DIA would be to offset any environmental issues on the land. The developer would buy close to three acres adjacent to the building, on which the parking garage would be built. The total purchase price for the land is $1,635,200.
While it is not considered an incentive, the City would also commit another $1.8 million to the project, under the bill that’s been filed. This would support extended the Northbank Riverwalk about 400 feet east from Catherine Street.
The City Council will vet and vote on the proposal in the coming weeks.