Three Downtown projects are working their way through City Council at this time:
- $1 million in City funds for the private sector management of Hemming Park. The Friends of Hemming Park are to raise $250,000 toward this initiative. Hope fully this legislation will be approved by City Council with the management agreement in place in September.
- $750,000 for a Retail Enhancement Program to help reduce Downtown’s 35% vacancy rate and also to attract creative office space Downtown.
- A license agreement between the City and the USS Adams to allow the USS Adams organization to run their museum operations at the Shipyards.
Other major development happenings in July:
- EverBank Field revealed the largest scoreboards in the world in a special ceremony July 26.
- 220 Riverside announced the first tenant of the retail section of its site – a yet-to-be-named fine-dining restaurant by Top Chef star Kevin Sbraga.
- Jacques Klempf purchased the Bostwick building this month with a winning bid of $165,100. While he has proposed a restaurant/rooftop bar concept for the space previously, Klempf has yet to reveal concrete restoration plans for the historic building.
- The Bank of America Tower – and two other buildings – were bought for a total of $88 million. Purchased by Santa-Monica-based Hertz Investment Group, the deal included the tower along with a connecting five-floor, almost 42,000-square-foot office building (135 W. Bay St.) and a nine-story, 93,000-square-foot parking garage (25 W. Forsyth St.).
- Azucena Corner Deli is expected to be the next occupant of the restaurant space at the corner of Ocean and Forsyth streets.
- In a $43 million deal, EverBank’s naming rights to Jacksonville’s football stadium were extended for the next 10 years.
- City Council gave final approval of $425,000 in tax incentives for the expansion of the Downtown Maxwell House coffee plant. Kraft Foods, owner of Maxwell House, plans to invest $16 million in the facility, adding more coffee production and packaging lines.
- The Shoppes on Riverside retail development changed its name to Brooklyn Station on Riverside. Tenants will include The Fresh Market, Corner Bakery, Zoes Kitchen, Hair Cuttery and, announced last week, Lucy’s Gift Boutique.
- The Jacksonville Transportation Authority plans to move its headquarters Downtown to 121 Atlantic Place. This temporary location will include a centralized customer service center. JTA plans to leave Atlantic Place upon the completion of the proposed Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center, which will house JTA headquarters permanently.
- The Duval County School Board approved its part of a land swap proposal that would transfer .47 acres of its parking lot to JEA. This will allow for the construction of a connecting road between Prudential Drive and JEA’s 30-acre riverfront site. If JEA approves its portion of the swap next month, 1.33 acres of the site would be transferred to the School Board property for construction of a replacement parking area. This is all in effort to make access to the riverfront site easier – and more viable for development.