The report tracks development, the office market and employment, the residential market, culture and entertainment, retail, restaurants, nightlife, hotels and conventions, parking and transportation, and quality of life. After weathering the economic downturn of the past few years, things are looking up for Downtown, and more great things are on the horizon.
2012 saw the long-awaited opening of two major development projects: the Duval County Courthouse and the J. Wayne and Delores Weaver Tower at Baptist Medical Center. Additionally, the opening of two 7-Eleven stores meant the welcomed return of Slurpees – and an increase in national retail brand presence – to Downtown Jacksonville. In addition, a number of significant projects were announced or broke ground in 2012, including the 220 Riverside residential/mixed-use complex, JAX Chamber interior and exterior renovations, and the new YMCA facility in Brooklyn.
Also, Downtown’s population experienced a significant boom. EverBank moved approximately 1,700 employees from its suburban offices to the former AT&T Tower 301, since renamed EverBank Center. More people are living Downtown with Downtown residential properties boasting 93% occupancy and many properties approaching 100% occupancy. The inaugural One Spark was announced in 2012 and ultimately drew more than 100,000 people to the April 2013 festival. Additionally, a thriving nightlife scene has emerged Downtown that continues to grow – three new nightlife venues and nine new restaurants opened in 2012. Other good news is a 6% increase in hotel occupancy and a 10% increase in convention attendance.
The report also features a handy quick facts guide to Downtown. Here are the stats for 2012:
- 1,234 acres
- $600 million in completed or in progress development in 2012
- $551 million in proposed development
- 3 Fortune 500 headquarters
- 1,100 businesses
- 48,105 employees
- 7.3 million square feet of office space
- 2,365 residences
- 9 million visits annually
- 724,000 square feet of retail space in the DID
- 90 restaurants
- 30 bars
- 122 retailers and services
- 2.77 miles of Riverwalk
- 2,153 hotel rooms
- 43,452 parking spaces
The continued success of Downtown is not dependent on any one “magic” project but will be the result of continued partnerships and lots of incremental changes that, taken together, will have a lasting impact. 2013 is shaping up to be another great year for Downtown, and we look forward to seeing exciting new things come to fruition.