Link to article: https://www.wokv.com/news/local/downtown-vision-inc-releases-the-2018-2019-state-downtown-report/bPJnHpUXaDD1UCd1jaMKTO/
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Downtown Vision, Downtown Jacksonville’s Business Improvement District, today released its newest study of the growth of Downtown Jacksonville.
Using more than a dozen sources, Downtown Vision tracks and analyzes key downtown indicators for the report, including development and investment, residential demand, office market and employment base, transportation expansions and tourism health.
As Downtown grows, so does its impact on the region.
Downtown makes up just 0.4% of Duval County, yet accounts for nearly 3% the county’s taxable value.
Property Downtown is six times more valuable than the citywide average per acre, and its taxable value funds services and improvements throughout the county.
“A better Downtown helps all of Jacksonville,” said Terry Durand-Stuebben, Downtown Vision Board Chair. “These metrics show bold growth in the core, and it goes to show that Downtown is the best investment you can make in the city.”
Public-private partnerships are driving $1 billion in projects under construction and more than three times that in proposed projects.
Figures unmatched in more than a decade. Dollars invested in completed projects is up 64% year over year.
Other highlights include:
- Riverfront Transformation. The City of Jacksonville has prioritized development on 100 acres of prime riverfront real estate with The District and The Shipyards and is freeing up three additional riverfront sites future development. In addition, the City is investing nearly $8 million in to riverfront activity nodes at Friendship Fountain and near the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.
- Redeveloping Historical Architecture. Downtown’s unique and historical architecture is being celebrated with adaptive reuse projects like The Barnett, Laura Street Trio, Ambassador Hotel, Jones Bros. Furniture Building, Doro District and Le Mesa Building.
- Rebirth of LaVilla. A LaVilla Master Development Plan was created to redevelop Downtown’s LaVilla neighborhood while respecting its rich history and celebrating its cultural impact. It recommends diverse residential development, a LaVilla Heritage Trail and Water Street road diet.
- Demand for Downtown Living. Downtown housing is in high-demand with occupancy at 96% driving the demand for more units. Downtown has topped 5,000 residents and there’s a clear path to 10,000 residents thanks to 978 units under construction and 3,038 units proposed.
- Valuable and Competitive Office Market. Downtown’s office market is extremely competitive among major Florida downtowns. Downtown’s office vacancy rate remains under 15% and is set to drop significantly in the coming year thanks to VyStar Credit Union relocating its headquarters to Downtown.
- Welcoming to Visitors. Hotel occupancy is up 14% year-over-year and seven new hotels are currently proposed with work beginning soon on The Ambassador Hotel and a Hyatt Place.
- Living and Learning Downtown. Downtown has welcomed Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida Downtown campuses in the past two years, plus Florida State College at Jacksonville expanded its footprint opening Downtown’s first dorms.
- Connecting with Neighborhoods. The Emerald Trail Master Plan was development and adopted by City Council to help create a 30-mile network of trails that will connect Downtown to 14 historic neighborhoods, 18 schools, two colleges and nearly 30 parks.
- Innovative Transportation. Transit-oriented development is a focus for Jacksonville with the second phase of JTA’s Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center nearly complete, the Ultimate Urban Circulator set to transform the Skyway, and the Bay Street Innovation Corridor introducing smart technology while connecting LaVilla to the Sports & Entertainment District.
"The focus on Downtown has never been greater, thanks to strong leadership from Mayor Curry, City Council, agencies like DIA and JAX Chamber, and with support from numerous Downtown stakeholders, like corporations, small businesses, developers, residents and non-profits," said Jake Gordon, Downtown Vision CEO. "That increased focus is paying off with exponential growth and better return on investment. The fact is Downtown matters. The more successful our Downtown is, the more competitive we are as a city, the more talent and jobs we recruit, the more our city thrives, and our tax base grows to fund even more improvements all our residents deserve."