Downtown Development With JAX City Council Thrills Investors

In previous episodes, we have talked a lot about the vertically integrated development that JWB is doing in Downtown Jacksonville and the exciting growth opportunities in Duval County. City Councilman, Rory Diamond, is back on the Not Your Average Investor Show to update us about what's going on with the Jacksonville City Council and the big decisions they're making that affect investors. 

Rory shares more great news about how council members are taking a proactive approach to attracting more residents and corporations and developing along the St. John's River, plus updates from City Hall. In today's episode, we discuss the following topics:

  • Crucial decisions facing city council that will affect the future of Jacksonville real estate
  • How the Jacksonville area is doing in this hard-to-understand economy
  • The home that JWB is donating to at least one deserving veteran this year

When Rory Diamond appeared on today's episode, he was doing it from the K9s for Warriors Boardroom. He works a lot with rescue dogs and veterans who need assistance in recovery from PTSD.

How does the Jacksonville City Council analyze land developments?

The Jacksonville City Council looks at investments in the city just like real estate investors do. The City Council members ask several things when assessing projects and development opportunities, such as:

  • Will it have a return on investment? 
  • Will it help property values within Jacksonville go up?
  • Will it make Jacksonville a better place to live? 
  • Is it fiscally conservative? 
  • Will it help or hurt our taxes? 
  • Will the financing take place through grants or loans?

There are lots of pieces to this puzzle. Anyone who is a fiscal conservative has to have a longer view when looking at these developing projects. Tax values can go up, so even in a bad market, the investments into the city should pay for themselves.

Where is the Jacksonville real estate market today, and where is it going with development?

If you take a piece of land that isn't doing anything and allow a developer to build a hotel on it, the tax value of the property increases, and the developer also profits. The agreements between the Jacksonville City Council and the real estate developers create a win-win situation for the city.

Real estate investors and Jacksonville City Council members see how property prices increase as cities grow and attract more residents. For example, Nashville has grown a lot, and Jacksonville is mirroring Nashville's growth. The cities are approximately the same size, have similar sports teams and other commonalities. Looking at what Nashville is doing, we project that Jacksonville should look more like Nashville within ten years.

For example, the Shipyards has been a project that Jacksonville has been talking about for years. If the 40 acres on the riverfront near Downtown Jacksonville get developed as we hope, it serves as an anchor from the Jacksonville Jaguars Stadium to Downtown. The owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars is investing in the Shipyards project, which will attract more hotels, restaurants, shops, and events.

We expect this development to attract more people who will live in Downtown Jacksonville. We have a goal as a city to get 10,000 residents in Downtown Jacksonville. We used to have only 3500 people living in Downtown JAX. But Rory said he's working on approval for a development that should shoot us past 10,000 residents within three years.  

How is the Jacksonville City Council attracting large corporations and builders to Downtown Jacksonville?

The City Council members will vote tonight on a new Four Seasons Hotel built on prime real estate along the St. John's River in The Shipyards. With this development, it will be a keystone piece of the puzzle that will serve tourists, corporations based in Jacksonville, and boaters who want to recreate on the St. John's River and park their boats while they attend live music events.

Additionally, Rory is proposing legislation that will allow the Jacksonville City Council to approve a project within 60 days. If this legislation goes through, it will enable the City Council members to focus more quickly on development opportunities so corporations and large investors can have an easier time doing business and setting up a business within JAX and Duval County. 

Is politics factoring into the development of Downtown Jacksonville?

We see alignment with conservatives and liberals alike in the development of Jacksonville real estate. Over the past few years, we've been changing legislation and making changes that will pave the way for economic prosperity. With that said, the pain we've had to go through to get everyone in alignment has undoubtedly been there. Fortunately, the hard work is starting to show and come to fruition.

Florida's economic and tax climate attracts a lot of people and companies to the area. As a result, we build high-rise residential buildings, approve attractive pedestrian projects, and create other incentives for people to live, work, and play in Downtown Jacksonville.

How are you making Downtown Jacksonville pedestrian-friendly?

How beautiful is it when we have significant, livable urbanization? Downtown Jacksonville has become safer and is attracting retirees and young people alike. Developments like these invite people to live in the high rises with balconies and great views. These development projects are exciting!

To add, JAX has three high-end health care chains based here, such as the Mayo Clinic, which offers some of the best health care in the nation. With so many great outdoor spaces, beaches close by, and walkable areas, this is great news for retirees and young people alike because it adds to the excellent quality of life one can get when living in Jacksonville.

How does the city address climate change while investing in these land developments?

With projects like the Four Seasons Hotel and other developments, we are also considering climate change and protecting our city's environment. We are doing everything possible to either rehabilitate areas or preserve the land within Jacksonville and develop sustainably.

Plus, the Jacksonville City Council is doing its best to rehabilitate and renovate areas within the city that can use an environmental upgrade. Right now, the Stadium — which the City of Jacksonville owns — needs renovation. So, we are planning an entire renovation thanks to these developments. We are confident the Jacksonville Jaguars will stay in our city for a long time because we are taking these steps to support them.

What is the status of the Downtown Jacksonville renovations into these sports and entertainment districts?

We are fortunate to have an NFL team that is not interested in leaving. The Return on Investment for these sports and entertainment districts is done with REV Grants. We also get to collect hotel and hospitality taxes. When you put all of these pieces together, they pay for themselves. 

Rory is a former federal prosecutor and lawyer, and he said the contracts between the city and the developers make the investments work well for the overall community. There are clauses in the contracts that say if the developers do not come through with their projects, the City of Jacksonville gets their land back.

What is the status of Downtown JAX historical building renovations?

Downtown JAX is the oldest urban core in the state of Florida, where you'll find several buildings over 100 years old. The spending limits have been removed, and that's a good thing for renovations. We want to keep the architectural gems in Downtown, like the Old Federal Reserve and the Porterhouse Mansion, and we can do it since the $1M cap has been removed. 

If that cap of $1M was still in place, no developer could go in and do that extensive work to renovate the downtown area. JWB is currently investing tens of millions of dollars in this development and doesn't expect to get an ROI anytime soon. But JWB feels like big champions for Downtown Jacksonville over the long term, and we're willing to take that risk because we know more tangible wins will take place over time.

Historic renovations are super awesome! We have these old buildings that are beautiful and restored to their former glory. Gregg took his family out to Downtown Jacksonville to show them all of what JWB has been doing. They were impressed with the development going on, and it's exciting to see how these historical buildings — many of which have been shuttered for decades — are coming back to life!

Taking a scooter tour of Downtown Jacksonville is super fun, and we may schedule a time when we have our next Not Your Average Investor community meetup on December 3, 2021. Keep an eye out for future updates!

What is Rory Diamond's full-time job?

K9s for Warriors is his nonprofit business, which is the nation's largest provider of service dogs for disabled warriors. His organization is currently building the world's largest service dog training center. It is his passion, and it's rewarding to rescue dogs and place them with disabled veterans who need their companionship and support.

What homes are JWB building for K9s for Warriors?

What success stories did Rory share about veterans who earn donated houses? Several veterans come back from deployment who have suffered significant trauma and cannot find work. K9s for Warriors has donated dogs to these soldiers, and JWB has donated four houses so far to these deserving military veterans.

This year, JWB is building two homes for K9s for Warriors! Just last week, we passed the goal of $100,000 in donations. What started 4 or 5 years ago as a novel idea has grown into a charity we deeply believe in.

To get involved, visit the website, www.K9sforWarriors.org, and you can see the excellent work they are doing. If you know a veteran who needs a dog, contact Rory Diamond to get connected. They also have a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/K9sforWarriors

JWB is proud to be actively involved with K9s for Warriors, the redevelopment of Downtown Jacksonville, and the Jacksonville City Council. 

How Do I Find Out More About Investing With JWB? 

Contact the JWB team to begin the discussion. If you want to invest in Jacksonville real estate, now is a great time to jump in. Go to www.ChatWithJWB.com and find out how we can help you reach your financial goals through turnkey single-family rental homes.

If you want to become part of the JWB online community, join us in the JWB Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/CashFlowProperties.  

You can also go to www.JWBInventory.com to see what properties are currently available. We encourage you to contact the JWB team for a consultation to determine how our turnkey rental properties can deliver positive passive cash flow. 

We hope you enjoyed hearing what Rory Diamond had to share about the Jacksonville City Council and its involvement with Downtown Jacksonville developments. If you are a real estate investor who wants to purchase from JWB, contact us today at www.ChatWithJWB.com. The Jacksonville real estate market is on track for continued growth, and JWB is excited to help many investors grow their wealth through turnkey single-family rental homes.

To Your Success,

Gregg Cohen

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