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J Magazine Fall 2017

The magazine of the rebirth of Jacksonville's downtown

WHO OWNS DOWNTOWN? »

WHO OWNS DOWNTOWN? » DATA VISUALIZATION: Courtney Williams & MARC JENKINS « TOP OWNERS GOVERNMENT COMMERCIAL The City of Jacksonville’s 192 properties had a total assessed value of $868.63 million, making it the top owner in that category in 2016. The next closest is Southern Baptist Hospital of Florida at $266.21 million. Total assessed value: $1.07 billion Percent of assessed value in Downtown: 35.55% Total taxable value: $137,225 Percent of taxable value in Downtown: 0.01% Total assessed value: $1.16 billion Percent of assessed value in Downtown: 38.48% Total taxable value: $1.12 billion Percent of taxable value in Downtown: 77.03% value of $137,225. And First Baptist Church owns buildings on 11 Downtown blocks, with a total assessed value of $54.8 million, according to records from the Property Appraiser’s Office. In 2016, the church’s total taxable value was $2.2 million tied to two of the parking garages it operates. The impact of the exemptions is typically higher in downtowns than in urban areas because of the strong presence of governments, churches and nonprofits. Taxes paid by Downtown entities in Jacksonville totaled $29.09 million in 2016, just 2.5 percent of the $1.14 billion in property taxes collected in Duval County, according to the Tax Collector’s Office. There has been increasing discussion across the country about the impact those property tax exemptions have on dwindling government budgets, particularly during the recession. In 2015, Maine Gov. Paul LePage first pushed the state Legislature to allow governments to assess taxes on nonprofits that owned property worth more than $500,000, according to the Portland Press Herald. The issue arose again this year when a potential government shutdown was being threatened. While those debates have become more frequent in the past decade, sweeping changes to the exemptions aren’t likely to be made anytime soon. They’ve been in place for generations. Aundra Wallace, CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority, said he wasn’t surprised by the percentage of tax-exempt properties in Jacksonville’s urban core. “We are a city in the Southeast, and at the end of the day, we’re still part of the Bible Belt,” he said. Wallace said that certainly puts more pressure on officials to maximize potential Downtown development opportunities. Such as having a 28-acre Southbank site owned by JEA become home to The District, a planned healthy living community by Elements Development of Jacksonville. The Peter Rummell-Michael Munz partnership recently signed a deal with a hotel for the massive mixed-use community planned along the St. Johns River. The development would include 285,500 square feet of commercial and retail space, 200,000 square feet of office space, 1,170 residential units, a 125-slip marina and a public riverfront park, the 22 J MAGAZINE | FALL 2017 SOURCE: 2016 Property Appraiser’s Office, ESRI

WHO OWNS DOWNTOWN? » DATA VISUALIZATION: Courtney Williams & MARC JENKINS « Times-Union previously reported. Last year, the site at 801 Broadcast Place had an assessed value of $25.9 million, but because it’s owned by JEA, the taxable value is zero. The development value for The District would be $400 million-$450 million, which will increase the taxable value exponentially. The same would be true for the 70 acres that Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan wants to develop across from EverBank Field. If an agreement is reached with Khan’s investment company, the city-owned Metropolitan Park and Shipyards sites — which have no taxable value — would become another mega-development. At full build-out, the project will include 600-1,000 residential units, a hotel, 300,000 to 500,000 square feet of office space, 150,000 to 250,000 square feet for retail and restaurants and a marina, the Times-Union reported. All of which should bring a huge increase in taxable value. Mayor Lenny Curry’s budget included $8 million to demolish the old county courthouse and city hall on Bay Street. Wallace said the ability to have a clean slate on the high-profile site near the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront would be attractive to a developer. And hopefully become another example of turning a government-owned property into a development that generates jobs, capital investment and tax dollars. Wallace pointed out that the tax-exempt institutions in Downtown play a role in its vitality and lifestyle. Indeed, they invest millions in capital improvements, employ thousands of people who give a boost to Downtown businesses and can serve as a catalyst for growth. For example, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund spent more than $20 million to buy and convert the former Haydon Burns Library into an office center for nonprofits. Those agencies brought 200 employees to Downtown, all potential customers for restaurants and stores. The impact from the center’s 2015 opening was felt quickly, including by the Burrito Gallery. The restaurant received a $73,000 DIA grant to finance a kitchen expansion and other work, which owners said was partly necessary because of the influx of customers from its new neighbor just across Adams Street. The renovations at the Jessie Ball du- RESIDENTIAL NONPROFITS CHURCHES Total assessed value: $330.76 million Percent of assessed value in Downtown: 10.94% Total taxable value: $313.86 million Percent of taxable value in Downtown: 21.51% Total assessed value: $371 million Percent of assessed value in Downtown: 12.28% Total taxable value: $13.24 million Percent of taxable value in Downtown: 0.91 % Total assessed value: $78.23 million Percent of assessed value in Downtown: 2.59% Total taxable value: $6.64 million Percent of taxable value in Downtown: 0.45% SOURCE: 2016 Property Appraiser’s Office, ESRI FALL 2017 | J MAGAZINE 23