Jacksonville cancels deal for new apartments at former River City Brewing site downtown
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In addition to apartments, the deal would have built a new restaurant so that part of the Southbank would continue to have a place for fine dining.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Downtown Investment Authority has terminated a deal with the Related Group for building an apartment community on the downtown riverfront site where the River City Brewing Company restaurant was demolished to make way for the apartments.

Jacksonville City Council approved an agreement in June 2021 that offered financial incentives for construction of a 325-unit apartment complex. The planned development would have helped the city make progress toward its goal of having more than 10,000 people living in downtown.

A Jan. 11 letter by DIA CEO Lori Boyer gave official notice to a Related Group representative the city had terminated the development agreement while leaving the door open for Related to come back later with an altered proposal.

“Following my agreement to several extensions to the performance schedule, we both acknowledged that the performance schedule would neither be met as required, nor could it be within a reasonable cure period since due to changes in market conditions the current project is not economically feasible in the immediate future,” Boyer wrote.

“I appreciate your ongoing commitment to Downtown Jacksonville and your desire to redesign a product for the site,” Boyer wrote. “I look forward to receipt of your new proposal.”

In addition to apartments, the deal would have built a new restaurant so that part of the Southbank would continue to have a place for fine dining.

The incentive deal for Related would have provided 20 years of tax rebates totaling nearly $13 million based on projections for additional tax revenue coming from the value of the new development.

Other incentives were for the city to turn over city-owned land at the site, pay a completion grant of as much as $500,000 after the new restaurant is built, pay up to $1.14 million for improvements to the storm-damaged city-owned marina, and provide a $500,000 infrastructure grant.

The River City Brewing Company restaurant was a privately-owned building that operated on city-owned land through a long-term lease with the city.

To clear the site for the apartments, RD River City Brewery LLC paid $10 million to Maritime Concepts in August 2021 to purchase buildings, dockage, and other improvements owned by Maritime Concepts on the land, according to Duval County Property Appraiser records.

The payment bought out a long-term ground lease that Maritime Concepts had with the city of Jacksonville for the land. Related Group became the owner of the land.

Boyer said the deed gives the city the right to repurchase the land by paying Related the same amount the corporation spent to buy out the lease. Boyer said the deal gave the city a bigger park parcel on the riverfront and the land is generating property taxes because it’s not government-owned

She said if Related does not come back with a “timely new development proposal as expected,” the city can examine whether it wants to use its repurchase right.

Click here to read more from the Florida Times-Union.

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