Downtown Investment Authority Board Meeting: Wed, Oct 14 at 2 p.m.
Zoom Information: Meeting ID 969 1322 2503, Passcode: 207965. Email comments to Rmezini@coj.net
The River City Brewing Site on the Southbank is up for a decision by the Downtown Investment Authority to demolish the restaurant and give away the city owned property to a developer. If approved, the proposal will move to City Council for a final vote. Generous property tax credits are part of the proposal, which is supported by the DIA staff.
Scenic Jacksonville advocates for the development of a holistic and strategic riverfront plan. Such a plan should take into account the private and public parcels and how they are best used for the long term benefit for our citizens. We are certainly frustrated with another giveaway of city owned land done in the absence of such a plan.
Since the project is moving forward, here is our advocacy position:
- The current proliferation of private single use properties along the Southbank riverwalk result in a lack of vibrancy, identity, and little reason to visit outside of a walk along the riverwalk.
- For this site, the minimum requirement should be mixed use, to include at least one 5,000 square foot ground floor restaurant with outdoor seating that allows for river views.
- Riverfront restaurants are critical amenities that the citizens and visitors of Jacksonville desperately want
- The developer has substantial experience with mixed use in urban environments
- It is not a large ask given the amount of tax and land financial benefits the developer is seeking.
- The building should be further set back from the river due to the critical long term resiliency needs. We should not saddle future generations with bad decisions made today about building on the river, when we know the risks. This would also allow for more riverfront park space, of which the Southbank has very little.
- The design of the building must be outstanding; the city should not allow not cookie cutter mediocrity.
Generations to come will wonder why the city did not dedicate more of our riverfront for public enjoyment and that is available to all.
An article by the Jacksonville Daily Record gives more background on the proposal.