Downtown Vision Inc. releases State of Downtown report

Downtown Vision Inc. releases State of Downtown report

Shortly before Irma – the most intense Atlantic hurricane to strike the United States since Katrina in 2005 and the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005 – unleashed its force on Jacksonville, Downtown Vision, Inc. released its State of Downtown Report with optimistic highlights.

Downtown Vision, Inc. (DVI) is the Business Improvement District (BID) nonprofit created in 2000 to develop and support a vibrant Downtown community and promote it as an exciting place to live, work, visit and invest. San Marco resident and attorney Jacob Gordon is the Chief Executive Officer.

The 18-month study, from January 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 of the growth of Downtown Jacksonville, tracked and analyzed key indicators such as development and investment, office market and employment base, residential demand, hospitality and tourism health, business and retail mix, and safety statistics to measure success.

The report indicates 81 major investment projects are putting more than $2 billion into the local economy in infrastructure, civic, retail, office, hotel, residential and mixed use developments.

In addition to summaries on quality of life factors, such as culture and entertainment amenities, transportation updates and the vitality of the riverfront, the 20-page report provided a variety of facts and statistics worth bragging about.

Among them, Forbes magazine claims Jacksonville is No. 1 of the 10 hottest real estate markets to watch in 2017, the No. 1 U.S. city where Hispanics are doing the best economically (2015), No. 2 in where to invest in housing in 2017, the No. 2 city where Americans are moving to (2016), the No. 2 city with the most vibrant employment scene (2015), and the No. 5 fastest growing city in America in 2017.

When it comes to sports, it’s not just all about the Jacksonville Jaguars national football team. Jacksonville boasts a year-round sports scene including the Jacksonville Sharks, a professional indoor football team that plays March to July; the Double-A baseball team, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, which swings bats from April to September; the Jaguars, which kick off in August and wrap up at the end of the year; minor league basketball team Jacksonville Giants play the court from October to February, and the Jacksonville IceMen hockey team skate on ice from October through April.

Flooding could put damper on occupancy

At least one of the report highlights – Downtown office vacancy rates – may be affected by Hurricane Irma. The reported stated, for the first time since the 2008 recession, Downtown’s office vacancy rate had fallen below the cumulative rate of the suburbs, 15.4 percent vs. 16.2 percent.

It now remains to be seen whether Irma will drive Downtown vacancy rates back up, if only for the short-term.
Severe storm surge caused flooding on Bay Street, forcing the Wells Fargo Center building to shut down and restrict tenant access for two weeks. The 37-story building’s basement parking garage was filled with water, and power was out for more than a week, hampering cleanup efforts.

Wells Fargo employees, of which there are 400, and a few other tenants began to return to their offices toward the end of September. Prior to the hurricane, the occupancy was 92 percent. Among the tenants, the law firm of Pajcic & Pajcic occupied offices on the 19th floor, and Jimerson & Cobb law firm was on the 14th floor.

For the full report, compiled from more than two dozen sources, click here


By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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