New downtown advocacy group formed

New downtown advocacy group formed
Build Up Downtown wants to bring developers’ voice into downtown projects and preservation.

Some of Jacksonville’s major developers are teaming up to advocate for bringing more development to downtown.

Build Up Jacksonville has been organizing for a couple of months as it prepares for an official launch later this month. Its initial funding is coming from JAX Chamber and developers Iguana Investments, Corner Lot Development, and JWB Real Estate. 

Executive Director Allan DeVault said the idea came from the developers and the Chamber after the rejection of the original Lot J proposal. The group wanted to find a medium to advocate for downtown projects and educate the public on ways they can show support for the projects they want. “They’re a lot of cases where those who are against a project have the loudest voices,” he said. “There was a desire for the pro-business and stakeholder group to amplify the positives.”

DeVault said they have been working to diversify the backers of the project to bring in more voices and capital for their vision. He said Iberia Bank has also come on board and they are reaching out to others.

DeVault said they want to support the Downtown Investment Authority and groups like Downtown Vision while giving the development community a voice in the future of downtown Jacksonville. “Not trying to outdo them or think that we can do a better job but to support them,” he said. Build Up Downtown will advocate for smart development and the preservation of older buildings. He credits the work of the DIA in getting some of the older buildings downtown redeveloped.

“This development around historic buildings is just not coincidentally happening,” he said. “A lot of it is because of the incentives that DIA has put in place.”

DeVault said the long-term goals of Build Up Downtown include supporting downtown without having to incentivize development.

By Kevin J. Meerschaert
Resident Community News

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