Bisnow hosts “Jacksonville State of the Market”

Bisnow hosts “Jacksonville State of the Market”
Moderator Joseph Loretta led panelists Mike Balanky, Katherine Mosley, Matt Marshall, Adam Moorhead, Melissa Spaeth Banko and Aaron Bowman in a discussion about the growing landscape of Jacksonville commercial real estate at the Jacksonville State of the Market event at The River Club on Wednesday, March 15.

Expert panelists discuss factors in Jacksonville’s commercial real estate

A panel of commercial real estate experts spoke on several industry topics at the Jacksonville State of the Market event on Wednesday, March 15.

The event was hosted by Bisnow, a worldwide business-to-business platform for the commercial real estate industry, and held at The River Club in downtown Jacksonville.

Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer made the opening remarks, during which she discussed the momentum and growth building in the downtown area, both in residential and commercial opportunities.

“Florida remains ones of the fastest growing states in the country — for a variety of reasons — and Jacksonville is one of the fastest growing cities in the state of Florida,” she said. “That factor alone has major impact on the investment opportunities, development opportunities, business growth, etc. within the city.”

With 7,500 residents currently living in the downtown area, Boyer said downtown is on track to clear 10,000 residents within three years, at which point, downtown will begin to generate “self-sustaining momentum” in terms of retail.

Despite the fact that businesses are reducing the amount of space they use following the pandemic with more people working remotely, Boyer said, the level of activity on the streets has returned to 2019, pre-pandemic levels.

“That’s a positive data point for us in terms of downtown overall,” she said.

The expert panel was comprised of Chase Properties President and CEO Mike Balanky, Founder and Principal of Banko Design Melissa Spaeth Banko, JAXUSA Senior Vice President Aaron Bowman, Tribridge Residential Principal Katherine Mosley, RISE: A Real Estate Company Senior Vice President of Development Matt Marshall, EXP Commercial Broker Associate Adam Moorhead with Halff Associates Operations Manager Joseph Loretta moderating.

The panel fielded questions from Loretta, ranging from how the region is changing because of development and projects currently underway in Jacksonville to what has changed Jacksonville in terms of demand and job growth.

“Financially, [the City is] extremely healthy and extremely strong right now,” said Bowman, who also currently represents District 3 on the city council. “Our growth, our property values, our investment in the city is making everything…all the plans are aligning very well on us financially being able to do what we wanna do.”

The “big thing” Bowman said, echoing Boyer, is the migration of new residents coming to Jacksonville. He stated Jacksonville’s population is growing by 75 people a day — mainly young people “that want to start a family, that want to have a quality of life.”

“What does that bring — that brings the need for housing, for product, for supplies, for schools and that is not gonna change,” he added.

Mosley expanded on that, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic “left a permanent change in Jacksonville.”

With full-time remote working or hybrid schedules becoming a more regular arrangement for many businesses, people are expanding their radius when it comes to finding a home and branching out beyond the areas near their places of business.

“Pre-COVID, people were really tied to living where their office was around the country,” she said. “Obviously COVID opened that up…People moving to Florida, moving to Jacksonville, so we’ve seen that at our properties…I’m amazed at where people are moving from, it’s all over the country.”

Mosley also cited what she saw as a shift in density from Jacksonville’s southside market — “10 years ago, that’s where you wanted to be” — to the downtown area as activation continues in that area as well as the riverfront, with all the amenities either currently under construction or planned to come online in the next few years.

“I think seeing some of the changes — the riverwalk, the activation, the smart infrastructure — has really kind of set the framework to have the lifestyle that people are looking for in downtown,” she said. “…We really see people making a choice now where they wanna live not based on proximity to their office but the lifestyle, the personality of the neighborhood.”

Balanky spoke of the evolving downtown landscape and the momentum generated by both the increasing migration of new residents and the major developments planned or already under construction, adding that once all these new developments come online “…we will finally achieve the critical mass that we’ve been missing for decades downtown.”

Among other topics, the panelists also touched on how increasing costs in development and construction costs are being handled.

“We’re grinding through it is probably how I would describe it,” said Mosley.

Marshall said he didn’t see prices coming down, rather he expects them to continue to increase a bit, mainly because of rising labor costs.

“Labor is a big issue because of inflationary factors — groceries, etc. that we’re all faced with — well, everybody that works on these construction sites are faced with the same thing so labor is actually increasing,” he said.

Bisnow will return to Jacksonville later this year in August for another event discussing construction and development.

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