Bisnow Returns for Downtown State of the Market

Bisnow Returns for Downtown State of the Market
Panelists for Urban Resurgence: Exploring Commercial Real Estate Developments in Downtown Jacksonville included Bryan Moll, Billy Zeits, Ken Thomas, Matt Marshall, Alex Sifakis and moderator Julia Holden Davis.

Bisnow, the global business-to-business platform for the commercial real estate industry, returned to Jacksonville Thursday, Feb. 29 for its fifth annual State of the Market event at the Southbank Hotel Jacksonville Riverwalk.

This year, Bisnow expanded the event to include three expert panels on topics related to Jacksonville’s current commercial real estate climate.

The first panel, “Urban Resurgence: Exploring Commercial Real Estate Developments in Downtown Jacksonville,” was moderated by Julia Holden Davis, shareholder and member of law firm Gunster’s board of directors. The panel featured major players in Jacksonville’s commercial and residential development community including: Alex Sifakis, president, JWB Real Estate Capital; Bryan Moll, CEO, Gateway Jax; Billy Zeits, vice president of government affairs, Corner Lot; Matt Marshall, senior vice president of development, RISE: A Real Estate Company; and Ken Thomas, project executive, Catamount Constructors.

The panelists covered a variety of topics during their discussion, among which was the theme of collaboration between developers and the city. Sifakis called the utilization and availability of incentives “critical” for commercial development in the downtown area.

“Projects don’t really pencil-in downtown without incentives, currently,” he said.

Sifakis added, however, that he hopes to see that change in the coming years, regardless of how long that takes, so government incentives will no longer be needed. He said the key is “building the right buildings.”

“You can’t build a suburban building in downtown,” he said. “You’ve got to have ground-floor retail, you’ve got to have great architecture. We’ll build a sense of place and have great amenities that will drive rents up, and now you won’t need those government incentives.”

Marshall said despite the challenges developers face in downtown Jacksonville – similar to developing other urban cores – now is “a fantastic time” to be part of the downtown area from “an opportunity perspective,” particularly considering the work the city is doing with its park systems, including the Emerald Trail.

“All of that is so important for us as developers to continue to have interest in wanting to develop downtown. We need that city as a partner and now’s a great time to be part of it,” he said.

Bisnow’s other two panels, “Investment Trends: Uncovering Opportunities and Risks in Jacksonville’s Commercial Real Estate Market” and “Jacksonville’s Journey: Shaping a Community-Driven Future,” featured speakers included Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer, Landings Real Estate Group President Christopher Bicho, The KABR Group Managing Member Adam Altman, Advanced Wealth Education Corporation Founder and CEO Dorian Carter, Carter-Haston Director of Investments Clayton Williams, Ability Housing President and CEO Shannon Nazworth, LISC Jacksonville Executive Director Dr. Irvin Pedro Cohen, Jessie Ball duPont Fund Downtown Public Spaces Principal Laura Phillips Edgecombe and Columbia Ventures Development Manager Ryan Akin.

Moderators were Ahead CRE Founder and CEO Laura Gonzales and Commercial Realty Advisors & Investment Group Broker Craig Emmanuel, respectively.

Bisnow will return to Jacksonville for another event in August.

By Michele Leivas
Resident Community News

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