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Jax Daily Record Friday, Sep. 6, 201903:24 PM EST

City Council Finance Committee approves Project Sharp

It also supported a $3.5 million incentives deal with Florida Blue to build a 750-space parking structure in Brooklyn.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

The City Council Finance Committee signed off Friday on an incentives package for code-named Project Sharp and a deal that would clear a Florida Blue parking lot Downtown for Sharp’s development.

Both ordinances, approved 7-0 by committee members, advance to City Council at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

In the proposed agreement drafted by the city’s Office of Economic Development, Sharp would create 500 jobs and build a 300,000-square-foot office building and parking structure for a $145 million corporate headquarters.

Ordinance 2019-596 would authorize $29.9 million in city and state-backed financial incentives for Sharp comprising a Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund; a Recapture Enhanced Value grant; and a city-backed closing grant.

Sharp, described as an international financial technology services firm, matches the profile of  Jacksonville-based Fidelity National Information Services Inc.

The jobs should be in place by 2029, according to the agreement, created at a rate of 50 per year starting in 2020. The jobs will pay an average annual salary of $85,000.

The agreement also states Sharp will retain 1,216 jobs it already has in Jacksonville, similar to the size of the FIS workforce.

The Downtown Investment Authority board approved the Sharp economic development agreement Aug. 7.

An aerial photograph included in DIA documentation shows the Florida Blue’s riverfront parking lot at 323 Riverside Ave. as the intended site for Sharp’s proposed headquarters.

Ordinance 2019-626 authorizes the city to give a $3.5 million completion grant to Florida Blue to build a 750-space, $22.5 million parking garage on city-owned property at Magnolia, Park and Forest streets two blocks west of the Riverside Avenue lot. The city would transfer ownership of the 2.3-acre parcel,  appraised at $3.17 million, to Florida Blue at no cost.

Under the agreement, the public would have access to the garage after 6 p.m. weekdays and 24-hours-per-day on weekends. It also will clear its existing riverfront parking lot for Sharp’s headquarters.


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