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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Apr. 21, 202106:44 PM EST

DIA board approves $1 million increase in Southbank apartment incentives

Miami-based Related Group’s requested $18.2 million needs City Council approval.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

The Downtown Investment Authority board voted 8-0 on April 21 to add $1 million to the tax incentive cap for a Miami-based developer’s proposed RD River City Brewery apartments Downtown.

The vote will increase Related Group’s requested Recapture Enhanced Value Grant from $11.9 million to $12.99 million for a 327-unit multifamily project on the Southbank now estimated at $99.16 million

DIA staff said design changes by the Downtown Development Review Board and the increased cost of materials increased the project price by $6.84 million. 

The larger tax refund would bring the city’s total investment in the proposed Southbank apartments to $18,274,679, including grants, site infrastructure and marina improvements, according to a DIA staff report.

Related Group plans to demolish the River City Brewing Co. restaurant at 835 Museum Circle to build an eight-story apartment building with a 535-space parking garage and a stand-alone restaurant.

Related Group and Miami-based architect MSA Architects redesigned the apartments after feedback from the Downtown Development Review Board and DIA staff that it did not fit “contextually” along the St. Johns River.

According to DIA Director of Real Estate and Development Steve Kelley, the city’s return on investment will increase from $1.02 on every $1 spent to $1.04.

The grant’s structure of a 20-year, 75% refund on the property’s tax growth is unchanged.

The city owns the River City property. Related Group also is negotiating with site leaseholder, Maritime Concepts.

The developer plans to buy Maritime’s interest in the property and buy out the remaining 77 years of its long-term land lease with the city.

In addition to the REV grant, the public incentive package has $5.277 million in completion grants, site infrastructure work and lease revenue loss.

That includes $1 million for the completion of a restaurant the DIA asked Related Group to build next to Friendship Park and soil stabilization for the apartment’s foundation.

Another component is the city’s rebuild of 29-slip public marina, relocate a boat fuel tank and repair a public boat ramp at the site.

The DIA voted 8-0 on April 21 to commit $497,732 in previously unallocated money from its 2020-21 fiscal year budget toward that $1.65 million portion of the incentives.

City Council must approve the deal before Related Group can receive the taxpayer-backed benefits. Council member LeAnna Cumber, who represents San Marco and the Downtown Southbank, said April 21 she supports the deal with Related Group.

DIA Board member Braxton Gillam was absent April 21 for both votes.

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