DIA CEO: Khan’s shipyard proposal expiration does not mean ‘change in interest level’

The Downtown Investment Authority would have to issue a new RFP to pursue a deal with Iguana Investments Florida LLC.

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  • | 5:14 p.m. August 19, 2020
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Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer told the DIA board Aug. 19 that although Iguana Investments Florida LLC’s proposal to develop the Shipyards property has expired, “that should not be interpreted as a change in interest level by Iguana, Mr. Khan or anyone else” to develop the property. 

Boyer said that when Iguana Investments, led by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, was awarded the RFP in 2017, there was a stipulation that said it had 18 months to negotiate and enter into a term sheet and process legislation through City Council. 

That has not happened, so Boyer said the “award pursuant to that procurement has expired.” 

Boyer said if DIA wanted to pursue development with Iguana at the Shipyards property, DIA would have to issue another RFP. Iguana Investments would have to resubmit a proposal. 

Iguana Investments still is interested in developing the property.

“Since the original Shipyards proposal was submitted and approved, the plans for Lot J came online. As a result, some of the development originally planned for the western portion of the Shipyards were incorporated into the current Lot J plans,” Iguana Investments spokesman Dan Edwards said Aug. 18 in an email to the Daily Record.

“That western portion is no longer part of the Shipyards plan, so this news from DIA is simply part of the process. We look forward to continuing to work with the City on these important projects,” he said.

Boyer addressed the issue during the board’s discussion about approving a site access agreement for Iguana Investments to conduct environmental testing at Metropolitan Park. 

The board approved the resolution 9-0. 

“As far as this particular resolution goes, I think it is not relevant one way or another whether there is an award outstanding,” she said. 

“There isn’t a development agreement outstanding, there never has been. But we do authorize people on a fairly regular basis to have access to our property for various reasons to do testing work or survey work or other things.”

Boyer said the information derived from the environmental testing would be made available to DIA. 

On Aug. 18, the Council Finance Committee voted unanimously on a bill that would have reimbursed the state and federal governments for grants used to create Metropolitan Park.

Brian Hughes, Mayor Lenny Curry’s chief administrative officer, said the bill no longer is needed because it was introduced to start a dialog with state and federal partners.

Curry’s office hoped that returning the money would satisfy the city’s contractual requirement to reserve the property in perpetuity for public recreational use so the park could be redeveloped as part of Iguana’s proposed Shipyards project near TIAA Bank Field.

Under the terms of the grant agreement, if the city sells Metropolitan Park for private development, the state and National Park Service require the city to provide a replacement property equal in size to the park.

Boyer said she would like the board to discuss a substitute location for Metropolitan Park.

An artist's rendering of the Emergence artwork.
An artist's rendering of the Emergence artwork.

Water Street Garage public art

The DIA board approved $20,000 to the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville to help complete the Water Street Garage public art project, “Emergence.”

The $20,000 will cover “additional unforeseen expenses” associated with the project, the resolution reads. 

The city already appropriated about $355,288 to enhance the garage with new public art. The DIA manages those contracts for the city. Seattle-based artists Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan are completing the mural. 

The mural is going up on the southwest sides and top of the Water Street Garage at Water and Broad Streets. It has changing LED lights that will perform at night. 

DIA CEO Lori Boyer told the board the painting of the mural is complete, and the remaining artwork is being shipped to Jacksonville. 

Lofts at Cathedral

The DIA board approved a loan to Jacksonville-based Vestcor Inc. for its proposed Lofts at Cathedral multifamily housing project. 

The board voted 8-0 to allocate $625,000 from the DIA Northbank CRA Loan Program to fund the 20-year, 1% interest loan. 

The DIA Strategic Implementation Committee approved the loan 5-0 on Aug. 17.

Vestcor requested the loan so the project would be eligible for the Florida Housing Finance Corp.’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, the DIA term sheet states.

The mixed-income, multifamily housing project at 325 and 327 E. Duval St. is expected to cost $28.8 million. Vestcor plans to construct 90 units and redevelop the Community Connections building to add 30 units.

Associate Editor Max Marbut contributed to this report. 




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