Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority is working to debunk a long-held belief that it is a city of renderings and convince a skeptical public that momentum revitalizing the urban core is real.
Officials for the city agency trying to spur Downtown investment have picked up the messaging effort in the past year, showing business and civic groups the data to back up the trend that local, regional and nationwide developers are pursuing projects in Downtown Jacksonville.
DIA Director of Downtown Real Estate and Development Steve Kelley told the Southside Business Men’s Club on Aug. 31 that $262 million in private investment projects have been completed Downtown since 2021 and $1.4 billion in projects are under construction.
According to the DIA, another $2.7 billion of private capital projects are approved or in review with $657 million proposed.
Residential, predominantly apartments, is leading the boom in what was historically an office market. Kelley said 4,931 residential units soon will be added to the 4,499 available Downtown with a 98% occupancy rate. Another 722 units are proposed.
The DIA official, a 30-year Jacksonville resident, said Downtown will surpass the city’s 10,000-resident goal in the next two to three years and will top 16,700 if the proposed units are built.
His presentation highlights six riverfront projects that the DIA says, if completed, will spur more development, retail and accelerate residential growth.
“Any one of these projects back in the day when I first came here would have been the headline news,” Kelley said.
“And now we have multiple underway simultaneous.”