OFFICE OF THE CITY COUNCIL
117 WEST DUVAL STREET, SUITE 425
4TH FLOOR, CITY HALL
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA 32202
Neighborhoods, Community Investments and Services Committee
Special Meeting Minutes
June 5, 2017
Location: City Council Chamber, 1st floor, City Hall – St. James Building; 117 West Duval Street
In attendance: Council Members Scott Wilson (Chair), Reggie Brown (Vice Chair), Doyle Carter, Garrett Dennis, Bill Gulliford, Joyce Morgan; Council President Lori Boyer was in attendance.
Also: Kim Taylor, Council Auditor’s Office; Assistant General Counsel Paige Johnston; John J. Jackson – Council Research Division; Staci Lopez – Legislative Services Division; Jordan Ellsbury – Mayor’s Office.
Meeting Convened: 9:25 A.M
The topic for the Special Meeting was City of Jacksonville Commercial Property.
Renee Hunter, Chief, Real Estate Division, Department of Public Works and Aundra Wallace, Chief Executive Officer, Downtown Investment Authority, made PowerPoint presentations.
In an overview, Ms. Hunter explained that she would be describing 18 buildings that were located in City Council Districts 7, 8, 9 & 10. Ten of the buildings are located in the downtown area. Her descriptions would include the addresses of the properties, historical data, the current physical condition of the property and what, if any, plans are being considered for future use or disposition. Ten of the properties were the allocated to the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA). Two of the properties were the purview of the Office of Economic Development. Six of the properties were the responsibility of the Public Buildings Division.
Aundra Wallace, DIA CEO, described the ten properties that his office oversees.
The first property was the Old Courthouse located at 330 E. Bay Street in Council District 7.
The structure was built in 1956; it is currently dormant. There is considerable mold and the roof leaks. The current appraised value of the building is $12 million. In an answer to a question from Council Member Bill Gulliford, the appraised value was for the building alone, and not the property.
The Old Courthouse Annex located at 220 E. Bay Street is currently dormant, as well. The offices that had occupied the building were moved to the Ed Austin Building on West Monroe Street in 2015.
The Old Courthouse Annex is afflicted with asbestos, a leaky roof and mold.
Synder Memorial, located at 226 North Laura Street, was built in 1903 and purchased by the City in 2004. Synder Memorial was formerly a Methodist Church and serviced the homeless until the St. Johns River City Band bought the structure for office and performance space in 2000. Its assessed value is $600,000.
The interior of the structure is heavily damaged. Mr. Wallace explained that the City is trying to get the property in the hands of someone who can restore the building. He characterized the project as a “love project”.
Genovar’s Hall, located at 644 W. Ashley Street, in Council District 7, and was built in 1909. It was formerly a jazz hall/nightclub where Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday performed. Today, it is a mere shell of a building, the need for major renovations and repair work is extensive. The existing roof is unfinished, a complete buildout is needed. Finishing walls, electrical and plumbing and HVAC are some of the work that needs to be done. The City deeded the structure to the Nu Beta Sigma fraternity chapter in 2000. The fraternity chapter had renovation plans to turn the LaVilla-era structure into a museum and restaurant. Nu Beta Sigma deeded it back to the City in 2009 when it realized that renovations were more costly than expected.
Mr. Wallace next described the three LaVilla Historic Houses on North Jefferson, next door to Genovar’s Hall. The structures were working class urban homes in the African American community from 1870 to 1910. The houses were originally saved to be restored for educational purposes. The City did not have the funds to refurbish them when they saved the houses in 1998. The houses are not structurally sound. Repair work needed include roof, electrical, plumbing and HVAC. The houses are located in Council District 7.
The Fink LaVilla property is located at 324 N. Broad Street, to the west of the new Courthouse. It is in Council District 7. Built in 1904, the structure was purchased by the City in 1994 for $34,000. Its assessed value today is $100,000.00. The property was abandoned and had major renovation issues when it was acquired. Major renovations needed include roof replacement, the need to install electricity, plumbing and HVAC. Currently, there is a potential buyer interested in the property.
Mr. Wallace described the property in LaVilla that was formerly Lee & Cates glass shop. Paul Crawford, Deputy Director, Office of Economic Development, provided some history of the property in answering an inquiry raised by Council Member Doyle Carter. Located at 905 W. Forsyth Street, the structure was built in 1908. In Council District 7, the former Lee & Cates property was purchased by the City in 2003 for $200,000.00 Its assessed value today is $150,000.00. Major renovations needed include roof replacement, the installation of electricity, plumbing and HVAC.
Mr. Wallace next discussed Brewster’s Hospital that is located at 843 Monroe Street, W., in Council District 7. The former hospital was built in 1885 and began serving the African American community in 1901. Today it is fully renovated. The City purchased the property in 1995 for $23,000.00. Its assessed value today is $150,000.00.
The LaVilla Bistro Restaurant located at W. Union & Madison Streets, Council District 7, was purchased by the City in 1996 for $71,000.00. Its construction was incomplete. The City provided the restaurateur with a loan; the restaurateur backed out of the project. The unfinished structure needs wiring for electricity, the installation of lighting and plumbing and HVAC. The property’s current assessed value is $36,000.00.
The Main Library parking garage is located at 33 W. Duval Street, in Council District.7. The City purchased parcels for the garage site for $2.3 million in 2001. The garage was constructed in 2005. Mr. Wallace described the first floor retail structure as an empty shell. It is a bare bones structure that needs the installation of floors, electricity, plumbing and HVAC. The assessed value of the garage site is $35,000.00.
Paul Crawford, Deputy Director, Office of Economic Development, described the two properties that the Office of Economic Development oversees. The OED’s mandate is to “redevelop economically distressed areas by encouraging private capital investment and higher wage job opportunities within those areas.”
The Armory, located at 851 N. Market Street, is in Council District 7. The structure was dedicated to the City in 1907. It housed the City’s Parks & Recreation Department before that department’s relocation to the Ed Ball Building. The interior of the building has deteriorated. There is considerable flooding in the basement. Major renovations are needed. OED has no future plans for the structure. The City has decided not to renovate and re-occupy the building at this time. The assessed value of the Amory is $3 million.
9th & Main Restaurant is located at 1850 N. Main Street, in Council District 7. The structure was built in 1938. The City foreclosed on the property in 2010. Renovations needed include a buildout. OED indicates that there is a sale pending on the property.
The next six properties described by Ms. Hunter are referred to as Public Buildings properties.
The Ed Ball Building, located at 214 N. Hogan Street, in Council District 7, was purchased by the City in 2006 for $23 million. The structure was built in 1961. Today’s assessed value is $25 million. There are three empty spaces in the building. Victoria’s Café is a former restaurant. Renovations are needed. Discussions are currently underway with a prospective tenant. Knott’s Jewelers was a business on the ground floor that closed last year. Minor renovations are needed. There is a small space on Adams Street that is currently used for storage for special events.
The Florida Theater, located at 128 E. Forsyth Street, Council District 7, was built in 1927. The City purchased the property in 1985 for $850,000.00. Today’s assessed value is $2.6 million. Floors 4 & 6 are leased out to a non-profit arts group.
Former Health Department, 420 Stockton Street, Council District 9, was purchased by the City in 1970 for $5,000.00. Today’s assessed value is $41,000.00. The building was the former lead health and AIDS program office. The property will be auctioned for sale this year.
Former Health Department, 2940 Maude Road, is located in Council District 10. The building was built in 1951. It was a former school health clinic. The assessed value of the property is $28,000.00. Roof repair work is needed. The City is currently in the process of deeding the property back to the grantor/heirs.
Former Daycare, 1225 W. 29th Street, is in Council District 8. Built in 1943, the City purchased the property in 1960 for $3,500.00. It was a former day care center. The assessed value of the property is $35,000.00. Major renovations are needed, particularly a new roof. The property has been added to the 2018 Affordable Housing List.
Former Health Department, 9216 1st Avenue, off of Lem Turner Road, was a former dental and immunizations clinic. The property was built in 1909 and dedicated to the City of Jacksonville in 1939.
The assessed value of the property is $45,000.00. The property has been added to the 2018 Affordable Housing List. The property is located in Council District 8.
After Ms. Hunter fielded questions, a brief discussion ensued.
There being no further business, the Special Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 A.M.
John J. Jackson, Council Research Division (904) 630-1729
June 8, 2017
Posted: 4:00 P.M.