Tuesday, July 18

Three Challenges to Commercial Development in Jacksonville

A newsy source wrote about the opportunities and challenges for new development in Jacksonville. I've always heard people say there's a lot of potential here, but I've never read much about the challenges, so I was intrigued by the three problems identified by one outside developer looking to succeed in Jax.
1. Legacy developers
This is the old boys club, and I guess those of us who get frustrated by the same old folks always getting their way aren't alone. Outside developers also see it. The good news is that outsiders with deep pockets can actually tell local legacy families to go sit in a corner. I would be amused if I got to see this happen, but it probably won't be televised. Also, those outside developers are probably just as seedy, so I guess it's not a big win for the little guy.

2. Military presence
I thought that the military was unilaterally loved by everyone in Jacksonville, but the fact that the biggest employer in town is the military apparently is a challenge to commercial developers. I suppose Jacksonville doesn't have the same need for office space and the federal government would own or purchase all the property it needs for its purposes.

3. Downtown
It's kind of ironic that outside developers (who probably want to build the hell out of every inch of land south of the JTB) are complaining about our crappy downtown. Please, old boys club, outside developers, and city government, help to get a handle on downtown. About a million of us are underwhelmed, as are any tourists who show up. Maybe visit a dozen cities that have better downtowns and then start making changes everything based on how much better it could be. Really, any dozen cities of similar size would do the trick.

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