Move for city to buy riverfront land for development puzzles officials

Some metropolis officers have been blindsided final week by revelations that Metropolis Corridor is turning into intently intertwined within the extremely anticipated however delayed mega-improvement deliberate for the Southbank, the place taxpayer cash — relatively than personal money — might find yourself fronting the $18.5 million price ticket for 30 acres of waterfront land wanted to construct the venture.

Metropolis Council members stay at midnight concerning the particulars of negotiations happening between Mayor Lenny Curry’s workplace, the Downtown Funding Authority and Parts of Jacksonville, the personal improvement group behind a deliberate combined-use venture that was set to be constructed on the previous website of a JEA energy plant.

The proposal is likely one of the most formidable personal downtown tasks in Jacksonville’s current historical past, however information Tuesday that Parts is trying to switch its settlement to purchase the JEA land over to the town perplexed council members and, for some, calls into query the viability of the venture.

“My first response is I don’t perceive it,” stated Metropolis Councilman Invoice Gulliford. “I don’t perceive why the town would purchase that land for a developer.”

What precipitated the town’s abrupt involvement within the three-yr-lengthy talks to purchase the JEA land stays a thriller.

Curry’s workplace, the DIA and Parts won’t talk about their negotiations.

“It was information to me prefer it was for quite a few folks,” stated Metropolis Council President Anna Brosche. “I want to raised perceive what all of it means.”

The event group — which incorporates Peter Rummell, a former Disney Co. government, influential Jacksonville civic chief and one among Curry’s main political financers — insists it’s shifting ahead as shortly as potential and that the venture stays on monitor.

“We’re not enjoying a delay recreation,” Rummell stated. “We’re enjoying a rush-up recreation.”

The potential switch was a part of an extension the JEA board permitted Tuesday giving Parts extra time to shut on the property, the third time such an extension has been granted. This time, nevertheless, the March 30 deadline permits Parts to maneuver the acquisition settlement over to the town, which might then pay JEA for the land.

Any transaction of that sort would require Metropolis Council approval.

The JEA board chosen Parts in October 2014 to barter the suitable to purchase its waterfront property. One main issue that elevated Parts over the one different bidder was the $18.5 million…

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