October 27, 2020
In The Public Interest
development rendering
Lot J Rendering

LOT J: Citizen Input Needed

Carlucci seeks input about taxpayer subsidies of Lot J proposed development

City Council Finance Chair Matt Carlucci, Member-At-Large, is asking local citizens and taxpayers for their input on the proposed $250 – $300 million taxpayer subsidy to help Cordish Companies develop Lot J into an entertainment zone, together with office space, a hotel, restaurants, and luxury apartments.

According to news reports in the Florida Times-Union, the complex financial agreement would include the city selling bonds, a favorable tax-payer financed interest free loan, and reduced property taxes. You may link to the the TU story here: https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/local/2020/10/05/city-jaguars-unveil-latest-lot-j-development-plans/3621450001/

And TU columnist Nate Monroe (October 8 column) claims that, “the subsidy package . . . is roughly the equivalent of what the city budgeted to spend on infrastructure improvements across the entire city this year.”  You may link to Monroe’s column here: https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/columns/nate-monroe/2020/10/08/shad-khan-rolls-jacksonville-city-hall/5909591002/

In a rare move for a city council finance chair, Carlucci is asking for citizen input. You may reach him via email, website, or his cell phone (904) 703-0999. 

An excerpt from Carlucci’s monthly newsletter is listed here:

October 2020
A Message from Matt
As I write this, I am praying that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.
There are many reasons this is a momentous time for Jacksonville.
Concern over the City’s commitment to Lot J
The recent announcement of the Lot J development is of particular concern to
me. Lot J will require an unparalleled investment of tax money. I want to know
your thoughts and concerns about the City borrowing up to $300 million to
underwrite the development. Please email me at [email protected].
You can also reach out to my Executive Council Aide, Alyson Lee, at [email protected] 
or call her at 255-5159.
We want to hear from you!

Written by
Sherry Magill

Sherry Magill is a community leader and retired private foundation executive. She is a co-founder of Jaxlookout.

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2 comments
  • I am very encouraged Councilman Carlucci is looking closely at this deal! The trash on our roads is outrageous, grass throughout city property is above the knees, our bridges and walkways are black with mold and forget everything having flowers or seasonal decorations. In short we cannot or do not maintain what we have – why would we add more. Also, my inexperience reading of this project shows the city as contributing massively to the build with all returns in the investment going to Iguana/Cornish. Shouldn’t the city hire experienced advisors to give an evaluation of this huge investment? I love Lori Boyer and her team but an investment of this scale cries for greater scrutiny.

  • Re: Lot J proposal:
    With over a mile of waterfront, the sports complex district has unmatched potential to shape the future character of Jacksonville. It should not be developed in piecemeal fashion. We need a comprehensive Masterplan for the entire area – east of Liberty Street and south of the Matthews Bridge – created by design professionals (not developers) with citizen input. Public access to-and-enjoyment-of the river should be a primary goal. We should expect COJ assist in environmental cleanup and to invest in roads and utilities. Beyond these contributions, it’s hard to make a case for public financing in support of private development. The ‘’Doro” apartment project is apparently moving ahead without massive public investment.
    If billionaire Shad Khan can’t put together private financing for the Lot J gamble, it’s likely not a viable project. The City has no business offering an long term interest-free loan! Nor is it prudent for the city to take an ownership position in any part of the project.
    Shad Khan’s ‘Lot J’ proposal is utterly generic and deeply flawed. Where is parking for the hotel, office building and retail? What replaces the missing retention pond and 600 existing parking spaces? Why a boutique hotel in Jacksonville not on the river? We have a nascent entertainment district – the ‘elbow’ downtown. Would this project complement or compete with those private enterprise efforts?

Written by Sherry Magill

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