Considered a “Supernova City” by the Urban Land Institute, Jacksonville is primed for development while remaining rooted in its rich history. A gateway into the Sunshine State, Downtown Jacksonville — both Southern and metropolitan — is the focal point of Northeast Florida.
Southern and metropolitan, Downtown Jacksonville is the center of a city with 1.8 million residents across 5 counties.
In recent years, Jacksonville has seen an influx of Downtown development, driving job creation, increased property values, boosted tourism revenue and an overall improved quality of life for all of its residents. Thanks to its city-county consolidation, Jacksonville offers a streamlined permitting process for area businesses, low operating costs and a highly skilled, low-cost labor force.
Geographically central to the “First Coast” region, Downtown is nearly four-square miles. It sits at the junction of Interstates 10 and 95 and is home to the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center.
Downtown sits on the St. Johns River — a key economic driver and trade engine — and one of Jacksonville’s greatest resources. Recreationally, the St. Johns provides miles of trails along the Riverwalk, scenic views and opportunities for boating, kayaking or fishing.
Along the river and further inland, Downtown is the heart of the arts, history, business, innovation and civic engagement in the North Florida region.
For businesses looking to invest, all of Downtown now falls under a singular Commercial Central Business District (CCBD) zone to allow for a dense mixture of uses, while eight distinct districts offer unique histories, amenities and senses of place.
In 2022, the Downtown Investment Authority’s (DIA), Jacksonville’s Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency and City arm for Economic Development, released its Business and Investment Development Plan.
Outlining development goals, incentives and decision-making criteria, the DIA addressed key building blocks of a well-planned, vibrant Downtown Jacksonville, including: commercial office growth, diverse multi-family housing (including owner-occupied and rental property), a strong retail mix, vibrant cultural programming, accessibility and welcoming public spaces, walkability and bikeability, an enriched waterfront and efficient development approval processes.
Downtown is home to nearly a third of Jacksonville’s Class A and B commercial office space, three Fortune 500 Companies, more than 2,400 businesses, and a daytime population of 55,000 employees. Major companies, such as CSX, Fidelity National Financial, FIS, TIAA Bank, Black Knight Financial Services and VyStar Credit Union, have headquarters Downtown.
It’s a hub for six major medical facilities and six college/university campuses. And, the business mix runs the gamut from professional and tech services, health care, finance and insurance, educational and legal services, nonprofits and local entrepreneurs.
Downtown also boasts a strong work culture with a diverse employee base who enjoy short commute times, and a wealth of walkable dining, entertainment and cultural offerings.
With strong economics, Downtown is primed for even more investment.
More than 100 acres of St. Johns riverfront are being transformed to add vibrant living and retail options, unique public spaces and plentiful waterfront and boating access. One of Florida’s most historic downtowns, Downtown Jacksonville, features a robust collection of historic and mid-century architecture ready for redevelopment. Additionally, vast infrastructure improvements are underway to create corridors for pedestrians and bicyclists and to better connect Downtown’s districts and Downtown to its surrounding neighborhoods.
Whether it’s new corporate headquarters, modern multi-family residential, boutique hotels, or major mixed-use developments such as One Riverside Avenue, The Hardwick at Ford on Bay, RiversEdge: Life on the St. Johns, The Shipyards, Laura Street Trio, the projects throughout the area reflect a diverse downtown that’s undergoing a generational transformation.
The Downtown Investment Authority is the Community Redevelopment Agency and the Economic Development arm of the City for Downtown Jacksonville. Guided by a nine-member board of directors, the DIA works to make Downtown a thriving and vibrant economic center for all. In the fiscal year 2020-2021, the DIA invested approximately $70 million to leverage more than $400 million in private capital investment and new construction.
The DIA provides numerous incentives to developers and investors interested in Downtown. Those incentives include: