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City to put Brooklyn consulting work up for bid

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City to put Brooklyn consulting work up for bid

Mayor's Office has St. Louis developer in mind, but will seek others to avoid conflict of interest.

By RYAN GEDDES, The Times-Union

The city is interested in hiring award-winning St. Louis urban development company McCormack Baron Salazar to help revitalize the downtown Brooklyn neighborhood, but the consulting contract will be put up for bid next week to avoid potential conflicts of interest, the Mayor's Office said Wednesday.

The Full Article Here

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This is great news for Brooklyn. This area is primed for this type of development and could potentially be the blueprint for future urban infill surrounding the downtown core. I would also like to see development like this in the Lavilla and Springfield areas.

I can't wait to see their ideas.

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They have a good website too:

http://www.mccormackbaron.com/HTML/home.html

My only concern is that they appear to be overly concerned with low income housing. I think Brooklyn is too good a location to waste on that. The way I look it, the poor will always have housing no matter what somewhere in town. They just shouldnt be in an ideal riverfron location - this is not the highest and best use. Make the development middle income and up please.

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^I can see the income levels mixing in Brooklyn. For example, riverfront towers/mid-rises (like the YMCA and adjacent lots, which are ripe for development!) and affordable/low income housing nearer to the interstate.

It seems natural that luxury development would move to the riverwalk, and that rents would be lower near the expressway.

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Imo, economic diversity is the key to having a vibrant community. Brooklyn can easily accomodate low income, market rate, and luxury, due to its large size. The low income talk is most likely just political, because there's still a number of concerned low income residents who live there.

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I'm glad that they are calling in experts for the Brooklyn area. It does have tremendous potential and a great location. I am not as familiar with this part of town as others from a historical standpoint. What instrinsic historic value does this area have? What makes this area distinct from Riverside and Springfield/East Jacksonville?

Side note - I hate when they start saying things like 'bidding' with regards to preofessional services. Professional services selections should be qualification, quality and merit based not monertarily based.

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^There's not much left of Brooklyn today. Today its mostly vacant land with a couple of churches, small industrial, commercial and shotgun houses, in between. The only things going for it, is its central location, riverfront and gridded streets.

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I'd like to see a mid-high rise developed near that Riverwalk Access Point. It would be on Jackson Street, where the Y is on one side of the street, and a blank asphalt lot is on the other side.

I doodled some plans, calling for two twin residential towers, one on each side of the access point/street. A riverfront restaurant (it really is an awesome view) and retail would face the new Riverwalk, and some more retail would face Riverside Ave. Since the property is sloped, the parking could easily be hidden, with garage entrances on Jackson St. The tower lobby entrances would face Jackson as well.

Here's a pic of the site I have in mind

It's nestled in between St. Joe and Haskell.

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My only concern is that they appear to be overly concerned with low income housing.  I think Brooklyn is too good a location to waste on that.  The way I look it, the poor will always have housing no matter what somewhere in town.  They just shouldnt be in an ideal riverfron location - this is not the highest and best use.  Make the development middle income and up please.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Riverside, your statement is so narrowminded. Brooklyn is too good to WASTE on that?? The majority of the people in this area are low income residents. Its not fair to just push these people out of the area in which they are apart of. If any redevelopement happens in the area, brooklyn residents deserve fair dibs on property there. Low income housing can be done in a tasteful fashion..its just that cities arent creative enough to come up with a plan to make it blend with other incomes. I agree that the RIVERFRONT area should be reserved for condos, etc. but low income should not totally be removed from the area. For instance, if the low income housing for Brooklyn, (as well as any other underprivledged part of town), ws done in the same fashion as the housing pictured above, it would effortlessly blend in with the surrounding area. Instead we choose to make "affordable" housing unattractive, with no character, and then complain 10 yrs later when the housing becomes run down eyesores ( commonly known as projects, or the ghetto). The problem is that we isolate these people in these areas where they see no hope, then they have to come "home" to this. We need to give the residents in this area something to be proud of, and a sense of belonging, not isolation. Downtown neighboorhoods are not going to be truly succesful without the residents that already live there. Downtown should not be reserved or exclusive to condo owners. Its time we let all people, from all income levels enjoy the rise of downtown and participate in its success.

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Riverside, your statement is so narrowminded

La Florida: Your statement is naive, at best. First, there are hardly any residents in Brooklyn left. The place resembles post-war Berlin on crack. Second, I would wager that almost none of the shotgun houses remaining are owner occupied, so we are talking about a bunch of ultra-poor renters right now. Are you saying that they have a greater interest in the development of the area than the city at large??

If you do this right, we will create an area that will be an asset to the entire city and which could create a urban tourist destination. No one visits Charleston or Savannah or Paris or London and visits the slum areas. Why create new housing that will become slums in 15 years? Also, there are MANY other places in Jacksonville for poor people to live. And why do you think the poor are so noble anyway? The poor, in less than 30 years almost completely destroyed Springfield, for example. In America, unless you are disabled, you can lift yourself out of poverty, so dont give me that liberal nonsense. I say do this right with a master developer, or just do nothing and let individual landowners come in and do what they want.

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By the way, I am not saying Brooklyn should be all luxury condos. I dont even think there is enough demand for that. I think we should have market rate rentals too for middle class people and young people. I just dont want to have a situation where you have a poor criminal element that scares off everyone else over time. If that happens, the whole thing was for nothing. I also think the development should be attractive architecturally, i.e. not your usual stucco but a more classical urban look. See, I am not so bad.

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BTW, unless I missed it, the article didn't say anything about making low income housing available. It only mentioned affordable housing, which is completely different than what basically amounts to a Hope IV project.

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"Affordable" is a loaded word.

I would expect that they would target the middle class family oriented professionals. This could still mean home prices would be above the $200's, which is definitely "affordable" as compared to the million dollar condos springing up all over downtown. This area is too primed for anything less than that.

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I agree $200,000 is more affordable than $1M condos, but for the average income in JAX, even that is in all honsoty out of range. I make a good bitmore than the $30,000 average income, but, I wouldnt feel comfortable buying a house/condo, as would most people. I do know people in my "tax Bracket" that buy these type of properties, but then that is where all of there money goes. Some of them have to work two jobs just to keep there home and have a dependable car. Maybe it is just me, but what the definition of affordable to Real estate agents is completely differant from the definition for the average person.

But that is a subject for a differant thread on a differant board.

anyway...

Cheers

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I agree that we should strive for mixed income neighborhoods. But having a majority of an area be low income housing certainly isn't mixed. So, here's the thing....

Currently downtown, brooklyn, and lavilla are dominated by low income/affordable housing. Even with Berkman and 11E, most downtown residents are still low income. So if we truly have a goal of a mixed income neighborhood. shouldn't we be trying to build middle class and luxury homes, rather than more low income? We probably couldn't eliminate low income housing from downtown even if we were trying.

To paraphrase one of the founders of new urbanism, Andres Duaney ... American downtowns already provide low income housing in alarming numbers. The last thing we should worry about is creating more.

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I disagree, the entire are severly lacks in the availability of affordable housing. There's clearly a shortage of housing in the $100k - $200k range in downtown and these neighborhoods, especially compared to what's being built in other cities, where property values are higher, in some cases. Not rental, but residental units you can own. There's plenty of land in Brooklyn, away from the river, for this segment of housing. Feeling this need is more important, than catering future developments to the luxury market. Downtown will never become the vibrant place, we all dream about, until we cater to this market.

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"Affordable" is a loaded word.

I would expect that they would target the middle class family oriented professionals.  This could still mean home prices would be above the $200's, which is definitely "affordable" as compared to the million dollar condos springing up all over downtown.  This area is too primed for anything less than that.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Downtown and Brooklyn is ripe for housing in the $100ks, in the 500sf to 1,000sf range.

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Half of you have never even been down IN the brooklyn area. What do you mean there are hardly any residents left? There's still plenty of residents there now, and that have been in the area for years. And contrary to everyones belief, not everyone in brooklyn is out on drugs or poor. There are many pastors, elderly, and respectful hardworking people in BK. Residents cant help it if the city totally neglected the area, cut it off from downtown, and built/building expressways right through it. Im not saying build low income housing to keep the area in the same bad shape its in now, Im simply saying that I hope the city takes in consideration the good, respectable, hard working people in BK who have a place there. Those who not only understand but are apart of the history of Brooklyn. Just like you guys dont want to demolish historical structures, etc. dont destroy the history of an area like this. Allow the residents to have some say in what happens to the area................And speaking of the poor...you speak as if you have been poor before. Who's going to hire a poor person? McDonalds!! Oh yeah thats why they're still poor. Riverside, im sure you have a nice paying job: hint: Whats your occupation Forum. Dont give me that America Land of Opportunity crap. The poor are just pushed along to another area..right..just like youre suggesting. Bottomline, you havent walked a block in Brooklyn, i have, so please do me a favor and try to talk about somewhere youve been or people you know ...like Riverside..or perhaps Ortega :thumbsup: . You cant go by what you hear or what you perceive the area to be (based on what you see from the expressway). Give me a call one day and i'll take you on a up close and personal tour through Bk, this includes a stop by my grandmothers house too. Im offended by the way you speak of the residents of BK like they are all poor useless peasants on the King's land.

But, theres one thing we do agree on...the poor ger poorer and the rich get richer. Oh yeah, and no more stucco! So that makes two! ^_^

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I disagree, the entire are severly lacks in the availability of affordable housing. There's clearly a shortage of housing in the $100k - $200k range in downtown and these neighborhoods

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well I certainly agree with you there. These neighborhoods do need more houses/condos (as opposed to rentals) in the $100k-$200k range. Frankly, depending on the square footage, I might consider that lower-middle to regular middle class range.

But I think you are being unfair in your argument. When someone talks about "affordable" or "low income" housing, there is a specific definition that politicians use. They are almost always talking about rental-only units, leased at below market rates through government subsidy or tax-breaks.

So when I say we don't need more low income housing that's what I'm talking about. I certainly wouldn't oppose the creation of $100k-$200k owner-occupied units, and I doubt anyone else on the boards would either. (Of course, there's always Reggie Fullwood, who blocked a rowhouse project in LaVilla because $175k units were too expensive for the neighborhood, according to him)

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Well I certainly agree with you there. These neighborhoods do need more houses/condos (as opposed to rentals) in the $100k-$200k range. Frankly, depending on the square footage, I might consider that lower-middle to regular middle class range.

But I think you are being unfair in your argument. When someone talks about "affordable" or "low income" housing, there is a specific definition that politicians use. They are almost always talking about rental-only units, leased at below market rates through government subsidy or tax-breaks.

So when I say we don't need more low income housing that's what I'm talking about. I certainly wouldn't oppose the creation of $100k-$200k owner-occupied units, and I doubt anyone else on the boards would either. (Of course, there's always Reggie Fullwood, who blocked a rowhouse project in LaVilla because $175k units were too expensive for the neighborhood, according to him)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes, I remember that project. To this day, I still believe that would have been one of the best things to happen in LaVilla, since it was destroyed in the 90's.

For some reason, I've always associated "Affordable Housing", as a term for providing residential units for sale, for people who have a household income in the $30k range. "Low Income" was normally associated with government housing projects.....two totally different things.

Whatever term is used, I believe its a good thing to provide housing in the area for hard working average residents who bring in around $30k a year. Because, at the end of the day, these are the ones who will normally give the most support to the restaurants, bars and other businesses, everyone wants to see, in the area.

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La Florida: I have absolutely no objection to there being units for sale in the new Brooklyn at $100,000 + range (for a 1/1, for example). If you make $30,000 a year, which is the average income for Jacksonville, you can afford this. I am objecting to the use of the land for public housing, homeless shelters, flop houses, and crack houses. As to the question of whether or not I visit Brooklyn, I drive through the neighborhood 2-4 times a day. I live in the adjacent neighborhood, Riverside, and work downtown. I would say I have driven the majority of the streets there and I have never seen a well maintained home in that area. I know the area has historical significance in that it has been occupied for many years and so forth, but almost all of the old houses are gone. And, I would not walk the streets there because they do not appear to be safe and there isnt much to look at anyway. My grandparents used to live in Springfield until the 70s, by the way, and the fact that it was a cesspool back then didnt make them bad people (so I am not saying your grandmother is a bad person). You see, I dont come from wealth either.

As to the poor, I represent them every day in Court and, except for those who are disabled, most brought failure on themselves in one way or another. You spoke of McDonalds too. If you have a two person household, with the husband and wife (marriage is not something favored by the poor, by the way, which impoverishes them further), both could be managers at McDonald's given enough time on the job and make $60,000 per year between them. Also, 80% of the millionaires in this country made the money themselves. So, your statement that the poor are somehow being kept down by "The Man" is just a liberal fantasy and an excuse.

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The Brooklyn area SHOULD be marketed for single family residences and the $100 -$200 range, however, the SAD reality is that there aren't many developers out there that would be willing to invest the kind of money it would take to create such a neighborhood without huge government incentives. Its easier for them to buy a thousand acres in the suburbs where land is cheap and build $40k homes and sell them for $250k. So for now all the city can do is provide a strict overlay for the area and leave it up to the market to decide when things are built and how much they are valued.

Also, anything that may happen wouldn't stay that way for long. As the demand for urban housing increases so will the value of these once $100k homes will quickly push them out of range for those looking for "affordable" housing downtown, like me.

On a good note, the land values for the area are quickly rising as more interest builds for the area. These current homeowners will make top dollar in a sale.

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Riverside: The "Man"?? I didnt use that word first of all, and its not an excuse...unless thats what you call the truth. But NEway this is a forum for skyscrapers, urban planning, and so on but its nice to have a healthy debate every now and then. Thanks for participating. But i like the 100k plus idea in brooklyn at least we agree on that. No hard feelings..La Florida ;)

P.S. Was it you who allowed the Self Storage to be built in Brooklyn??? Come on you can tell us......just kidding man ^_^

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Agreed. I think we both want to see Jacksonville get better. No hard feelings.

I hate that Self-Storage thing (they are now trying to dress it up with brick). I would like to see it demolished.

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