III Forks Steakhouse Coming to Southside

16 05 2009

An upscale steakhouse with only four other locations in the nation is coming to the Southside of Jacksonville.

The 9,300-square-foot III Forks Steakhouse is expected to open in Tapestry Park later this year.

Open for dinner, III Forks specializes in prime cuts of meats. The menu, which includes filet mignon, young rack of lamb, veal chops, Chilean sea bass and lobster tail, along with soups, salads and appetizers. The menu items range in price from the high $20s to more than $50 for the filet mignon and crabcake St. Francis.

The restaurant includes a 300-label wine room, according to the company’s Web site.

III Forks is one of 87 full-service and 29 franchised restaurants throughout the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates owned by Consolidated Restaurant Operations Inc. in Dallas. One of the other brands is Cantina Laredo, which has a restaurant in the St. Johns Town Center.

The other III Forks locations are in Dallas and Austin, Texas; and Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens.





Shipyards Project Facing Foreclosure

16 05 2009

The Jacksonville Economic Development Commission’s office has authorized city lawyers to start a foreclosure process against the developer of a $450 million upscale residential and commercial riverfront project.

City officials made the decision after LandMar Group LLC representatives informed them that they would not be able to make a $3.1 million debt payment on the Shipyards project, which is a breech of the developer’s contract with the city, according to mayor’s office spokeswoman Misty Skipper.

The decision to take legal action against LandMar signals the probable end of the glitzy Downtown project that has stirred controversy for most of this decade.

City officials have been meeting on a weekly basis with representatives of LandMar and its parent company since the developer notified the city that it would not be able to pay the $485,000 bill for property taxes on the Shipyards due March 31. Since then, the city and the developer have been negotiating, Skipper said, but there has not been a resolution. The city can initiate foreclosure because it is the primary mortgage holder on the property.

In a memo to the Jacksonville City Council, JEDC Executive Director Ron Barton outlined the following:

•The developer has until May 21 to make the debt payment before the developer goes into default and will be given 10 business days make the debt shortfall payment.

•The city will begin monitoring the net worth requirements for both LandMar, which must maintain a net worth of at least $20 million during the agreement and its parent company Crescent Resources LLC, which must maintain a net worth of at least $500. Barton noted that in the last two quarters Crescent Resource’s unaudited net worth has fallen below the $500 million requirement.

•If on June 29 Crescent Resource’s net worth is below $500, LandMar will be required to provide the city an additional letter of credit for about $18 million to cover the remaining costs associated with the public improvements. If LandMar does not provide the additional letter of credit the city will send a default notice, and if it is still not addressed, will again take legal action.

“The JEDC, along with the Office of General Counsel and the Council Auditor, continue to meet with the developer’s representatives on a weekly basis and will continue to explore solutions and options that address the obligations of the agreement while recognizing the unprecedented economic times and financial strain experienced by the real estate development industry,” Barton said in the memo sent May 13.

Source: Jacksonville Business Journal





Shipyards Project Facing Foreclosure

15 05 2009

The Jacksonville Economic Development Commission’s office has authorized city lawyers to start a foreclosure process against the developer of a $450 million upscale residential and commercial riverfront project.

City officials made the decision after LandMar Group LLC representatives informed them that they would not be able to make a $3.1 million debt payment on the Shipyards project, which is a breech of the developer’s contract with the city, according to mayor’s office spokeswoman Misty Skipper.

The decision to take legal action against LandMar signals the probable end of the glitzy Downtown project that has stirred controversy for most of this decade.

City officials have been meeting on a weekly basis with representatives of LandMar and its parent company since the developer notified the city that it would not be able to pay the $485,000 bill for property taxes on the Shipyards due March 31. Since then, the city and the developer have been negotiating, Skipper said, but there has not been a resolution. The city can initiate foreclosure because it is the primary mortgage holder on the property.

In a memo to the Jacksonville City Council, JEDC Executive Director Ron Barton outlined the following:

•The developer has until May 21 to make the debt payment before the developer goes into default and will be given 10 business days make the debt shortfall payment.

•The city will begin monitoring the net worth requirements for both LandMar, which must maintain a net worth of at least $20 million during the agreement and its parent company Crescent Resources LLC, which must maintain a net worth of at least $500. Barton noted that in the last two quarters Crescent Resource’s unaudited net worth has fallen below the $500 million requirement.

•If on June 29 Crescent Resource’s net worth is below $500, LandMar will be required to provide the city an additional letter of credit for about $18 million to cover the remaining costs associated with the public improvements. If LandMar does not provide the additional letter of credit the city will send a default notice, and if it is still not addressed, will again take legal action.

“The JEDC, along with the Office of General Counsel and the Council Auditor, continue to meet with the developer’s representatives on a weekly basis and will continue to explore solutions and options that address the obligations of the agreement while recognizing the unprecedented economic times and financial strain experienced by the real estate development industry,” Barton said in the memo sent May 13.

Source: Jacksonville Business Journal





Jacksonville No. 76 Among High-Tech Cities

14 05 2009

San Jose and Stockton, Calif., are just 78 miles from each other, yet they’re worlds apart in high-tech expertise.

San Jose — epicenter of internationally renowned Silicon Valley — is the nation’s most technologically adept metropolitan area, according to a new bizjournals study of 100 U.S. markets. Stockton ranks dead last.

Bizjournals created a five-part formula to identify metros blessed with the highest concentrations of high-tech companies, technology-oriented jobs, and workers with advanced degrees.

Jacksonville ranked 76th, with 12,670 high-tech jobs and 1,397 high-tech companies. Jacksonville had more than 23 high-tech jobs per 1,000 private sector jobs and just under 40 high-tech companies per 1,000 private companies. Almost 7 percent of adults 25 or older have master’s or doctoral degrees.

San Jose stands out as the clear leader — no real surprise, given its preeminence in the fields of computer and semiconductor manufacturing.

These are the key factors in its rise to first place:

• Nearly 12 percent of San Jose’s private-sector businesses are classified as high-technology, the biggest concentration in America. The precise ratio in San Jose is 117.1 high-tech companies per 1,000 private-sector firms, nearly triple the U.S. average of 40.2 per 1,000.

• Employment trends are even more lopsided. San Jose has 182.5 high-tech jobs for every 1,000 private-sector jobs. That’s 47 percent higher than the ratio for any other market — and 329 percent above the average for the entire study group.

• One-sixth of all adults in the San Jose area, 16.9 percent, hold master’s or doctoral degrees. Washington is the only market with a higher percentage.

Washington, in fact, ranks second in bizjournals’ overall high-tech standings, followed by Boston, San Francisco-Oakland and Seattle. Each of these areas has more than 160,000 high-tech jobs, and at least 10 percent of all local workers hold advanced degrees.

Bizjournals used raw data from two recent reports by the U.S. Census Bureau to analyze the high-tech capabilities of every market with more than 500,000 residents.

The study focused on so-called Level I high-tech industries, a group defined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as businesses where at least a quarter of all employees are directly involved in technology-oriented work. That includes the aerospace, computer, control-instruments, pharmaceutical and semiconductor industries and scientific research-and-development services.

This definition of high-tech jobs is more restrictive than others used by some private analysts, yet it still encompasses more than 4 million positions in the 100 markets.

The following is a quick rundown of the 10 metros whose high-tech sectors earned the highest ratings:

1. San Jose — Victory was never in doubt. San Jose was the only metro to rank among the top 10 markets in each of the study’s five categories.

2. Washington — Don’t be surprised. The federal government is no longer the Washington area’s sole economic support. Suburban Fairfax County, Va., has become a particularly strong high-tech hub.

3. Boston — The Boston metro rose to high-tech prominence in the 1980s. Remember all the stories about the Route 128 corridor? It continues to benefit from a well-educated workforce.

4. San Francisco-Oakland — It’s hard to tell where the San Jose area ends and San Francisco-Oakland begins. The two metros have 340,000 high-tech jobs between them.

5. Seattle — Microsoft is the linchpin of Seattle’s technology sector, but it’s certainly not the only local success story. The market has more than 5,000 high-tech employers.

6. San Diego — This is the third California entry in the top 10, more than any other state. Only five metros surpass San Diego’s ratio of 91.2 high-tech jobs per 1,000 private-sector jobs.

Source: Scott Thomas, bizjournals





Jacksonville No. 76 Among High-Tech Cities

13 05 2009

San Jose and Stockton, Calif., are just 78 miles from each other, yet they’re worlds apart in high-tech expertise.

San Jose — epicenter of internationally renowned Silicon Valley — is the nation’s most technologically adept metropolitan area, according to a new bizjournals study of 100 U.S. markets. Stockton ranks dead last.

Bizjournals created a five-part formula to identify metros blessed with the highest concentrations of high-tech companies, technology-oriented jobs, and workers with advanced degrees.

Jacksonville ranked 76th, with 12,670 high-tech jobs and 1,397 high-tech companies. Jacksonville had more than 23 high-tech jobs per 1,000 private sector jobs and just under 40 high-tech companies per 1,000 private companies. Almost 7 percent of adults 25 or older have master’s or doctoral degrees.

San Jose stands out as the clear leader — no real surprise, given its preeminence in the fields of computer and semiconductor manufacturing.

These are the key factors in its rise to first place:

• Nearly 12 percent of San Jose’s private-sector businesses are classified as high-technology, the biggest concentration in America. The precise ratio in San Jose is 117.1 high-tech companies per 1,000 private-sector firms, nearly triple the U.S. average of 40.2 per 1,000.

• Employment trends are even more lopsided. San Jose has 182.5 high-tech jobs for every 1,000 private-sector jobs. That’s 47 percent higher than the ratio for any other market — and 329 percent above the average for the entire study group.

• One-sixth of all adults in the San Jose area, 16.9 percent, hold master’s or doctoral degrees. Washington is the only market with a higher percentage.

Washington, in fact, ranks second in bizjournals’ overall high-tech standings, followed by Boston, San Francisco-Oakland and Seattle. Each of these areas has more than 160,000 high-tech jobs, and at least 10 percent of all local workers hold advanced degrees.

Bizjournals used raw data from two recent reports by the U.S. Census Bureau to analyze the high-tech capabilities of every market with more than 500,000 residents.

The study focused on so-called Level I high-tech industries, a group defined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as businesses where at least a quarter of all employees are directly involved in technology-oriented work. That includes the aerospace, computer, control-instruments, pharmaceutical and semiconductor industries and scientific research-and-development services.

This definition of high-tech jobs is more restrictive than others used by some private analysts, yet it still encompasses more than 4 million positions in the 100 markets.

The following is a quick rundown of the 10 metros whose high-tech sectors earned the highest ratings:

1. San Jose — Victory was never in doubt. San Jose was the only metro to rank among the top 10 markets in each of the study’s five categories.

2. Washington — Don’t be surprised. The federal government is no longer the Washington area’s sole economic support. Suburban Fairfax County, Va., has become a particularly strong high-tech hub.

3. Boston — The Boston metro rose to high-tech prominence in the 1980s. Remember all the stories about the Route 128 corridor? It continues to benefit from a well-educated workforce.

4. San Francisco-Oakland — It’s hard to tell where the San Jose area ends and San Francisco-Oakland begins. The two metros have 340,000 high-tech jobs between them.

5. Seattle — Microsoft is the linchpin of Seattle’s technology sector, but it’s certainly not the only local success story. The market has more than 5,000 high-tech employers.

6. San Diego — This is the third California entry in the top 10, more than any other state. Only five metros surpass San Diego’s ratio of 91.2 high-tech jobs per 1,000 private-sector jobs.

Source: Scott Thomas, bizjournals





Home Sales Up in Jacksonville and Statewide

13 05 2009

Existing single-family home sales were up 7 percent in Jacksonville during the first quarter 2009, and the statewide numbers were even better. Condominium sales in Jacksonville dropped 9 percent, according to the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR.)

Some 2,231 single-family homes were sold during the first quarter compared to 2,080 sold during the same period 2008. Median sales prices dropped 17 percent in the Jacksonville area to $151,800. A total of 235 condos sold during the first three months of 2009 in Jacksonville compared with 258 during the same period last year. Median sales prices for condos were down 13 percent in Jacksonville, to $125,700.

Single-family homes statewide were up 25 percent to 31,412 and the median sales price dropped 30 percent to $141,000. Statewide condos sales increased 19 percent to 10,143 and median sales price dropped 38 percent to $110,100. The statewide numbers mark the third consecutive quarter of growth for single-family sales and the second consecutive quarter of growth for condo sales.

The Fort Myers-Cape Coral area had the biggest increase of single-family home sales in the state at 141 percent and biggest decrease in median prices at 58 percent. Tallahassee had the biggest drop in home sales at 29 percent.

Orlando had the biggest increase in condo sales in the state at 148 percent and the biggest decline in median price at 62 percent. Tallahassee had the biggest decline in home sales at 69 percent. The state capital also saw a 29 percent decline in condo median prices.

Fifteen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased existing-home sales in March and 13 MSAs also showed gains in condo sales. It marks the ninth consecutive month that a majority of markets have reported increased sales.

Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month was $141,300; a year ago, it was $201,700 for a 30 percent decrease. Industry analysts with the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) report there is a significant downward distortion in the current median price due to many discounted sales, including a large number of foreclosures. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in February 2009 was $164,600, down 15 percent from a year earlier, according to NAR. In California, the statewide median resales price was $247,590 in February; in Massachusetts, it was $252,500; in Maryland, it was $253,200; and in New York, it was $210,000.

NAR’s latest housing industry outlook reported that entry-level buyers are seeking bargains, which resulted in sales of distressed properties accounting for 40 to 45 percent of February’s transactions. “Given the downward distortion in price comparisons due to distressed sales, it’s important for owners to keep in mind that this doesn’t equate to a similar loss of value for traditional homes in good condition,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

Source: Florida Association of Realtors





Home Sales Up in Jacksonville and Statewide

12 05 2009

Existing single-family home sales were up 7 percent in Jacksonville during the first quarter 2009, and the statewide numbers were even better. Condominium sales in Jacksonville dropped 9 percent, according to the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR.)

Some 2,231 single-family homes were sold during the first quarter compared to 2,080 sold during the same period 2008. Median sales prices dropped 17 percent in the Jacksonville area to $151,800. A total of 235 condos sold during the first three months of 2009 in Jacksonville compared with 258 during the same period last year. Median sales prices for condos were down 13 percent in Jacksonville, to $125,700.

Single-family homes statewide were up 25 percent to 31,412 and the median sales price dropped 30 percent to $141,000. Statewide condos sales increased 19 percent to 10,143 and median sales price dropped 38 percent to $110,100. The statewide numbers mark the third consecutive quarter of growth for single-family sales and the second consecutive quarter of growth for condo sales.

The Fort Myers-Cape Coral area had the biggest increase of single-family home sales in the state at 141 percent and biggest decrease in median prices at 58 percent. Tallahassee had the biggest drop in home sales at 29 percent.

Orlando had the biggest increase in condo sales in the state at 148 percent and the biggest decline in median price at 62 percent. Tallahassee had the biggest decline in home sales at 69 percent. The state capital also saw a 29 percent decline in condo median prices.

Fifteen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased existing-home sales in March and 13 MSAs also showed gains in condo sales. It marks the ninth consecutive month that a majority of markets have reported increased sales.

Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month was $141,300; a year ago, it was $201,700 for a 30 percent decrease. Industry analysts with the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) report there is a significant downward distortion in the current median price due to many discounted sales, including a large number of foreclosures. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in February 2009 was $164,600, down 15 percent from a year earlier, according to NAR. In California, the statewide median resales price was $247,590 in February; in Massachusetts, it was $252,500; in Maryland, it was $253,200; and in New York, it was $210,000.

NAR’s latest housing industry outlook reported that entry-level buyers are seeking bargains, which resulted in sales of distressed properties accounting for 40 to 45 percent of February’s transactions. “Given the downward distortion in price comparisons due to distressed sales, it’s important for owners to keep in mind that this doesn’t equate to a similar loss of value for traditional homes in good condition,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

Source: Florida Association of Realtors








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