7801 Deercreek Club Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32256

‘Momentum is real’ in both NEFAR and Downtown Jacksonville

‘Momentum is real’ in both NEFAR and Downtown Jacksonville

NEFAR members turn out to hear DIA CEO Lori Boyer and revel in association’s accomplishments 

The membership of the Northeast Florida Association of REALTORS® (NEFAR) had much to feel good about as they welcomed a new slate of officers and directors and learned about the state of their association during their Annual Business Meeting Sept. 24.

As more than 125 members gathered over a scrumptious hot buffet lunch at the Jacksonville Marriott hotel, NEFAR President Missi Howell shared a long list of achievements accomplished by the REALTOR® association this year, in spite of being hampered by COVID-19. Howell also welcomed a new slate of officers and directors who will serve in the beginning of 2022 and introduced Lori Boyer, CEO of Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority, as the meeting’s keynote speaker.

“The momentum is real,” said Boyer, as she proceeded to outline the new development plans that are revitalizing Downtown Jacksonville. “We had a target in our plan to reach a certain assessed value by 2025. We hit it this year despite the pandemic, four years ahead of schedule.”

In 2013 there were four private redevelopment projects in Jacksonville – Family Dollar, JAX Chamber Renovation, McDonalds, and the MOCA Window Replacement, totalling just over $5 million, she said. In 2021, there are $4.7 billion in major projects in the pipeline including $204.4 million in development completed since 2020, $1.7 billion under construction, $976.3 million in review, and $1.7 billion proposed. This works out to 552 residential units under construction, 539,000 square feet of office space under construction, and 135 hotel rooms under construction, and that does not include Shad Khan’s plans for the shipyards and the 5-star Four Seasons Hotel he has planned, she said.

Boyer also detailed several aspects of DIA’s Conceptual 2025 Redevelopment Master Plan that are of particular interest to REALTORS® including neighborhood branding and its implementation, and its focus on residential density. She said between 2008 and 2013 there were no new residential units added to Downtown, which at that time housed a mere 3,800 residents in 2,365 units. DIA has a goal of attracting 10,000 residents to Downtown, the number required to make urban commercial growth sustainable. In 2021, Downtown now boasts 4,314 units and 6,830 residents, she said, noting 591 residential units are under construction, which will allow for 7,810 residents when completed. But within two to three years, that number should balloon to 12,347 residents and 2,737 units, due to projects that are currently under review by DIA, she said.

Rental rates, which for many years hovered at $1 per square foot have more than doubled making the development of multifamily units profitable for developers, she said.

Boyer also noted that several infrastructure projects are underway downtown including Life Ev’ry Voice & Sing Park, two-way street restoration in the city’s core, the TUPCA Music Commons near the Times Union Performing Arts Center, Rivers Edge Park on the Southbank (formerly The District – Life Well Lived), the restoration of McCoys Creek, the Emerald Trail, and Hogan Street Cycle Track.

Several companies have located their corporate headquarters in Downtown Jacksonville including VyStar Credit Union, FIS, and JEA, which has a new building under construction so that its workforce will remain in the central core.

Boyer’s Power Point presentation was made available to NEFAR and will be sent out to the NEFAR members who attended the luncheon.

During the business portion of the meeting, Howell detailed ways NEFAR has met its five strategic goals and introduced NEFAR board members past and present. “I’m pleased to announce that the results are in and the NEFAR REALTOR® membership has approved the Nominating Committee’s 2022 slate of NEFAR officers, directors, and realMLS directors as originally presented. Congratulations,” she said.

President-elect Mark Rosener will serve as the new president. Treasurer Diana Galavis will become the 2022 President-elect. Rory Dubin will take over as treasurer and Tiea Vincent will serve as secretary next year. NEFAR President Missi Howell will also sit on the board, taking the place for Past President Ron Harris. Rounding out the new board will be Andrew Bell, Samantha Heflin, Christian Oliva, Lisa Brannon, Jan Jenkins, Lauren Rohman, Sonny Downey, Audrey Lackie, Susan Severson, Mario Gonzalez, Gonzalo Mejia, Cole Slate, DeDee Harper, Scott Nyman, and Jennifer Tossavainen, who will also serve as president of the realMLS board.

NEFAR’s local Rally in J-Ville, Fair Housing Luncheon, Major Investor Dinner, RPAC Auction, Putnam Strategic Planning meeting, and assistance with Florida Realtors® affordable housing ballot initiatives were just a few of the many ways the association has met its first strategic goal to “Influence Advocacy,” Howell said. In response to NEFAR’s nomination, Florida Realtors® presented William A. Watson, Jr., with its Spirit of Advocacy Award. NEFAR has also responded to more than 35 media inquiries concerning real estate this year and Northeast Florida’s news community looks to NEFAR.com for market statistics on a regular basis, she said.

NEFAR lived up to its second strategic goal of promoting “Professional Excellence” by instituting Gold Key classes, maintaining a professional standards administrator on its staff (along with CEO William Glenn East who also maintains a NAR PSA certification), and creating EDGE (Ethics, Diversity, Goals, Excellence), a new professional society for members who earn six certifications that will enhance their competence and skills. She also noted that NEFAR Attorney Jeff Marks has created a short video explaining the Zillow contract so NEFAR members can better understand its terminology and differences from NEFAR’s PASA.

Toward the third strategic goal of “Member Experience,” NEFAR has made much progress, she said. Due to COVID-19, NEFAR held its first virtual installation gala and awards event, which was supported by Sight and Sound. It also revived the former Northside Council to better engage Northside members and is working with realMLS to create a better and more vibrant platform for our market statistics. NEFAR is working to install a new online membership application that will automatically create their membership file in the association database. This was met by much applause from the membership.

NEFAR has also accomplished much towards its fourth strategic goal of “Community Involvement,” Howell said. This year the association’s board of directors donated $250,000 to the REALTOR Relief Fund in honor of its 20th anniversary, and its Community Affairs Task Force sponsored a very successful River Clean-up event in July which included picking up trash in the St. Johns River and at numerous boat ramps from Mayport to Palatka. NEFAR member Gloria Vinson was selected as one of five recipients of the National Association of REALTORS® 13th annual Volunteering Works grants award.

To fulfill the fifth strategic goal of “Association Leadership,” NEFAR’s board has updated the association’s bylaws and revised the 112-page policy manual. Changes have been made to NEFAR’s long-term investment policies, and the board approved the 2020 NEFAR Annual Audit provided by an independent audit firm. The association also underwent several internal changes including the restructuring of the communications department (by hiring Marcia Hodgson as Communications Director and Joshua Garret as Creative Director), the hiring of Claire Denning, who will work as an additional membership coordinator, and the reassignment of former membership coordinators Deanna Sims and Kristy Walker to head NEFAR’s Education Department.

NEFAR will graduate its largest Leadership Academy class ever, and it has achieved 100% RPAC participation this year, Howell said. She also noted the Board of Directors paid off the $3.2 million addition and renovation to the NEFAR Resource Center and now owns the building free and clear.


Lori Boyer's DIA Presentation


Pictures from the event