Miami firm seeks ‘blighted’ designation for rural land

Part of 1,080 acres in Jacksonville owned by TransWorld Investment Corp. of Miami. (Credit: Dede Smith for Florida Times-Union)
Part of 1,080 acres in Jacksonville owned by TransWorld Investment Corp. of Miami. (Credit: Dede Smith for Florida Times-Union)

Miami-based TransWorld Investment Corp. is still pressing the Jacksonville City Council to designate as “blighted” the company’s 1,080 forested acres of undeveloped land near Jacksonville International Airport.

TransWorld plans to develop a mixed-use complex on its land, and it requested in June that the city make the land part  of a 14,245-acre special redevelopment district that covers much of Jacksonville’s Northside area, including the airport.

Inclusion of the 1,080 acres in the district would make it easier for TransWorld to build roads and install utilities there, at an estimated cost of $8 million.

According to a report submitted to the city, TransWorld plans to build a mixed-use complex with 26,000 square feet of retail space, 4.9 million square feet of industrial space, 93,000 square feet of office space and 670 residential units.

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But some city council members see TransWorld’s land as a bucolic landscape, not the type of urban deterioration in Jacksonville that redevelopment districts were intended to fix.

“We found it difficult to find a bunch of trees a blighted area,” said Council President Greg Anderson told the Times-Union. “I don’t think it was ready for action. There’s still a number of questions.” [Florida Times-Union] — Mike Seemuth