JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Mayor Alvin Brown's mission to bring business to Downtown Jacksonville got a shot in the arm Thursday when Fortune 500 company, Mass Mutual announced relocating a branch of its business to the BB&T building on Forsyth Street.
"That's good news for everyone," said Mayor Brown. "It means new jobs for our city. Having more people working downtown. Good career paying jobs. And that's what we're looking for."
Managing partner Roger Dominey says it took no convincing from the city. The company was offered no tax breaks or incentive packages. Dominey says they just wanted to be a part of downtown's growth. "The last 11 years, we've been on the Southside. And I felt like, with our growth and with our vision for the future, it's a good time to come Downtown and be a part of that. Because I really feel that downtown is the heartbeat of Jacksonville and will be for many years to come," he said.
The newly established Downtown Investment Authority hopes more major companies will follow Mass Mutual's lead. DIA member and City Council President Bill Bishop said, "To have companies like Mass Mutual expanding downtown, it shows the world that Jacksonville is expanding and that we're going places. And I'm very, very happy to see this happen."
So far, 50 employees have already moved downtown. And the company expects to hire 25 more over the next two years. It hope to double its business in the next five years.
The branch of Mass Mutual that's moving is called Financial Design Associates. It provides financial consulting services. It serves more than 20,000 policyholders and clients, and administers more than $3 billion of life insurance coverage.