JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – City leaders are turning to real estate to solve a billion-dollar financial problem.
The plan, submitted by City Councilman Matt Schellenberg, calls for the transfer of some of Jacksonville's prime riverfront property to the Police and Fire Pension Fund.
That transfer, according to Schellenberg, would help close part of the city's pension obligation.
Local real estate agent Warren Tyre calls it a bargaining chip.
Tyre has been in the real estate game in Jacksonville for 40 years. He founded Commercial Real Estate Solutions.
Tyre tells Action News that the city's value for the properties is below market value.
The city property appraiser lists $29 million for the shipyards, $18.4 million for the old courthouse and $8.9 million for the old city hall.
Those potential moneymakers sit mostly empty and unused. "I see it not on the tax rolls and I see it as a detriment to the city of Jacksonville," said Tyre.
Whoever takes control of the city's high-dollar eyesores, Tyre says someone needs to pay the real estate tax on the properties, which he predicts would bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for the city of Jacksonville.
"If they give it to the pension fund or sell it to the pension fund, and don't add the requirement to pay ad valorem taxes, it's still a stalemate. It's still standing still," said Tyre.
Action News has learned that if the properties are transferred over, the PFPF will likely not make real estate tax payments.