This map shows, in yellow, where a proposed office space could be built near Interstate 95 and International Golf Parkway. | St. Johns County.This map shows, in yellow, where a proposed office space could be built near Interstate 95 and International Golf Parkway. | St. Johns County.
This map shows, in yellow, where a proposed office space could be built near Interstate 95 and International Golf Parkway. | St. Johns County.

St. Johns weighs $107,000 incentive for office developer

Published on June 5, 2024 at 2:37 pm

The St. Johns County Commission moved forward Tuesday to incentivize an office developer to build in St. Johns County. 

Developer Pavo LLC applied for a tax refund through the county’s economic development incentive program with goals of developing speculative office space on a 23,000-square-foot tract near Interstate 95 and International Golf Speedway. 

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Pavo qualifies for its development fees (including impact fees and water and sewer connection fees) to be covered by the county. In addition, if the incentive package is approved by St. Johns County, four years of Pavo’s ad valorem property taxes would be paid back to the developer.

County staff estimates that the incentive will total $107,224.

Deputy County Administrator Colin Groff told county commissioners that the deal makes sense. The county needs more flexible space for businesses to operate and wants to act on bringing in new business sooner rather than later, Groff said.

“If it went two more years as vacant property, that’s a greater amount of money the county will not receive than what we’re paying back in incentive,” he said. “The reason we do this is because we want these businesses to build now so we get over the 20 years the residual revenue of property tax, which is good for the county.”

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While Pavo’s business is listed with a Wyoming headquarters, owner John Bogart confirmed he has lived in St. Johns County since 2021 and wants to do business in his backyard. The website for the office project, named Commerce Lake Offices, says it was born out of “failing to find a commercial space that combined office, showroom and warehouse.”

Bogart described the project as “upscale offices” with room to build a warehouse with rollup doors. It’s designed, he said, for a business looking to not commute to Jacksonville for an open-concept office, a showroom or a meeting space.

Some skeptical members of the public expressed concerns about helping the development of businesses that haven’t been determined yet. What if, Charlie Hunt asked, Pavo brings in businesses some community members don’t want?

“What’s going to go in it?” he asked. “Is there any adult bookstores going to be out there? Is there going to be vaping shops out there?”

Jacksonville Today was unable to reach Pavo about specific businesses the developer has in mind for the project.

Others in the audience suggested that the company name, Pavo — Spanish for “turkey” — was a bad omen. Bogart said the name comes from Latin, not Spanish, and means “peacock.”

“I’m hoping it’s not a turkey,” he said. “I’m hoping it’s a peacock.” 

Commissioners unanimously approved having county staff work up a specific incentive agreement, which would return to the County Commission in the near future.


author image Reporter Noah Hertz is a Jacksonville Today reporter focusing on St. Johns County. From Central Florida, Noah got his start as an intern at WFSU, Tallahassee’s public radio station, and as a reporter at The Wakulla News. He went on to work for three years as a general assignment reporter and editor for The West Volusia Beacon in his hometown, DeLand.
author image Reporter Noah Hertz is a Jacksonville Today reporter focusing on St. Johns County. From Central Florida, Noah got his start as an intern at WFSU, Tallahassee’s public radio station, and as a reporter at The Wakulla News. He went on to work for three years as a general assignment reporter and editor for The West Volusia Beacon in his hometown, DeLand.

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