City to seek new proposals for old City Hall Annex/Courthouse site

Jacksonville, FL — Since the old City Hall Annex was imploded, and among the ongoing demolition of the adjacent old County Courthouse, one of the biggest questions has been what will happen to the land in the future.

Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority has previously looked at plans for a Convention Center or a mixed-use development, but now, they’re starting over.

The DIA’s Strategic Implementation Committee decided today to put out a new Notice of Disposition for the parcels. That involves putting together parameters and setting a desired development plan, then asking for anyone interested in following that vision to submit a proposal. This is similar to the prior solicitation for these sites- the DIA specifically asked developers to submit plans for a Convention Center and hotel, and then weighed those proposals and ultimately recommended moving forward with one, before Mayor Lenny Curry asked that the process be put on hold.

DEEP DIVE: Three proposals for a new Convention Center in Downtown Jacksonville

In that request, which the DIA ultimately followed, Curry said he believes the focus first should be on developing infrastructure and attractions that would support the demand for the Convention Center.

If the Committee had not opted for the Notice of Disposition, Interim CEO Brian Hughes had offered up two other possibilities. One would be a Request for Information, which is more broad than a Notice of Disposition. An RFI does not include a specific development plan, and instead asks developers for their own ideas.

The other option was an unsolicited bid for a mixed-use development called "Riverwalk Place".

Soon after the DIA received the Convention Center bids they had solicited for these properties, Jaguars owner Shad Khan came out with his own proposal to instead put the Convention Center at the Shipyards site- a property that Khan is currently negotiating the development of, after being named Master Developer by the City. Soon after, developers who also work with Khan offered up "Riverwalk Place" for the old Courthouse/Annex site as an option, if the DIA decided to put the Convention Center at the Shipyards instead. "Riverwalk Place" is a proposal that includes a multi-restaurant venue, multi-family apartment complex, hotel, and more.

GALLERY: Renderings of Riverwalk Place

A memo from Hughes to the DIA Chairman says demolition of the old Courthouse/Annex site is expected to be complete in April or May, so he wants them to start planning for the possibilities that could follow. He expects this solicitation process could take several months.

The review of this site comes at a time that there are many other moving parts in Downtown Jacksonville. Less than a mile away, the long-dormant Berkman II site is nearing a deal, as the City Council considers $36 million in incentives for a $122 million redevelopment. In the other direction, just past the Main Street Bridge, the Mayor wants to demolish the Jacksonville Landing- which is another deal that's in front of the City Council. While Curry has previously talked about putting up a park on that property, the Administration has declined to say whether that would still be their intention. JEA is also looking for a new Downtown headquarters, with three different sites currently under consideration.

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