On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
75°
Partly Cloudy
H 86° L 61°
  • cloudy-day
    75°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 86° L 61°
  • cloudy-day
    80°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 86° L 61°
  • cloudy-day
    64°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 79° L 59°
Listen
Pause
Error

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Jacksonville Mayor wants new Convention Center put on hold
Close

Jacksonville Mayor wants new Convention Center put on hold

Jacksonville Mayor wants new Convention Center put on hold
Photo Credit: via Jacobs Project Management Company Convention Center bid

Jacksonville Mayor wants new Convention Center put on hold

Jacksonville’s Mayor wants plans for a new convention center in Jacksonville to be put on hold, for now. 

The city’s Downtown Investment Authority has spent much of this year considering a convention center. They solicited proposals early in the year for a new facility at the old County Courthouse and City Hall Annex site, and three bids were submitted midyear. In September, the DIA voted to move forward with negotiations on one of those proposals- with developer Jacobs Project Management Group- which they ranked the highest. 

IN DEPTH: Three proposals for Convention Center at old Courthouse/City Hall Annex

Still hanging over that decision, though, was a proposal from Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan to put up a convention center at the Shipyards instead, which he is the master developer for. Companion to that competing proposal, a developer- Rimrock Devlin DeBartolo Jacksonville, LLC- put forward plans for a development called “Riverwalk Place” for the old Courthouse/Annex site. It has been unclear how those unsolicited plans would be considered against the Jacobs bid which the DIA Board supported. 

GALLERY:Shipyards Convention Center proposal
GALLERY: Riverwalk Place proposal

Khan has been negotiating with the City for years about redeveloping the Shipyards, and those negotiations could continue through mid-2020. Khan put forward the convention center proposal as a potential first phase of the Shipyards redevelopment. 

GALLERY:Shad Khan’s plan for the Jacksonville Shipyards

Now, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has sent a letter to DIA Board Chairman Jim Bailey questioning if it is the right time to move forward with any of those convention center plans. 

Curry commended a feasibility study that was the foundation for soliciting the bids in the first place, saying it highlighted important questions to consider relating to cost, size, location, and timing of a development. Curry says the convention center proposals that were received by the DIA were “thorough” and “impressive”, but moving through the process showed “these developments are daunting”. 

“The timelines for development and the substantial investment of public dollars would represent a dramatic shift in our capacity to participate in other pending public/private partnerships,” says Curry’s letter. 

Curry says the feasibility study showed the majority of planners wouldn’t be interested in the area or this development without “destination development”. 


“That, combined with the financial data from the RFP, tells us in the simplest terms that if we divert such considerable resources away from other development for a Convention Center, we will still be lacking the additional lifestyle and entertainment that ultimately would ensure its success,” Curry says in the letter.

Curry says he wants to continue focusing on “near term” opportunities, and therefore thinks it’s best to revisit the Convention Center concept in the future.

There is a lot in motion in that area right now, including plans to redevelop Berkman Plaza II to include a resort-style hotel and amusement center. Alongside that development is slated to be the USS Adams Museum.

In the greater Sports Complex, Khan is hoping for a massive redevelopment, that is intended to start with overhauling Lot J. More details on that plan are expected out around the new year. The City is also planning to demolish then Hart Bridge ramps that run through the Sports Complex, in order to stop detouring traffic from that area.

Meanwhile, the Prime Osborn Convention Center on the other edge of Downtown needs substantial investment, and the City has budgeted millions to address some of those needs.

The Convention Center proposal from Jacobs Project Management Company was designed to honor Jacksonville as the City of bridges. They envisioned an “iconic riverfront masterpiece” which would spur revitalization across the area.

GALLERY: Jacobs Project Management Group Convention Center plan

Their plan includes a hotel tower, signature dining, an elevated Convention Center Exhibit Hall, and more. It would all be centered around a large public plaza with a water feature, shops, and LED lighting that can be themed for special events.

The total cost of the project is expected to be around $705 million, with substantial completion originally estimated around mid-2023.

While the DIA could still opt to move forward with a proposal, that would inevitably need City Council and Mayoral approval, meaning it would likely stall, with Curry now saying he thinks the City should wait.

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • In a shocking video that may be difficult for some to watch, a WSOC-TV viewer captured footage of hundreds of birds scattered across the ground near the entrance of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, after flying into the side of the building. >> Read more trending news  Hollie Cameron's disturbing cellphone video shows dozens of birds lying on the ground outside the building and captures other birds crashing into the large windows. WSOC reporter Gina Esposito spoke with the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, who said their rehab team responded to the NASCAR Hall of Fame around 11 p.m. and treated hundreds of birds. They said a total of 310 birds hit the windows of the building. Roughly one-third of those birds were dead when they arrived, and another third was seriously injured. The rest appeared to be stunned but will be OK, the organization said. >> Watch the clip here (WARNING: Some viewers may find the video below disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.) In the video, Cameron watched as a bird crashed into the window and then fell to the ground, joining dozens of others. Cameron told WSOC that she was working in the area when she started recording on her phone around 9 p.m. You can hear her talking with a security guard who claims the phenomenon had been going on for about an hour. 'Oh my God, look at them all,' Cameron says in the video. 'There's something wrong with them. This is not OK.' Carolina Waterfowl Rescue posted more video on Facebook of the birds at their facility. About 100 of the surviving birds are being treated for broken wings and fractures. The rescue group said the birds are chimney swifts and that the colony lives in a roost. They think something disturbed the colony Tuesday night, causing the birds to fly into the windows at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Carolina Waterfowl Rescue officials told WSOC that this was not a naturally occurring event and the birds' migration could not have been a factor because the swifts only migrate during the day. They plan to investigate more on Wednesday. CMPD reportedly responded to the scene to begin cleaning up the birds. Carolina Waterfowl Rescue said rehabbing the injured birds is expensive, and they desperately need volunteers since the birds will need to be hand-fed. Visit their Facebook page for more details on how you can help.
  • Plan to drive through times of scattered showers today ahead of a cool front that will bring drier, more refreshing air to end the week.  Action News Jax Meteorologist Garrett Bedenbaugh says some rain may be heavy at times with a few rumbles of thunder.  Overall rainfall totals are not expected to be great, but the rainfall is needed.  By Thursday morning you’ll begin to feel a change with drier air and high temperatures only in the upper 70’s.  Friday morning lows may fall into the upper 50’s in some neighborhoods, and high temperatures will only be in the upper 70’s.  The weekend is looking a little warmer and wetter at times with a few showers on Saturday and scattered showers on Sunday. 
  • Four separate shootings over a 24-hour period in Jacksonville has left at least six people wounded and, so far, no arrests have been announced by police.  Early this morning a man was shot on W. 17th Street, near RV Daniels Elementary School.  He was taken to a local hospital with a single gunshot wound to the leg. JSO had no suspect description and was asking for tips to Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.  Just after 10 pm on Tuesday, two young men between the ages of 17 and 20 were shot while sitting in a vehicle on Timmerman Lane. Both shooting victims had non-life-threatening injuries. JSO had no evidence to confirm if this was a drive-by shooting.  Around 5:20 pm on Tuesday, police were called to a shooting on Orton Street, where two men were treated and transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No suspect information was given at the scene by detectives.  On Miss Muffet Lane on the westside just after 6 pm on Tuesday, police responded to reports of shots fired. An off-duty officer was called about a gunshot wound victim at Park West ER. He was taken to Orange Park Medical Center in critical condition.  According to JSO, two groups of people in two separate cars that left the area were being questioned by detectives.  
  • A Pennsylvania mom is in critical condition after police said she killed her children and husband, then shot herself, Philadelphia police said. >> Read more trending news  Here are the latest updates: Update 5:49 a.m. EDT Oct. 16: Authorities have identified the woman accused of killing her children and husband late Monday in Philadelphia's Tacony neighborhood, multiple news outlets are reporting. According to WPVI-TV, Damyrra Jones Alcindor, 28, also shot herself, police said. As she was rushed to a nearby hospital, she reportedly told officials she did not want to be resuscitated. Philadelphia police Homicide Capt. Jason Smith said Alcindor admitted to fatally shooting her two daughters, ages 10 months and 4 years, as well as their father, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday afternoon. Although police did not release the victims' names, a family member identified them as Max Alcindor, 38; Maxilla, 4; and Damaya, 10 months, WCAU-TV reported. Investigators said Alcindor, who legally bought the handgun earlier Monday, is facing murder charges in the case, according to WCAU. Original report: According to KYW-TV and the Philadelphia Inquirer, the deadly shooting occurred just before 10 p.m. Monday at a home in Philadelphia's Tacony neighborhood. Police said the 29-year-old woman fatally shot her two daughters, ages 10 months and 4 years, as well as their 35-year-old father. All three victims suffered gunshot wounds to the head, authorities said. When police arrived at the Hegerman Street home, they discovered the woman outside 'lying on top of a gun,' the Inquirer reported. Authorities said the woman, who apparently shot herself, was taken to a nearby hospital. Philadelphia police have not released the names of the woman or the victims, the news outlets reported. Read more here or here.
  • Authorities in Indiana said a baby is alive and well after someone discovered the child inside a plastic bag near a fence in Seymour. >> Read more trending news  According to the Tribune and WAVE-TV, police responded to a call about the infant just before 4 p.m. Tuesday. A resident, who had been walking a dog off South Jackson Park Drive, found the child about 60 feet away from the street, investigators said. Crews rushed the baby to a nearby hospital, the news outlets reported. Doctors said the child is healthy, according to WAVE. Seymour police have not yet made any arrests in connection with the incident, the Tribune reported. Read more here or here.

The Latest News Videos