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Jacksonville officially seeking new plans for Shipyards, Riverfront property
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Jacksonville officially seeking new plans for Shipyards, Riverfront property

Jacksonville officially seeking new plans for Shipyards, Riverfront property
Photo Credit: Stephanie Brown

Jacksonville officially seeking new plans for Shipyards, Riverfront property

They want a new plan that will incorporate more of Jacksonville’s Riverfront.

The Downtown Investment Authority has voted to formally cease negotiations with Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s development team on his plan to redevelop the Shipyards. It’s been more than a year and a half since negotiations started over the proposal, which incorporated the concept “Live. Work. Stay. Play.” by adding more residential and office space, parks, an amphitheater and more to the currently vacant site on the Northbank of Downtown.

GALLERY: Shad Khan’s plan for the Shipyards property

Since then, some components of the plan- including the amphitheater and flex field for the Jaguars- have been pulled out and approved for construction adjacent to the stadium, while the Shipyards property remains untouched.

Following a vote Wednesday, the DIA is now looking to get new proposals for redeveloping the site, but instead of soliciting for just the Shipyards property, they’re issuing for “Riverfront” redevelopment. A map provided by the DIA shows the roughly 70 acre property would stretch loosely from Catherine Street through Festival Park, between the River and Bay Street, with a few exceptions like the property that currently houses the WJCT building.

The City will start advertising for bids on January 4th, and respondents will have 60 days to turn in their proposal.

The bids will be ranked on several criteria, including the qualifications of the team proposing the plan, their financial offer and capacity, and their redevelopment vision. The vision must address the amount and type of public greenspace, riverfront activation, interconnectivity with the Sports Complex and other portions of Downtown. It also needs to speak to the “furtherance of ongoing City and DIA efforts to increase residential, tourism, and overall economic development in Downtown,” according to City documents.

Additional criteria which the Board is looking for in the plan itself includes how it addresses Bay Street, vehicular and non-vehicular circulation, and the general site plan including anticipated land use. The responses need to include projected timeline, ownership rights, and projected cost to the City.

The proposal will also need to talk about any potential challenges, and how those would be addressed. While the challenges are not spelled out specifically, the property does include Met Park, which recently saw its signature tent torn down because of safety concerns. The Shipyards site also still needs to be environmentally remediated, although the City has some money set aside for that. Additionally, Met Park has federal strings attached because of how the park was initially funded.

While the negotiations on this version of Khan’s plan are done, he’s open to submitting another proposal.

“We support and welcome the DIA’s decision and look forward to the opportunity to take a new and broader look at a riverfront development that includes Met Park.  Shad’s interest in developing the Met Park site and Downtown Jacksonville has been well documented and is consistent with the Jaguars’ overall commitment to the revitalization of our downtown core.  The Daily’s Place project is an ongoing example of that commitment, and a potential riverfront development that included the Met Park property would represent a logical next phase,” says a statement from Jaguars President Mark Lamping.

The DIA CEO is forming an Evaluation Committee to review the responses and either recommend one for approval or recommend revising and reissuing as needed. If there is a proposal that comes out on top, the DIA CEO would once again start negotiations.

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