Timeline set for Shipyards redevelopment bids

Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority has put a timeline in place for when we could see a development plan for the Shipyards on the Northbank move forward.

On Tuesday, the DIA will begin advertising for the project and will solicit bids. Those proposals are due April 15, and the hope is to have them vetted and one selected by April 29th so negotiations with the winning bid could move forward the next day.

Some Board members raised concerns about only opening solicitations for one month- wanting more time in order to try to generate competitive bids. Several questioned whether the Board was just going through the motions according to state law but had their selection already made, or if they truly wanted to see what kind of proposals could come forward.  Ultimately, they approved the month-long solicitation with the understand that they could vote to extend it for a specific reason later down the road.

Shad Khan's proposal to redevelop the Jacksonville Shipyards was presented to the Board at their last meeting.  Khan's proposal includes residential, retail, and office space along with a multi-layer practice and community field and an outdoor amphitheater.  A proposal from his investment group- Iguana Investment Florida, LLC- asks the City to hand over the Shipyards land and fund some projects including environmental cleanup and a Northbank riverwalk.  In exchange, the development itself would be driven by private dollars and the City would be cut in to a share of the profits if the land were ultimately sold, after Iguana recovered certain expenses.

DOCUMENT: Proposed terms of the Shipyards deal

These details were released just a day before the DIA met about the proposal for the first time, and they overwhelmingly decided they wanted more time to look into questions like what kind of demand there is for everything Khan is proposing and what the cost to the City could ultimately look like.

GALLERY: Renderings of proposed Shipyards redevelopment

During the past week, DIA staff put together a plan for how we move forward with any development idea.

At Friday's special meeting, a second development idea came forward- the first time there had been any indication a competing bid existed. Businessman Patrick Mullen has organized Shitaki Enterprises to lead the project, which would be the "Jacksonville Mega Yacht Center", under his proposal. He has offered a completely privately funded concept- including buying the land from the City and paying for the environmental remediation- saying that he would only seek incentives. The development would be driven by a luxury mega yacht maintenance and refurbishment facility that is private access, but would also include a public international market and some residential space.

In order to get an idea of the true value of the property, Board members wanted to see an appraisal of the property. While staff said, traditionally, this would happen when the proposal made it to the City Council, the Board passed a motion to expedite that. The cost of a quicker appraisal and who’s budget it falls under is not clear at this point.

Even after the winning bid is selected and negotiated by the DIA, it would then have to go through the normal City legislative process.

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