Shipyards vision to be decided by the end of the month

The pressure is now on a special evaluation committee to determine the vision for the future of Jacksonville’s Shipyards.

Three groups submitted redevelopment proposals before Wednesday's deadline to put in a plan for revitalizing the now vacant and contaminated site on Jacksonville's Downtown Northbank. Two groups had previously come forward with their plans and made the details public. It was not known publicly that there was a third bidder until the deadline.

The Downtown Investment Authority Evaluation Committee met Thursday to lay out the path forward.

The three member board comprised of DIA CEO Aundra Wallace, DIA Vice Chair Jack Meeks, and Jacksonville Office of Economic Development Executive Director Ted Carter now formally has the proposals. They will spend the next week reviewing and scoring them using criteria like the plan's layout, the composition of the development team, and the financial capacity of the team to take on the project. Their scores must be submitted to procurement by April 24th, and then on April 30th the DIA will vote on whether to approve the bid of the top scorer.

From there, negotiations with that group will begin. Then, any proposal that is negotiated with and approved by the DIA will still likely have to be approved by the City Council as well.

The details of the bids are exempt from public records requests for 30 days, however, all respondents have made some details of their plans public.

The first bid to come forward was from Jaguars owner Shad Khan. He formed a group called Iguana Investment Florida, LLC to handle the proposal, which is mixed-use. He proposes a four section plan- "Live Work Stay Play"- including residential and office space, a multi-layer practice field for the Jaguars, and an amphitheater. In exchange for the development being privately funded, Khan is asking the City to give the land, pay up to a certain level for the environmental cleanup, and also fund road and other infrastructure improvements around the site.

The second proposal is from Patrick Mullen and his investment group Shitaki Enterprises. He has conceived of the "Jacksonville Mega Yacht Center", using the space as, primarily, a luxury yacht maintenance and refurbishment facility. In addition to the private access portion, he is also proposing a public international market which would include vendors from around the world selling authentic food, clothing, and more. Mullen says his proposal would include buying the land and privately funding the entire project, asking only for standard incentives in return.

The third plan is from Stephen Grenda with In Him. Grenda has laid out a plan which includes building an ark and temple for healing and treatment. There would be space for families to stay, ministry, restaurants and more. Grenda says he has been ministering for 35 years, and he believes the plan could be funded through Christian tithes.

WOKV continues to dig for information on all formal proposals which have been submitted, and we will cover all of the bids as they are vetted by the City.

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