JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry took his fight for the city to takeover the struggling Jacksonville Landing to social media on Thursday.
The city and The Landing's owner, Sleiman Enterprises, are at odds over how one of the city's most valuable pieces of waterfront property should be redeveloped.
Curry tweeted Thursday "The Jacksonville Landing is owned by the taxpayers of Jacksonville. Sleiman Enterprises leases The Landing from the city." and "Taxpayers deserve better for their investment and their asset."
1.The Jacksonville Landing is owned by the taxpayers of Jacksonville. Sleiman Enterprises leases the landing from the city.— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) June 22, 2017
2. Taxpayers deserve better for their investment & their asset.— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) June 22, 2017
This comes on the heels of public statements by Curry to our news partners at The Florida Times-Union. where the Mayor said “I’m prepared to take the Landing… I’m prepared for the city to have it and to begin in a very public way determining what its best and highest use is.”
“We’ve got a plan internally to put the screws and keep pushing this,” he said.
Toney Sleiman's group bought The Landing in 2003, but the waterfront property has struggled to keep tenants, especially retail. Today, the landmark location is frequently quiet, save for a couple of restaurants and special events like 4th of July fireworks and the Christmas Tree lighting.
In a statement, Sleiman's group says either they must work together with the city on a redevelopment plan soon or they will sign long-term leases with their current tenants, restricting development for a decade or more. Sleiman's statement blames the city for a deal not being made so far.
"For 15 years, we’ve worked with the city to try to make the Jacksonville Landing great. While downtown is always an administrative priority, the Landing seems to get more lip service than actual support.That lack of political support is the reason that the original developer, Rouse, sold us the Landing for pennies on the dollar," their statement reads.
Northside resident Bruce Ayres agrees that improving the Landing is important, but added he's not sure the city purchasing it is the best idea.
"I'm not convinced that the city buying it is a good thing, because I know how government doesn't necessarily improve stuff," said Ayres.
Kristie Cormelius from Mandarin said security needs to improve.
"Yes we do deserve better. It needs to be improved, security needs to be improved, businesses need to come in and support it. It's a great location, like I said, I can see it happening if someone's willing to put the effort into it." said Cormelius.