Grand designs proposed for troubled shipyards area of downtown Jacksonville

Examining the JAX Shipyards' potential

The proposals to revitalize and redesign the Northbank Jacksonville Shipyards were released Wednesday morning and show ambitious projects with both near and far-off completion dates.

With three different proposals ranging $350 million - $1 billion and completion dates as early as 2020 and as late as 2024, there is no doubt the shipyards is in for an overhaul. But which one? (Click the provided link below the title to see the proposals).

The Shipyards Jacksonville by Iguana Investments

Provided proposal

Jacksonville Jaguar owner Shad Khan's proposal through his investment firm Iguana Investments would bring quite a few different things into the shipyards. The cost? $500 million.

Private ownership space calls for:

Residential space
Office space
Retail space
A private marina

Public spaces would be:

A riverwalk
Hogan's Creek Greenway
Bay Street improvements
A. Philip Randolph improvements

A public/private partnership would also bring:

U.S.S. Adams mooring space
Exhibition space
Parking structures


Iguana's design for the shipyards is much less ambitious than proposed in years past - but that may mean it's much more feasible now.

Hotels would provide more space for people to stay when visiting Downtown - and cheaper options as well, as the only hotels Downtown right now are the Hyatt Regency and the Omni.

Retail space would provide more shopping opportunities to Downtown, which currently has a Peterbrooke and the Jacksonville Landing; there are other shopping options Downtown, but most of which are spread out.

Parking structures and improvements to APR and Bay Street would allow for more traffic to go through those areas and more people just in general would be able to stay in downtown without fighting for parking.

The U.S.S. Adams would be docked at the shipyards with this proposal, turning it into a museum space much like those in larger cities. As a military town (we have a Navy and Air Force base), it would make sense to bring a state-of-the-art museum to the Northbank.




Sea Glass At The Shipyards by the Presidium Group

Provided proposal

The Presidium Group is a Dallas-based real-estate developer hoping to build the largest structure in downtown Jacksonville with their proposal:  Sea Glass Tower would rise 1,000 feet above the city of Jacksonville and even provide a skydeck viewing area.

The cost is almost as high as the tower: $1 billion.

Sea Glass would bring in several new things to the city of Jacksonville, including an aquarium to the downtown area. That building would be a public place and also call for a children's museum.

All the usual suspects of new development are here, including office space, live entertainment, restaurants, and bars.

They are even proposing several apartment developments for 'every socio-economic level.

The Sea Glass Tower would be built in the shipyard area and the developers are saying it would be the gateway to the city and maybe even the state for those traveling on Interstate 95 through the city. 

It would be 355 feet taller than the Bank of America building, which is the current tallest building in Jacksonville at its highest point of 620 feet (the Wells Fargo building is 535 feet high). The developers argue the building would bring Jacksonville onto the international stage.

From Presidium:

"Through the often subtle manipulation of space; light, shadow, and transparency collaborate through multiple flows of movement to create a sculpted solution embracing Jacksonville's maritime significance with dynamic nautical geometries. Aluminum, stainless steel and glass interact with the eye to convey a sense lightness wile the horizontal battens illuminate into the night, shifting colors in celebration of seasonal and festive events."

At the top of the tower - looking out over the entire city - would be a 7,000 square-foot skydeck viewing area. There would also be two restaurants with gorgeous views at the top of the tower.

The Sea Glass development would be roughly 70 acres. Completion time is estimated at 2024.


JaxOne Innovation proposed by several groups

Provided proposal

The JaxOne Innovation plan would call for $350 million in private investment and have three phases of construction, the first of which would be done by 2019 and the last by 2022.

It is a smaller plan than Iguana's or Presidium's but that doesn't count it out.

The plan calls for Metropolitan Park to be moved to the center of the shipyards. A second park (not yet named) would also be added bringing in a soccer field, water park, and house the U.S.S. Adams.

One office complex and parking garage would be added as well, housing the Jobs Factory and other businesses.

Condominiums and retail space would be added to the current location of Met Park, which, according to the proposal, would bring residents closer to the entertainment and sports activities of downtown Jacksonville.


Phase One (June 2017 - July 2019) - $100 million

Development planning - $6 million
Site environmental remediation contribution - $2 million
Relocate Met Park - $15 million
Parking garage - $7 million
JaxOne Jobs Factory/Mixed use building - $40 million
Retail/residential mixed use building/parking - $30 million

Phase Two (June 2017 - February 2022) - $150 million

Development planning - $10 million
Mixed use commercial buildings/parking - $90 million
Mixed use retail/residential building - $50 million

Phase Three (May 2018 - August 2022) - $100 million

Hotel development - $80 million
Mixed use development completion - $20 million


The proposals have to make their way through the Downtown Investment Authority before being brought to the city directly. At this time, we have no timeline for that process, but the JaxOne proposal calls for construction to begin in June.

We will update you as soon as we know which proposal is likely to be selected, if any, and what the timeline would look like moving forward.

First Coast News has also been made aware that the city will need to put up some taxpayer money on these projects, but the estimated contribution has not been released at this time either.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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