JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- A proposal to develop the Shipyards and Metro Park by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan's Iguana Investments was selected out of three plans submitted to the Downtown Investment Authority.
The DIA released the scoring of three potential bids at a meeting Tuesday afternoon.
The DIA decided on Khan's development plan based on factors that include alignment with the city's vision, developer qualifications, experience and developer financial strength. Iguana scored the highest in all categories.
DIA board members spoke favorably about the proposed Iguana project. A few did questions about things like code exemptions and costs, but DIA CEO Aundra Wallace said all of that, including how much the public will be paying, will be addressed during negotiations.
Everything in that plan is potentially negotiable, even the $500 million price tag.
One problem that could stand in the way: the current pension crisis. That would need to be solved for the project to work.
Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping addressed public skepticism that the project would succeed this time around.
"I wouldn't blame people for being skeptical, because what, it's been 40 years since there's been any development in the shipyards. You know, if you're looking for rays of sunshine or reasons to be optimistic, see how quickly things have changed at Everbank Field since Shad bought the team," said Lamping.
DIA will have 18 months to negotiate terms of the project with the developer, however it could happen sooner, said Wallace.
After that would come a redevelopment agreement, which will be sent to city council for approval.
Construction would likely take two and a half years from that point.
Khan's proposal beat out two other bids in the DIA's scoring.
In a statement, Khan said "I'd like to think no one believes in the potential of Jacksonville as much as I do, so today's news is both gratifying and rewarding to me, as well as to everyone within our organization who shares my vision for the future of the Shipyards and the rebirth of downtown."
“I look forward to working with Iguana Investments Florida and the City Council on finally getting this deal done,” said Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.
“This represents significant progress being made in downtown development in key areas where others have failed.”
IGUANA INVESTMENTS PROPOSAL DETAILS
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:
A private marina
Public spaces would be:
Hogan's Creek Greenway
Bay Street improvements
A. Philip Randolph improvements
A public/private partnership would also bring:
U.S.S. Adams mooring space
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.
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