JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An entertainment district, relocating Metropolitan Park, housing, high-end hotels and new parking garages. That's the vision the Jacksonville Jaguars unveiled on Wednesday when it comes to redeveloping the abandoned Shipyard property downtown.
The team announced their plans for the 70-acres of vacant land along the riverfront following their State of the Franchise. Their new plans add yet another proposal for the area from Jags owner, Shad Khan.
Khan created his first proposal back in 2015 to help the City of Jacksonville revitalize the Shipyards. His plan envisioned new restaurants, hotels, apartments, shopping centers and an amphitheater. However, plans were scrapped in 2016 because clean-up of the area was projected to cost tens of millions of dollars.
To help minimize clean-up costs, they propose moving Metro Park.
"There are environmental issues below the surface of the Shipyard area (that) makes it difficult to go underground for development," says Jaguars president Mark Lamping. "The total amount of green space doesn't change."
If approved, the park will move across the street from Maxwell House and become Veterans Park. It will also connect to Hogan's Creek, which is hoped to encourage more outdoor water activities, particularly kayaking and canoeing from the Creek to the St. Johns River.
Taking the place of what is now Metro Park would be a high-end hotel. It will sit right across from the new Daily's Place Amphitheater and include a pedestrian bridge that will connect the hotel to Everbank Field.
The other major change includes eliminating the Hart Bridge Expressway, a plan first unveiled by Mayor Lenny Curry last November . Traffic will be redirected from the Hart Bridge onto Bay Street, which will make development of the area easier, Lamping said.
A residential area and entertainment district are planned to border the new park. Both areas will include marinas and several parking garages.
"(The marinas) will make it very easy for people to travel by boat to the shipyard. We've got this wonderful river... let's take advantage of it," Lapming said.
"The parking garages (will) help accommodate thousands of people."
The plans have been submitted to the City of Jacksonville's Downtown Investment Authority. The DIA will unveil all plans submitted for the property Wednesday afternoon.
"It's a huge commitment from Shad... huge potential for opportunities (for downtown and) the Jaguars," Lamping said.
"What's good for downtown is good for the Jaguars," Khan added.
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