JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local group hopes to build a 150,000-square-foot aquarium that uses more than a million gallons of water in downtown Jacksonville.
"This will be the biggest project ever embarked upon in Jacksonville," President of AquaJax George Harrell said.
AquaJax worked for two years to raise $50,000 to have a feasibility study done. Harrell said the project would boost the local economy.
They planned to build the estimated $100 million aquarium somewhere on the North Bank near the shipyards where Jaguars owner, Shad Khan, planned to construct a multi-use compound equipped with restaurants, hotels, and retail spaces.
"Whatever they want to go on the shipyards requires people. We bring the vast numbers of people," Harrell said.
Already partnered with the Jacksonville Zoo, Harrell proposed the aquarium would have a river cruise that carries patrons from the aquarium to the zoo.
"With the river cruise being offered from the aquarium to the zoo, or vice versa, people are going to say, 'wait a minute, we ought to stay in this town overnight. That benefits hotels, restaurants, shops, you name it," Harrell explained.
The feasibility study will begin on March 3 and is expected to take six to eight weeks to complete.
Harrell envisioned a public-private partnership to make the project a complete success.
He said construction would take at least two and a half years to complete.
They hope to open the Aquarium no later than Spring 2018.