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Landing businesses upset with demolition deal

Tenants, tears and a whole lot of unanswered questions.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Big changes could soon be in store for the Jacksonville Landing. Some people love the idea, others hate it but caught in the middle are the businesses that have more questions than answers.

"It came as a surprise,” said Ed Malesky, president of the Art Center Cooperative. "We don't get much advance notice of these cataclysmic events.”

Malesky found out about the city’s plans to reclaim the property and tear it down the same way a lot of others did -- on the news and on social media.

The Art Center Cooperative runs a gallery at the Landing and recently invested thousands of dollars in a separate showroom. 

It’s an investment that likely won't pay off since on Wednesday the city announced a plan to reclaim the property from Jacksonville Landing Investments and tear it down.

The Landing was a popular destination in the 80s, but in recent years it has seen more and more closed stores, dwindling visitor numbers and rising crime, including a mass shooting which happened at Chicago Pizza in August 2018.

RELATED: Police release 911 calls from Jacksonville Landing mass shooting

An ordinance set to be introduced to the city council next week sets aside $1.5 million for lease termination, relocation costs and other expenses.

"But we don't know what any of that means and we don't know who that applies to,” Malesky said.

They also don't know how long it will take for the legislation to make its way through City Hall, or how long they have left before demolition. But in the meantime, businesses have to find a way to stay afloat.

"With this going out about it being settled and sold and bulldozed or whatever, people are going to think it's closed and stop coming,” Malesky said.

First Coast News reached out to the city government for answers but their response was that they don't have any further information besides what was in Wednesday’s press release and that legislation is making its way through City Hall.

Click here to see the ordinance.

RELATED: City settles with Jacksonville Landing, clearing way for demolition