JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The face of Downtown Jacksonville will be changing.
After years of grassy fields, a development group revealed its vision for the Riverfront Plaza and the site of the old courthouse today.
Some of the green space will stay but the renderings of new buildings and walkways have many people excited for change.
Downtown Jacksonville’s newest crown jewel: A series of commercial and residential buildings along the St. Johns River. The prospect of new development is exciting to downtown residents like Darren Fitzpatrick.
“My girlfriend and I, our experience of living in downtown has been great, we like the quietness but we want also the ability to bounce around and pop out to a restaurant and bar,” Fitzpatrick said.
Restaurants, retail and entertainment will be part of RiverFront Jacksonville’s ten new buildings with a price tag of $1.1 billion that could be half the city’s responsibility, according to the Florida Times-Union.
The Riverfront Jacksonville plan will include a mix of retail, entertainment, commercial and living space according to Steve Atkins, Principal of SouthEast Development Group.
“It is time for us to act in a bold way with a bold plan and to make Jacksonville the city we all know it can be,” Atkins said at a presentation Tuesday morning.
The incorporation of green space with the new buildings remains attractive to Fitzpatrick.
“I love the new idea from the pictures I did see," Fitzpatrick said. "I did see they’ll be keeping some of the grass which I like because [my girlfriend and I] we have a dog and it’s our prime walking spot."
Fitzpatrick has lived in downtown since December and is excited to see the growth bring more people in with projects like the Laura Street Trio.
“I think it’s important, it attracts others from the city that you may not see, they may not get a chance to experience downtown that now with the new restaurants it’ll be a little more inviting and it’s always great to see new faces around here,” Fitzpatrick said.
SouthEast Development Group plans to approach the Downtown Investment Authority in July while collaborating with the DIA and City Council to deliver the greatest value to the community, according to Atkins.
The project is designed to be phased over a five to six-year timeline. Approximately 16-18 months of preconstruction work would precede any construction activity, the group says.