Mayor Curry taps the brakes on Downtown convention center

Mayor questions project's costs, timing

By Nick Jones - Digital producer

Jacobs Engineering convention center proposal

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Don't expect to see a new convention center in downtown Jacksonville any time soon.

In a letter to the Downtown Investment Authority, Mayor Lenny Curry questioned whether a new convention center will work in Jacksonville. He suggested the city focus on other downtown projects that could enhance the area.

Curry wrote in his letter:

...these developments are daunting. The timelines for development and the substantial investment of public dollars would represent a dramatic shift in our capacity to participate in other pending public/private partnerships.

Referring to a feasibility study, Curry noted that 60 percent of planners interviewed or surveyed were not interested in Jacksonville and/or a new convention center without destination development. In addition, he said the study, although comprehensive, did not entirely address the cost, location and timing of a new center.

READ IT: Letter from Curry to Downtown Investment Authority

Curry said that, combined with financial data, the city would still be lacking additional lifestyle and entertainment attractions that would ensure the convention center's success.

The convention center would be built on the Northbank, taking the place of the former Duval County Courthouse and City Hall Annex buildings. The city has received three different bids for the property, each of which include a new convention center, hotel and parking garage.

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