Could shipyards soon be developed?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – New ideas to develop the Jacksonville shipyards on downtown's Northbank could soon be coming.

The city received the property when other shipyard projects went under.

On Monday, Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in an interview with Channel 4 that he's interested in the shipyard projects.

He's one of many.

In several weeks the Downtown Investment Authority and other groups will outline what they want to see at the shipyards and all of downtown.


Developers have been in town talking with the mayor and the Jaguars about ideas and the potential of the waterfront site.

One developer has proposed building a tower more than 1,000 feet tall and bringing in an aquarium.

Another local group wants to move an old Navy ship, the USS Adams, to the site and make it a floating museum.

Khan said he's very interested in what's happening at the shipyards because it leads to the stadium.

"It's the front door to the stadium, it's really, in a way, the front door to the city. It adds vitality to downtown Jacksonville. I think it can define and really supplement the city. To really have a vibrant downtown, you pretty much got to have 24-hour life in the city. People are living there, they're shopping there. It just can't be a destination to go in and out."

That caught the attention of a developer out of Washington, D.C. who was recently in Jacksonville talking to the mayor and Khan. A letter from Bacon Development to the mayor reads, in part:

"Thanks for the opportunity to meet with you and your staff, and leadership of the Jaguars, to share our experience as Master Developers of the DC's Southwest Waterfront, and learn more about the shipyards site, the goals and objectives of the Jaguars and you for its redevelopment."

A project the group is working on in Washington is similar to plans Jacksonville had. Though in Washington the city has made progress, while the shipyards in Jacksonville still sit empty.

"The project that they are working on has many similarities to our shipyards," said Ted Carter, of Jacksonville's Office of Economic Development. "They want us to have the benefit of us reviewing the groundbreaking they had and the development plan they put together. So they met with the mayor and the senior team here, and they met with the Jaguars and Mr. Khan's team, and said, 'Could you do something like this here in Jacksonville?'"

About the Author: