Another company submits new proposal for Shipyards

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jaguars owner Shad Khan isn't the only investor interested in developing Jacksonville's Shipyards property.

Another businessman, Shitaki Marine Enterprises CEO Patrick Mullen, presented a different idea for what the Shipyards property could become to the Downtown Investment Authority on Friday.

Mullen's proposal is for a super luxury yacht boatyard and marina. It also includes a 40-acre retail and hospitality venue featuring shops, restaurants, nightclubs and inns that would represent different regions of the world, creating an International Festival Marketplace.

The presentation estimated the cost of purchasing and developing the land at about $400 million, but Mullen said Shitaki has received a commitment of funding for the entire project.

According to his presentation, the southern and eastern U.S. coastal areas are home to yachts, fishing boats, cruise ships, sail boats and deep water vessels. But the area does not have a comprehensive marina facility.

The Mayor's Office thinks the second proposal for the city is a positive thing. 

"First off, this is really a good day for Jacksonville. We think this is a good day for Jacksonville because we're seeing progress move forward through the Downtown Investment Authority as it advances of the redevelopment of the Shipyards process," Dave DeCamp, spokesman for the Mayor's Office, said.

Shitaki Enterprises, a Jacksonville-based company located on Beauclerc Cove Lane, aims to change that by building "topline mechanical and full-service facilites, as well as a world-class hospitality center for the captains, crews and owners of the world's elite yachts."

Mullen said the crews will enjoy the International Festival Marketplace, but he believes it would also attract visitors from across Florida, the U.S. and around the world.

According to Mullen, during the Atlantic hurricane season, yacht owners will take their vessels to Europe and the Mediterranean, but before they head across the pond, they will have repairs and maintenance done on their yachts. He said a lack of East Coast facilities catering to that market has created an opportunity for Jacksonville and his company.

He said one advantage for the city is that is the southernmost point that insurance companies will insure a yacht berthed during hurricane season.

Mullen said his company already has contracts to service more than 40 super luxury yachts, as well as bids to service Coast Guard vessels and other craft.

A big difference between this proposal and the one being pitched by Shad Khan is Shitaki doesn't want to use tax dollars to clean up the existing property. Khan's proposal asks for the city to pay $13 million to clean up the existing property.

"Everything will come from us," said Mullen. "The only thing that we request in light of us paying for all this is a discounted rate on property itself; so say it's worth $28 million, we would like to pay $15 to $20 million for the property."

Mullen said he understands his bid is competing with the more well known Shad Khan, a man who he said he respects.

"If we lose it to Shad Khan, we lose it to Shad Khan," said Mullen. "I'm not going to get into a battle because there's nothing I really have to say about him; He's a great businessman."

As far as the mayor's office is concerned, officials said having two developers with a lot of money they want to put into the city can only be a good thing in the end.

"But the big picture is it's good to see this, because it shows multiple people are interested in redeveloping what we feel is a top priority for downtown," DeCamp said.

Mullen said the city would be expected to complete any environmental remediation required or to reduce the price of the property accordingly. He also said he'll be requesting economic development incentives from the city and the state.

About the Author:

Scott is a multi-Emmy Award Winning Anchor and Reporter, who also hosts the “Going Ringside With The Local Station” Podcast. Scott has been a journalist for 25 years, covering stories including six presidential elections, multiple space shuttle launches and dozens of high-profile murder trials.