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Shipyards proposals head to committee

3 bidders have proposals with very unique differences

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Another step was taken Thursday in determining who will develop the Shipyards property in downtown Jacksonville. Everything from Jaguar practice fields to a life-sized replica of Noah's ark has been proposed.

Three entities want to develop the huge tract of land and Thursday's meeting was about laying out the groundwork on how to choose which Shipyards development proposal suits the city best as a three-man evaluation committee was given an envelope with all three proposals inside.

The first proposal was from Iguana Investments which Jaguars owner Shad Khan is involved in. Their proposal is to remake the Shipyards with luxury housing, football practice fields and even the USS Adams being used as a museum.

Proposal No. 2 is from a company called Shitaki Marine that wants to change the Shipyards into a docking facility for mega-yachts that are owned by the super-wealthy, essentially, more billionaires like Shad Khan. 

The third proposal, which may struggle on the credibility side, was uncovered Wednesday night from an outfit called INHIM LLC. It's a company founded by Stephen Grenda, who lives in a camping trailer in northwest Jacksonville. 

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Grenda wants to build a replica of Noah's ark and other religious themed venues on the Shipyards and believes God will grant him the money to do it.

With three very unique proposals on the table, the evaluation committee has their hands full and is staying very tight lipped about which way they may be leaning.

"It's all about the results. We're just trying to do something good for the city. Now I have a package to study, but I'm excited about downtown Jacksonville being better than it is now. So hopefully this can be a big part of it," Jack Meeks of the Shipyards evaluation committee said.

Some of the categories the committee will judge are the visions of the different bids for the shipyards and the financial capacity to make them happen. Each bid will be scored by the Downtown Investment Authority with the top scoring proposal likely to win.

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The evaluation committee will have their opinions on the development proposals submitted by April 4 and on April 30 the Downtown Investment Authority will look at those opinions and begin the process of determining who will win the bid.

Even after that determination, the City Council will still have the final say on who gets to develop the Shipyards property.
 


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