$35 million needed to clean up Shipyards property


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An environmental assessment of the 48 acres of riverfront property targeted for development by Jaguars owner Shad Khan contains high levels of of arsenic, lead, mercury, barium, hydrocarbons, and solvents, including benzopyrene, a known carcinogen.

Khan said the city needs to budget $35 million for remediation of the Shipyards property. The remediation plan could also mean changes in the proposed development to accommodate what's in the soil and the uses of specific section of the property. 

The assessment also recommends some dredging of the adjacent submerged land leases in the river. 

As proposed by Khan's Iguana Investments, the Shipyards would include multifamily housing, commercial space, a hotel, restaurants and bars, multilevel community fields, an amphitheater and public parks, a boardwalk and docking space for a USS Adams naval museum.

A major shipbuilding facility occupied the land until 1992 and left behind many heavy medals and contaminants. 

"It was an industrial facility, let's be honest," said Jeff Foster, director of Jacksonville's Solid Waste Division. "They didn't bake cookies on that site; it was an industrial facility. So the contaminants that we found were totally expected; the levels we found were totally expected."

An exact remediation plan would depend on the final design for the development, as some land uses would require more cleanup than other uses.