JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mayor Lenny Curry said Monday that ongoing conversations he's had with the owner of the Jacksonville Landing, Toney Sleiman, came to a head early last week after the owner went public, telling News4Jax that the city needs to do more to improve what was once an iconic landmark for the city.
Both sides agree that something has to be done. Stores still open at riverfront mall say business is slow and the site is going downhill. Many of the restaurants and food court options have closed.
Again Monday, Curry again laid the blame on Sleiman, saying the two sides keep battling in court: Sleiman saying the Landing never got adequate parking; the city saying the Landing has not been paying its taxes.
"The idea that we are going to do the same thing over and over again with the same party and expect a different result, it's just crazy," Curry said. "So look, I am a person of action for the people of Jacksonville, for the taxpayers of Jacksonville. Taxpayers own that asset. They deserve more for their return."
On Friday, Sleiman’s attorney told News4Jax that his client wants this feud to die down, and therefore does not want to talk on camera, but said Sleiman is in for the long haul and would be willing to be a co-developer at the Landing.
Sources told News4Jax that Curry has talked with other developers, but he would not talk about that Monday.
"I don't want to get into negotiations in the public sphere," Curry said. "Even though they went there, I would say it's difficult. (They) have breached a level of trust and are in litigation with the city, but I am always willing to sit down at the table and have conversations with people on how we can move forward."