Displaced Jacksonville Landing tenants, attorney consider suing the city

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With all but one business moved out, the Jacksonville Landing is basically a dead zone. But some of those who once ran thriving businesses at the waterfront shopping center haven't given up their fight.

Some of the former tenants are considering legal action against the city for forcing them out of business.

Hooters shut down its Landing location last week after telling the city earlier this month that the restaurant would remain open through the Fourth of July. Fionn MacCool’s closed at the end of last month. All of the retail shops inside the Landing are closed. The only business left open is the BBVA Compass Bank.

As the owners of Accentuate packed up their boxes and left the Landing, they told News4Jax they felt cheated. They lashed out at City Councilman Reggie Gaffney, who they said made promises to help with relocation funds, but that never happened.

On Tuesday, the couple said they were working with attorney John Phillips, who has requested a long list of city documents regarding the Landing and the deals made with its tenants.

"I think it’s the lack of information," Phillips said about why the small business owners are disgruntled. "They see a big lump-sum payment going to Hooters and big lump-sum payment going to Fionn MacCool’s and no payments going to other tenants, and they won’t understand that this decision had some thought behind it."

Phillips is not taking any legal action at this point, only exploring the options and researching the records. He understands the smaller tenants were on a month-to-month lease, but he said the promises made and the payouts to others may not add up. He wants to check the city’s math.

In the past, the mayor's office said, they have done everything by the book and has met its obligations to all of those involved.

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