JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There are big changes downtown, as a demolition crew has started to tear down the Jacksonville Landing.
The city, which owned the land but not the building, took over the longtime landmark in February as part of a $15 million deal with Sleiman Enterprises.
On Monday, a contractor pulled a permit to demolish it. Work started immediately in the complex near the Hooters Restaurant. The construction crew was also working Tuesday to rip out parts of the building.
“Most people that I talked about it with are disappointed to see it go,” said Jacob Whipple, who works downtown. “We’re hoping that something better will come, but it’s mostly sad stories.”
City records show it’s a $1.074 million job that taxpayers will foot the bill for. D.H. Griffin Wrecking Company, which demolished the Jacksonville Coliseum, will take down the 32-year-old waterfront mall.
The once-bustling centerpiece was filled with shops, restaurants and bars. The future of the property remains up for discussion as the Downtown Investment Authority will be taking proposals for what’s next.
“If you’re familiar with Channelside in Tampa, I really want something like that with some really nice shops and bars and really classy things for Jacksonville, just to show the beautiful scenery and have a good time,” said Sarah Hedden, a professional photographer who lives downtown.
Most businesses have been gone for months. The last tenant, BBVA Bank, left Friday. Passersby hope something nice is to come here.
“I do think they can make it a whole lot prettier than it is right now,” Hedden said.
Currently, the demolition team is working on ripping out the interior sections of the buildings.
James Croft, a city spokesman, said the team will tear down the outside of the structures likely at the end of October or beginning of November. The whole project is scheduled to be done by May or June 2020.