City hiring contractor to tear down the Jacksonville Landing

After 32-year run, the end is in sight for the once-popular riverfront mall

By Garrett Pelican - Digital executive producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Though the future of the property where The Jacksonville Landing sits remains unclear, the city has already set in motion a plan to get rid of the once-popular riverfront mall.

On Thursday, the city posted an ad on its website seeking vendors to bid on the contract to demolish the Landing, two weeks after acquiring the venue from longtime owner Sleiman Enterprises.

The news comes as businesses still operating inside the largely vacant mall scramble to close and clear out ahead of a May 31 deadline set by the city -- though some, like Hooters, remain open.

According to the posting, the scope of work includes “furnishing all labor, materials, and equipment and performing all operations necessary” to demolish the Landing, plus debris removal and site restoration.

Those interested in bidding on the demolition project must pay $40 and attend a mandatory pre-bid conference at 10 a.m. May 23 at the Ed Ball Building downtown. Bidding opens at 2 p.m. on June 14.

The city's public works department will score the bids and make the decision on who wins the contract. Bids won't become public until 30 days later, unless the city awards the contract before then. 

Tearing down the Landing would mark the final chapter for the 32-year-old mall. Despite a promising start in June 1987, the mall languished over the years as stores closed and foot traffic died down.

In recent years, relations soured between Mayor Lenny Curry and Toney Sleiman, whose company leased the property for 15 years. In the end, the city paid Sleiman $15 million to break the lease.

With the city now in the driver’s seat, officials have made no secret about their plans to bulldoze the Landing. While several ideas have been floated, it’s still unclear what will eventually take its place.

What is certain is that city officials are already looking ahead to the future. In March, the mayor’s chief of staff, Brian Hughes, predicted that the mall would be gone as early as July and as late as September.

"There's better days ahead,” Hughes said at the time. “What was a brand new shopping mall in the '80s has declined in a serious way.”

Check out our interactive timeline of The Jacksonville Landing's 32-year history below:

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