2 companies bid for chance to develop city’s riverfront property

Bidders hoping to develop area where the old Duval County Courthouse once sat.

Bidders hoping to develop area where the old Duval County Courthouse once sat.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Just a year ago, the old City Hall was imploded and the old Duval County Courthouse was demolished. Today, all that’s left on the Bay Street site is a field of green grass. The Downtown Investment Authority took steps Wednesday to change that.

The bidding was opened at 2 p.m for the opportunity to build on the prime property on the downtown Jacksonville riverfront, but only two developers expressed interest — one company out of New York and another based in Miami.

As of Wednesday, it’s unclear what the companies want to build. That information is being kept secret while city officials review the bids.

The first bidder, Spandrel Development Partners, specializes in developing “mixed-use, multi-family, hospitality and retail projects in target cities of growth," according to its website.

The second bidder is Related Group. Its website shows a heavy emphasis on residential development in the Miami area.

No one with DIA could talk with News4Jax about the proposal Wednesday, which will be reviewed and scored before more details emerge. Any plans must get approval from City Council.

Mayor Lenny Curry, who has become known for tearing buildings down in downtown Jacksonville, spoke about the proposals Wednesday.

“What will work there? Is it a hotel? I don’t know. Is it a convention center? I don’t know. Is it a restaurant? Is it shops? Is it residential? I think all options are on the table,” Curry said.

Down the street at Lot J, the proposed entertainment complex, residents should find out soon what will go in there and how it could tie into any proposed riverfront project at the site of the old courthouse.

“Why do we want to move so aggressively on Lot J? We obviously want to develop the area but we know we have investors with capital that is liquid that are ready to go,” Curry said.

At one time it was suggested a convention center be built at the site, but that plan was shelved and the city was looking at other ideas.

The plans for the site should be revealed in the next month.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.