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Will either Downtown Jacksonville development plan become reality?

Downtown Investment Authority CEO says both proposals are in very different stages

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two massive development proposals for Downtown Jacksonville have been in the spotlight this week.

On Tuesday, a developer laid out a plan to redevelop a large swath of the Northbank. And on Thursday, the Jaguars unveiled updated plans to redevelop The Shipyards and bring a Four Seasons Hotel to the downtown banks of the St. Johns River.

Any plan to build downtown first goes through the city’s Downtown Investment Authority. Lori Boyer is the CEO.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan has expressed an interest in developing areas near the stadium downtown for years. The comprehensive proposal he and the Jaguars unveiled Thursday, Boyer said, is something that has a better chance to succeed than the Lot J proposal from several months ago.

RELATED: Controversial Lot J deal defeated in City Council vote

“It’s not an entertainment venue this time. And it is different in the way they’re processing it, because The Shipyards property is being submitted as a regular private development through the Downtown Investment Authority,” Boyer said.

Boyer, former president of the Jacksonville City Council, explained that the Jaguars’ proposal is really two projects.

“You saw a performance facility that is really a training facility for the team and facilitates the future renovation of the stadium. And then you saw the presentation on The Shipyards property, which is a private development of hotel, office building, medical facility, et cetera. So, very different,” she said.

The news Shipyards development plan includes a Four Seasons Hotel that would open in 2025 if all went according to plan. Boyer said that’s not far-fetched.

“I think there’s a real chance of that. We’ve been spending a lot of time working together on all the development issues on the site right now. A lot of work has already been done in that regard, and I think that they are moving forward with their architectural design and construction costs. So I think it’s realistic,” Boyer said.

The Jaguars’ project is expected to cost cost about $440 million.

Apart from that, the other project -- announced by the Southeast Development Group and dubbed “Riverfront Jacksonville” -- is expected to cost at least $1.1 billion. It would include the former home of The Jacksonville Landing.

At this point, Boyer said that project is not as likely to come to fruition and that the proposals are in very different stages.

“The one that the Jaguars presented today is going through an official city process for actual disposition of the property. The other one is simply a private developer’s vision for what downtown might be,” Boyer said.

Boyer said the DIA will take the month of June to complete its review and analysis. The group hopes to take up the Jaguars’ proposal in July. The earliest legislation would make it to City Council would be August.


About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.