3 design firms present visions for former site of Jacksonville Landing

Agency Landscape and Planning design plans.
Agency Landscape and Planning design plans. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Three design teams on Thursday presented their proposals for the former site of the Jacksonville Landing.

Community members also had a chance to weigh in on what they’d like to replace the former city landmark, now called Riverfront Plaza.

Right now it’s a blank slate.

3 design firms present visions for former site of Jacksonville Landing
3 design firms present visions for former site of Jacksonville Landing

Since The Landing was torn down in 2019, it became a large green lawn and played host to a number of concerts and events.

“It’s the gateway into the city,” public commenter and downtown resident Dimitri Demopoulos said. “It draws you into the inner part of the city. It makes people in the core want to come to the river. I think it works both ways and that is why it’s very important how you design it.”

Some people in the community are asking for everything from a marina to an aquarium.

The finalists in the design competition are Agency Landscape + Planning of Massachusetts, Olin Partnership of Philadelphia and Perkins & Will of Chicago.

Agency Landscape and Planning design presented at meeting. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)
Agency Landscape and Planning design presented at meeting. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)
Agency Landscape and Planning design plans. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

“We think it’s realistic,” said Gina Ford with Agency Landscape and Planning, the first group to present Thursday morning. “The ground is already prepared. The competition is underway and there is lots of public will and political will if we get a winning scheme and we hope ours is. And it could be done in a couple of year’s time depending on funding and resources.”

The plan presented by Ford features a large green space as well as shaded areas and a fishing pier.

The Jax Park design plans from Olin Partnership feature local wildlife integration, a mobile skatepark, floating wetlands and a large shade structure designed by environmental artist Ned Kahn. The cost of its design could run around $27 million.

Olin Partnership's vision for former home of Jacksonville Landing. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)
Floating wetlands are part of the design idea from Olin Partnership. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)
Child's play structure, part of Olin Partnership's design. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

The plan presented by Perkins and Will, which features a beer garden, a play area and a 150-foot “Jax” sculpture, is expected to cost $23 million with art and $12 million without art.

Each firm was allowed one hour for presentation time followed by another hour for questions and answers. Twenty minutes were allowed per agenda for public comments after each design firm’s presentation.

The presentations went from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Next month the city will choose one of the three companies to move forward. It could take two to three years to develop.

The Agency Landscape and Planning project cost was not discussed, but it could run close to $15 million, if not more.

The city is looking to potentially break ground on the project by early 2022.

Links to the presentations and videos shown Thursday can be found here.

A large sculpture is the centerpiece of a design plan from Perkins & Will. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)
Design plans from Perkins & Will. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)
Design plans from Perkins & Will. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

About the Authors:

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

Weekend morning reporter and multi-media journalist.