DIA votes to approve $114 million in incentives for Shipyards project

VIDEO: The Downtown Investment authority gave unanimous approval to Shad Khan's plan to build a new Four Seasons Hotel and office complex near the river.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Downtown Investment Authority on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve $114 million in incentives to help bring Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s vision of a Four Seasons hotel and other amenities along the St. Johns River to life.

“We have shown that we think this is really a good project for the city,” Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer said. “Collectively the new park space and the new development is really the best way to activate the waterfront. I have a lot of confidence in Iguana [Investments] as the developer that they will actually break ground and get it built.”

The plans for the sprawling $400 million project, which Khan will contribute $301 million to, will now have to be approved by the city council before moving forward with construction.

The City Council is expected to meet at some point in the coming months to vote on the project.

If approved, construction could begin in the spring of 2022 with an estimated 2027 completion date.

Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping said he’s hopeful this project gets approved, unlike the Lot J development proposal.

“We are not taking anything for granted that’s for sure,” Lamping said.

There is one part of the proposal that calls for moving a portion of Metropolitan Park west toward downtown and developing a new park along the riverfront.

RELATED: Proposed Shipyards project clears first hurdle

If the state agrees, part of the old Kids Kampus site will move to a vacant lot in front of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. The Jacksonville Fire Museum will be moved as well -- close to its original site when it was built in 1901.

Nearby, the USS Orleck could become a floating naval museum at one of the piers at the site.

Another part of the vacant land would become a playscape for children. A water feature would be added. The plans also call for a floating pool and a floating restaurant near the dock site.

The rendering shows something else: Redoing the Northbank Riverwalk. The proposal is to tie in the entire area from Metropolitan Park to the old Jacksonville Landing site, which is now called Riverfront Plaza.

There will be a cost to the city, first to move the fire museum -- about $6 million. But the upfront cost could run $25 million.

A new $120 million player performance center was also part of the plans announced by the Jaguars in June, but that will be separate from the Shipyards.

About the Author:

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