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Design plan featuring massive ‘Jax’ sculpture picked for former Jacksonville Landing site

The future of the former home of the Jacksonville Landing is now more clear after a city committee on Thursday selected a design firm to redevelop the Northbank site.
The future of the former home of the Jacksonville Landing is now more clear after a city committee on Thursday selected a design firm to redevelop the Northbank site.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The future of the former home of the Jacksonville Landing is now more clear after a city committee on Thursday selected a design firm to redevelop the Northbank site.

Perkins & Will, which received the highest marks out of three designs presented to the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA), was picked to redevelop Riverfront Plaza with a beer garden, a hotel, a play area and a 150-foot “Jax” sculpture. The “One Park Jax” design also has plans for a river terrace, a park pavilion building, a sky garden, which includes outdoor dining options and a bike and pedestrian connection to the Main Street bridge.

“I think the inclusion of that monumental piece of art really threw Perkins and Will over the top,” said Lori Boyer, CEO of DIA. “Love it or hate it, the public art piece shown in the Perkins and Will design has received a tremendous amount of public comment, which I think really indicates its iconic nature in the sense that you see it, you know it’s there, people are talking about it.”

Watch: Tour the redevelopment plan for the former home of the Jacksonville Landing

Perkins & Will, which received the highest marks out of three designs presented to the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA), laid out a comprehensive plan for the redevelopment of Riverfront Plaza that includes a beer garden, a hotel, a play area and a 150-foot “Jax” sculpture.
Perkins & Will, which received the highest marks out of three designs presented to the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA), laid out a comprehensive plan for the redevelopment of Riverfront Plaza that includes a beer garden, a hotel, a play area and a 150-foot “Jax” sculpture.

Boyer said that the firm’s design had a lot of public support and praised the layout of the festival and lawn space.

“To me, it becomes the symbol of downtown and it becomes the gathering place for everyone. The Landing was that at one time,” Boyer said.

The complete design is expected to cost $23 million with the sculpture to cost between $11-$18 million.

RELATED: Meet the Filipino-American artist behind the 151-foot ‘Jax’ sculpture coming to new downtown park

“I think if it brings in more money to Jacksonville and it brings in more attraction to Jacksonville, then it would be worth it no matter what because the experience is more important than the price,” said Macy Rossiter, who lives in Jacksonville. “At this point, it’s just a matter of time. They’re not going to leave that space blank forever.”

Some Jacksonville residents told News4Jax they love the concept.

“I think it will be a great idea. It’s a beautiful sculpture, outdoor installment,” said Nina Simmons, who lives in Jacksonville. “It will be great.”

“It’s beautiful. It’s cool,” said Jacksonville native Chase Mueller. “It’s good for the city.”

Others were not as impressed.

“They could have made another better Landing or something, instead of a statue,” said Mia Williams, who lives in Jacksonville.

Proposed site design from Perkins & Will. (City of Jacksonville)
Perkins & Will design proposal. (City of Jacksonville)
Perkins & Will park design. (City of Jacksonville)
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.)
Festival and lawn space included in Perkins & Will park design. (City of Jacksonville)

Perkins & Will was selected over two other firms: Agency Landscape + Planning of Massachusetts, Olin Partnership of Philadelphia.

“We are absolutely thrilled and humbled to be selected for this amazing project,” said Christopher Counts, Perkins&Will Landscape Architect Design Principal. “The transformative potential of this project cannot be overstated. This new world-class park will be reflective of the culture, diversity, and vitality of the City of Jacksonville. It will become part of the public consciousness of the City and a source of civic pride for the citizens of Jacksonville. We look forward to having the opportunity to fulfill our promise to work with the city and community members to create a park for ALL of Jacksonville.”

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

Contract negotiation for the final design will begin immediately with the park slated to begin construction in about one year, DIA said.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is expected to sign off on the deal.

But the plan is not set in stone. It will be developed once the city irons out a contract and a total price tag, which could run as high as $30 million.


About the Authors:

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

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.