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Shipyards plan passes more hurdles as city council prepares for final vote

Jacksonville is one step closer to getting a $400 million riverfront development called the Shipyards. The bill to allow it, and subsidize it with more than $100 million in tax dollars, passed another city council committee Monday.
Jacksonville is one step closer to getting a $400 million riverfront development called the Shipyards. The bill to allow it, and subsidize it with more than $100 million in tax dollars, passed another city council committee Monday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville is one step closer to getting a $400 million riverfront development called the Shipyards. The bill to allow it, and subsidize it with more than $100 million in tax dollars, passed another city council committee Monday.

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s project appears to be going to the city council for a vote next Tuesday.

The Shipyards development was approved by the city council’s neighborhoods committee, chaired by councilman Aaron Bowman.

Khan’s public-private partnership is sailing through much smoother than last year’s Lot J proposal, which required more taxpayer money and ultimately sank at city council.

“There is still time left on the clock,” said Jaguars’ president Mark Lamping, who’s representing Khan and his company, Iguana Investments. “The game is not over yet.”

Lamping said he’s optimistic the $400-million project will become a reality. The city could fork over as much as $114 million of that.

“It’s a really big, really complex project,” Lamping added. “But I think it’s really going to change that part of downtown Jacksonville for generations to come.”

The focus Monday was on the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences and a luxury office building. It’s the first phase of what could become a booming sports, entertainment and dining district.

“Everything so far is moving on track and I think we’re going to get to see a hotel in two years,” said Lori Boyer, who heads the Downtown Investment Authority.

She said it’ll be a big boost for the River City, despite concerns from some in the community that it’s too big of a risk with tax dollars. The council took up two proposed amendments from auditors: one passed, the other failed.

“Shad Khan is 100% committed to Jacksonville, Florida,” said Paul Harden, the attorney representing Khan and the developers. “I think come January 2022, you will see the groundbreaking.”

The process is far from over. The Shipyards proposal has to go through two more city council committees this week. If all goes according to plan, the city council could vote next Tuesday.

The entire project, if approved, could be completed by December 2025.


About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.