Now that Jacksonville City Council has given thumbs up to helping Jaguars owner Shad Khan build a luxury hotel on the old Shipyards project, we’re looking into what’s next.
The council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve $114 million in incentives to build a Four Seasons Hotel, condominiums and an office complex to the site. This will bring big changes downtown, Metropolitan Park and the Northbank of the St. Johns River over the next few years.
For two decades, News4Jax has reported on plans to develop the Shipyards property, which runs on the riverfront side of Bay Street between Maxwell House Coffee to Metropolitan Park.
Final plans for the new, $400 million project have to be drawn up and approved and the Fire Museum will need to be relocated -- which should happen early next year. There’s also a park swap and major changes to keep the marina -- already at Metro Park -- open to the public.
This is the second time the city has agreed to fund development on the site.
Mayor Lenny Curry is grateful for the council’s vote and says we’ll see the transformation begin before he leaves office in a year and a half.
“Dirt cranes and buildings, but I think more importantly this sends a message to the finance community to Wall Street, to developers around the country that Jacksonville is ready to move forward,” Curry said. “In the last few years we’ve heard we’ve had people reach out to us people want to invest money in our downtown but they don’t have confidence that they can turn it quick enough. That they can get the votes. That we are serious about it.”
There is a lot happening in that area. The Hart Bridge ramp along Bay Street near TIAA Bank Field is mostly removed, but work continues. The DORO -- which will include condominiums, retail and restaurants -- is already being built next to the stadium complex. It is expected to be completed in 2023 -- two years before the Four Seasons and other amenities at the Shipyards will be done.
“If you just take a look at what’s happening in the last five or six years,” Curry said. “The Laura Street Trio that was stalled when I got into office. The Landing stood and it just outlived its time. Berkman is coming down at some point The old City Hall and Courthouse downtown (property is ready for them. There is no question in my mind -- by the time I leave office, you will see real success. I hope the next mayor will be inviting me to a bunch of ribbon-cuttings.”