Construction on long-awaited Riverfront Plaza development delayed another month

First phase won’t include much-debated “JAX” sculpture

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Work was expected to begin Monday on the new Riverfront Plaza, but News4JAX has learned that construction has been delayed until July.

It’s been more than three years since crews removed the final pieces of The Jacksonville Landing from the site, but work slated to begin Monday has been pushed back to July.

“The Mayor and Mayor-Elect’s office feel that it is best to postpone the start of construction to July 5 due to the holiday week and other festivities happening around this time to eliminate any traffic and/or parking disruptions,” according to a statement from the city.

When construction does begin, our news partner WJCT reports the project’s first phase will begin along Independent Drive and the western half of the site.

“I’m very excited about making sure that we have the ability to develop that Riverfront Park area, I think it’s only about 30% funded right now and we’ve got to take care of that,” Mayor-elect Donna Deegan said. “That Emerald Trail just is going to be an incredible asset.”

The Emerald Trail mentioned by the mayor-elect is a project that will eventually cover 30 miles of trails, greenways and parks throughout the city.

The first Riverfront Plaza phase does not involve the park’s 151-foot-tall “JAX” sculpture -- perhaps the most talked-about part of the project.

City officials say the artist and several experts are refining the design and will present something more affordable.

Current design of Riverfront Plaza, the former home of the Jacksonville Landing. (Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

Crews will start to build walkways, gardens, and a cafe with a playground.

Perkins & Will is the architectural company that designed the project, which should take about a year to complete.

The city plans to pay for part of the project with funds from the city’s Capital Improvement Plan.

About the Authors:

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

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.