City terminates Jacksonville Landing lease agreement

City letter demands immediate access to, possession of the property

By Steve Patrick - News4Jax digital managing editor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Office of General Counsel informed the operators of the Jacksonville Landing on Friday that the city is terminating the lease agreement for the riverfront mall.

A letter sent to Jacksonville Landing Investments LLC, a subsidiary of Sleiman Enterprises Inc., said the mall defaulted on the lease agreement by failing to act to cure a breach of contract within 30 days of notification.

The city owns the land on the northbank of the St. Johns River but has leased the property the Landing's three buildings to Sleiman for more than 15 years.

Last October, the city threatened to terminate the lease and remove JLI from the property, claiming the company breached terms of the agreement for failing to manage the Landing as a "high-quality, first-class retail facility," among other reasons.

The following month, Sleiman sued the city, claiming multiple contractual breaches, including failing to provide adequate parking and security.

On Dec. 15, the city filed a motion to dismiss that suit, stating JLI’s complaint “is little more than a laundry list of stale grievances, false and incomplete assertions and gratuitous and self-serving statements.”

That lawsuit resides with Circuit Judge Virginia Norton in the 4th Judicial Circuit, the Daily Record reported Friday afternoon.

Sleiman formed the LLC and entered a $5.1 million contract to run the 32-year-old mall through 2056.

According to the letter signed Friday by Assistant General Counsel Christopher Garrett, the city demands that JLI provide it with “immediate access to, and possession of, the Leased Property and all building improvements and other fixtures thereon.”

“Additionally, the city request that JLI provide copies of all sub-leases currently in effect for the Property,” Garrett wrote in the letter obtained by the newspaper. Mayor Lenny Curry’s chief of staff, Brian Hughes told Daily Record staff writer David Cawton that the city could not comment, citing the pending litigation.

In May, the Landing’s operators claimed the city was guilty of another breach of contract the damaged state of riverfront bulkheads and docks outside the mall that were damaged by hurricanes Mathew and Irma.

Messages News4Jax left for Toney Sleiman and Sleiman Enterprises, but those calls were not returned by late Friday afternoon.

Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.