What will replace vacant Jacksonville riverfront buildings?

Downtown Investment Authority considering 3 convention center proposals

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Downtown Investment Authority is considering three proposals for what should be built on the northbank of the St. Johns River once the long-abandoned Jacksonville City Hall and Duval County Courthouse are demolished.

Work is underway to remove the two buildings and an implosion is planned to bring down the old 15-story City Hall in January.

The city's plan is to build a new, riverfront convention center between the Main Street Bridge and the Shipyards property.

Of the three, an evaluation committee ranked a $705 million proposal from Jacobs Engineering the best.

It would take a hefty investment from the city, which would probably end up leasing the facility from the developer and the project is several steps short of approval. The DIA is recommending further study, and Mayor Lenny Curry and Jacksonville City Council would need to weigh in.

People who live or work in the area, are excited to see anything other than vacant buildings on the waterfront.

"I think it would be awesome for the redevelopment of downtown and bringing people down here," Ashley McCallen said.

The city received bids from:

  1. Jacksonville Convention Center Partners
  2. Rimrock, Devlin, DeBartolo Jacksonville LLC
  3. Jacobs Project Management Co.

All three proposals include a convention center, hotel and parking garage.

According to the Jax Daily Record, the Jacobs proposal costs includes 713,000 square feet for exhibition space that could be completed by 2024 if approved.

The Rimrock, Devlin, DeBartolo plan comes with a estimated $450 million price tag and would include 200,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 40,000-square-foot ballroom and 1,300 parking spaces, according to the Record.

The Jacksonville Convention Center Partners proposal has an estimated price tag of $445 million. The group is a partnership of Dallas-based Preston Hollow Capital LLC, Mathews Southwest Hospitality LLC, Interstate Hotel and Resorts, Nunzio Marc DeSantis Architects and Provident Resources Group Inc.

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