Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry expects negotiators for the city and Iguana Investments Florida LLC to reach a development deal for the $500 million Lot J project near TIAA Bank Field by the end of the summer.
The mayor offered the timeline after his inaugural address Monday morning at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, stating that’s when he’ll “have a deal that we can share and that City Council will evaluate and vote on.”
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan controls Iguana Investments.
As for The Jacksonville Landing, Curry, who started his second term Monday, told reporters the city will put out a request for proposals after the demolition of the Landing at the end of 2019 to determine the Downtown riverfront property’s “highest and best use.”
The city has contracted with Plant City-based D.H Griffin Wrecking Co Inc. to demolish the closed shopping center for $1.074 million beginning in September. City officials say the demolition should be complete by the end of December.
The mayor’s office has been vague about what will replace the Landing. Curry said he’d like to see a public green space incorporated into a final design, and city Chief Administrative Officer Brian Hughes said in May there will “likely” be at least two developable pads for mixed-use space.
“Contrary to what some have said, I’ve never suggested that should just be a green space. It’s my opinion that part of that should be a green space,” Curry said. “That’s my opinion at this point. I don’t get to unilaterally make that decision, but I’d like to see a piece of green space there and what will the market bear there — what iconic thing can we put there that will serve Jacksonville well.”
Lot J deal
The city has been talking with Khan about Lot J since he announced more details about the project in April.
Khan and Iguana Investments will seek city incentives that Hughes said in April could include Recapture Enhanced Value and completion grants for the Live! Arena, a 300-unit residential tower, hotel and an office building planned for the development.
Jaguars President Mark Lamping said the target for the groundbreaking at Lot J is after the football team’s final home game of the season scheduled Dec. 29.
In his address to the crowd of public officials and supporters in Jacoby Hall, Curry reiterated his 2019 campaign promise that the public “would not recognize Downtown” at the end of his term in 2023.
He said he wants to make Jacksonville’s urban core central to the greater Northeast Florida economy.
“I’m 100 percent committed to making Downtown the heart of this community,” Curry said. “A vibrant urban core will serve as a hub that will expand economic development out to neighborhoods all over this city.”
There were no specific details in the mayor’s address about what comes next for development Downtown or in the area. It was secondary to Curry’s primary focus of combating violent crime and reducing the number of at-risk youth in Jacksonville.