Jacksonville site to be transformed into vibrant entertainment district



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Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan on February 17 unveiled a plan to turn the ill-fated, city-owned Shipyards property into a mix of housing, retail and offices, as well as practice fields for his team. His proposal includes restaurants, a marina, a hotel, an amphitheater, a park and a twisty pedestrian bridge suspended by cables.

The eagerly anticipated vision to transform the Shipyards riverfront downtown property into a vibrant entertainment and leisure district was presented by Khan and team president Mark Lamping, on behalf of Iguana Investments, a new development entity created by Khan specifically for the Shipyards project.

Drawings show a cluster of glassy, layered skyscrapers connected by plank walkways and swaths of green space. They also show the USS Charles F Adams parked in the marina. For years, groups of locals have suggested turning the retired vessel into a naval ship museum.

After the presentation, Khan compared his proposal to the Sydney Opera House, saying it could become a Jacksonville icon. “I think this is economic revival, I think this is visual revival. It’s also really vital for the Jaguars,” he said.

The property, which encompasses approximately 48-acres of City-owned property on the north bank of the St. Johns River, is central to Khan’s long-stated vision to bring new life and positive economic impact to Jacksonville’s urban core. By creating a year-round destination that bridges EverBank Field and the Sports Complex to Downtown Jacksonville, Khan said the Shipyards project – should it become reality – promises to serve the entire region for generations to come.

The Kansas City-based office of global architecture giant, Populous has provided the initial conceptual design support to Iguana Investments for the project. Ben Stindt, senior architect and principal at Populous, joined Khan and Lamping in presenting the vision on Tuesday. Populous was the original designer of EverBank Field and has worked with the City and the Jags on the EverBank Field improvements project, including video boards and other upgrades.

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