Jacksonville Shipyards Proposal Calls For 'Tallest Structure In Florida'

Mar 10, 2017

Updated: 6:25 p.m.

A Texas-based real estate developer Presidium Group wants to build a fine art museum, aquarium and a 1,000-foot observation deck on Jacksonville’s vacant Shipyards and Metropolitan Park property. It’s one of three development proposals submitted to the city.


Owner of Ponte Vedra-based Killashee Investments Mark Farrell, who is acting as a consultant, said the city lacks an iconic structure, like the Golden Gate Bridge or the Empire State Building. The plan calls for a futuristic observation tower shaped like a sail called Seaglass Tower.

The structure will be adorned with stainless steel and glass and able to be lit different colors. It would also have two floors of restaurants and be the tallest building in the state.

“People just like going up in the air. They like the view. It’s something to do,” he said.

Presidium Group is proposing an art museum, aquarium and a 1,000-foot observation deck on Jacksonville’s vacant Shipyards and Metropolitan Park.
Credit Presidium Group

Farrell said the tower along with a proposed art museum, convention center, hotel and aquarium  would bring more people  downtown on a consistent basis.

“(Therefore), every day, there’s someone running through downtown in that entertainment district and then you can start throwing restaurants and bars and things like that, the retail stores,” he said.

The proposal also includes funding what the city can’t pay for cleaning up contamination in the area.

The plan is based on renderings Farrell drew up in 2013, he said.

Farrell, who is partnering with Presidium Group on a Jacksonville luxury apartment complex near the St. Johns Town Center, said the group’s CEO was in town this week when he also decided to take on the shipyards project.

Presidium Group is proposing an art museum, aquarium and a 1,000-foot observation deck on Jacksonville’s vacant Shipyards and Metropolitan Park.
Credit Presidium Group

“What he did is he took what I had, kind of as the foundation of it and then expanded it with so additional features,” Farrell said.

Earlier this week, Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s Iguana Investment company unveiled its plans to redevelop the shipyards which includes a convention center, hotel, kayak launch and a green park over the contaminated area of the shipyards, instead of cleaning it which would cost millions of dollars.

A representative from the third proposal's developer, Wess Holdings said information on their project will be available next week.  The city won’t release details of the proposals for 30 days, or until a firm is selected, whichever happens first.

Listen to this story on Redux

Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.