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Business Brief: Met Park To Be Included In Shipyards Development

Development plans call for combining Metropolitan Park (shown here in an undated archive photo) with the Shipyards.

Jacksonville’s Metropolitan Park could soon be developed into a shopping and residential area across from EverBank Field. The city is planning to solicit development proposals starting in January for the park and neighboring Shipyards property.

It’s a Jacksonville story that’s played out time after time, with no results.

But in this week’s Business Brief, analyst John Burr tells News Director Jessica Palombo why he thinks this time will be different for the Shipyards.

Though Burr has been optimistic before, he says Mayor Lenny Curry is really making the development a priority now. And with Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan’s involvement – it’s generally expected that what Khan wants, Khan gets.

Here’s a timeline of the Shipyards since the early 90s:

  • 1992: The Jacksonville Shipyards closes as a vessel-making operation.
  • 1995: Jay Hanan buys the property and announces plans to turn the land into a marine park, hotels and restaurants.
  • 1997: Hanan is unable to find investors and files for bankruptcy.
  • 1999: TriLegacy Group LLC buys the property and later unveils an $860 million project to include condos, town homes, a park, a hotel, boat slips and office space.
  • 2001: City officials approve about $40 million in incentives for public improvements, including a park, Riverwalk expansion and widening of Bay Street.
  • December 2003: TriLegacy informs the city that only $15.4 million of the money was spent on public improvements, upsetting city officials who felt that they were required to spend all of it on the improvements.
  • April 2004: The city releases the inquiries, fueling controversy and heavy criticism of the city's practice of awarding financial incentives for development. The case prompted an inquiry by a Duval County grand jury, which said the city's contract was unclear about how the money should have been spent.
  • May 2005: The City Council approves a deal with LandMar to develop the property.
  • 2009: Landmar defaults on the property
  • 2013: Kilasshe Investments Sea Glass Tower 1,000 ft observation tower
  • April 2015: Shad Khan releases his plans for the Shipyards. The cost of cleanup for the city is in the tens of millions. The plan goes nowhere.
  • December 2016: The Downtown Investment Authority announces it will begin soliciting proposals to develop a combined Shipyards and Metropolitan Park property, expanding the footprint of the development eastward toward WJCT and the stadium.