Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Video: Chicago Firm Wins Riverfront Plaza Design Contest For Former Jax Landing Site

Perkins and Will
A digital render released by Perkins and Will of what the riverfront plaza will look like once completed.

Chicago-based design firm Perkins and Will’s proposal for the park that is expected to replace the former site of the Jacksonville Landing won the city’s design contest, officials revealed Thursday.

Perkins and Will was one of three finalists in the city’s Jacksonville Riverfront Plaza Design Competition. Perkins along with Agency Landscape and Planning, and Olin Partnership presented their designs to the city’s Professional Services Evaluation Committee (PSEC) last month.

At a PSEC meeting Thursday, city officials revealed Perkins had received the highest score, with Agency Landscape and Planning as a close second.

Members of the committee scored each proposal individually, and out of 115 points, Perkins' average score across all committee-members was 100.

Perkins’ design notably included a large, metallic sculpture, which partially resembles the word “JAX” and is meant to evoke an anchor and river to compliment the scenery of the St. Johns.

Their presentation referenced the Cloud Gate of Chicago— commonly referred to as “The Bean”—as a similar art installation that acts as a major draw for tourism.

“I think the inclusion of that monumental piece of art really threw Perkins and Will over the top,” Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer, said.


Credit Perkins and Will
Perkins and Will diagram of their park design featuring the 'JAX' statue.


“Love it or hate it, the public art paid piece shown in the Perkins and Will design has received a tremendous amount of public comment, which I think really indicates its iconic nature,” added Boyer, who is also a former City Council member.

In a news release Thursday, the DIA congratulated Perkins and Will for winning the competition and said contract negotiations for the park’s final design “will begin immediately,” with construction to begin in about a year.

Perkins’ estimated in its June presentation that the winning park design would cost around $12 million, while the art installation, depending on whether the city chooses a brush or mirror finish, would have an additional price tag between $11 million and $18 million.

Raymon Troncoso can be reached at, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @RayTroncoso.

Reporter Raymon Troncoso joined WJCT News in June of 2021 after concluding his fellowship with Report For America, where he was embedded with Capitol News Illinois covering Illinois state government with a focus on policy and equity. You can reach him at (904) 358-6319 or and follow him on Twitter @RayTroncoso.