Jacksonville Board Looks At Building New Downtown Convention Center

Jan 19, 2018

Long-awaited plans to build a new convention center in downtown Jacksonville could finally be moving ahead.

The old City Hall Annex at 220 East Bay Street is among the structures that might one day be torn down to make room for a new downtown Jacksonville convention center.
Credit Michelle Corum / WJCT News

Private developers are now being asked to submit their bids.

The city’s Downtown Investment Authority wants bids for a new convention center and hotel on the site of the old county courthouse and city hall annex on Bay Street.

Under the proposal by the DIA, both of those abandoned buildings would be torn down, and the current convention center at the Prime Osborn would be relocated.

Reporter David Bauerlein of the Florida Times-Union said downtown advocates have long pushed for a bigger, splashier convention center for the city’s urban core:

“Convention centers are like milk in the supermarket. They get you in the door, and then you sell the other stuff. They get people downtown and in hotel rooms, and contribute to..the vitality of a downtown.”

However, a new center is estimated to cost in the hundreds of millions. Bauerlein said it remains to be seen if developers will pony up that amount for the expensive project.       

You can listen to Bauerlein's full interview on this First Coast Conect podcast.

Times-Union story: City board considers new convention center for Jacksonville downtown

Melissa Ross can be reached at mross@wjct.org, 904-358-6382 or on Twitter at @MelissainJax.