The Jacksonville Landing food court has been closed.
Friday afternoon Jacksonville Landing Investments confirmed the closure after it was first reported by our Jacksonville Daily Record news partner and then picked up by WJCT News.
JLI, which is part of Sleiman Enterprises Inc., said in an email to WJCT News that the food court was closed in October due to “a lack of support from area workers and residents.”
JLI said its management team is actively working on “repositioning the use of the food court,” but didn’t give any specifics.
It also laid partial blame on the city for the food court’s demise, writing in a statement to WJCT News:
The City, WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL EXTERIOR CARE AND MAINTENANCE, has willfully and brazenly ignored their obligations to maintain the property as agreed. The Landing Docks have been inaccessible and in a state of disrepair for years.
The Landing’s owners and the city have been locked in a legal battle. The city is attempting to evict JLI, which owns the buildings and has nearly 40 years remaining on a lease to the land underneath the buildings, which the city owns.
The city has accused JLI of failing to maintain and operate a “first-class retail facility having a broad range of merchandise and services consistent with the site and location,” essentially breaching terms in the lease agreement.
“We remain hopeful and continue to invite the city to enter into a productive and mutually beneficial discussion to work together on improving downtown and restoring The Jacksonville Landing as the catalyst for public activation, congregation and unification as it was intended decades ago,” JLI COO Michael McNaughton said in a statement.
McNaughton also said JLI would withhold rent payments to the city, writing, “The Landing has elected to exercise appropriate ‘self-help’ provisions and will take on these items of disrepair and offset the costs through withheld rent.”
McNaughton said his team will continue to push for redevelopment of the festival marketplace, noting that the company has been pursuing that with the city since 2003.
The food court closure comes just two months after a gunman opened fire at a restaurant in the building during a video game tournament, killing two others and himself. The Chicago Pizza restaurant where the shooting happened reopened last month. It’s one of a handful of restaurants at the Landing located outside the food court.