The last original tenant at The Jacksonville Landing has closed.
Hooters has posted a sign encouraging patrons to visit its other three Jacksonville area locations in announcing the closure.
WJCT News partner the Jacksonville Daily Record reports the city has also reached a lease termination deal with BBVA to close its Landing bank location no later than October 28.
That clears the way for demolition following the city’s deal to buy back the Landing from former owner Jacksonville Landing Investments, a subsidiary of Sleiman Enterprises, for $15 million. On top of that, another $1.5 million was allocated for tenant lease buyouts and relocations.
Another $1.5 million has been set aside for demolition, and the city is considering bid proposals.
Details of what will happen following demolition have not been announced.
Mayor Curry’s Chief of Staff Brian Hughes told WJCT News in April, “There’s not necessarily a pot of money that has been set aside for the Landing property once demolition is completed.”
Hughes, who will be succeeding retiring Jacksonville Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa, said in April that stakeholders, including the Downtown Investment Authority and Curry administration, would look at economic development opportunities for the space and what the ratio of new public space versus private development might be following demolition.
When asked in April about delaying demolition to consider adaptive reuse or other ideas, Hughes said, “To get public input is genuinely unnecessary because we’ve been there and done that.”
Hughes was referring to a 2015 stillborn plan that was started under former Mayor Alvin Brown's administration.
It included public input that resulted in a proposal to demolish the Landing for an all-new development that would have included public space, residential and restuarants.
Hughes said a rendering released by the Mayor's office last year follows what was proposed in 2015.
But the 2015 plan included a lot more detail than the 2018 rendering and also included the expectation that the former Landing owner would be a part of the redevelopment, according to former DIA board member Doris Goldstein, who spoke with WJCT News in May.
The opinion that a fresh round of public discussion before demolition is not needed is not shared by everyone. At least two groups have come forward with adaptive reuse ideas.
As WJCT News partner The Jaxson reported, one idea is to overhaul the existing structure into a Florida-themed tourist attraction called Florida Discovery.
And a local group of architects have put together renderings that illustrate how the Landing might be repurposed by modifying the existing structure.
Incoming At Large Group 4 Councilman Matt Carlucci has also advocated a variety of ideas be explored before any bulldozers are brought in.
The new City Council will start meeting in July, but as Hughes pointed out, the existing Council has already approved demolition.
The Daily Record reports demolition work could begin within 10 days of a contractor's selection.