Jacksonville’s old courthouse could be closer to demolition and the city is looking to turn the downtown riverfront property into a convention center, replacing the Prime Osborn Center.
“We looked at studies, and you want your convention center downtown,” said Councilman Reginald Gaffney, who said a number of investors are trying to win the bid to develop the Northbank Riverfront on East Bay Street.
Gaffney said he is confident the old courthouse building will be demolished this year.
The city already has $8 million budgeted for tear down.
“I’m very optimistic that it will be torn down this year; that’s our plan,” he said.
About a mile and a half away is where the current convention center is, the Prime Osborn Center - just outside of downtown.
Gaffney said it would be better where the old courthouse is, because the property is closer to more hotels and restaurants.
“This will be the most exciting project this city can ever dream of,” he said.
Gaffney said the city is also pushing for a hotel and retail space.
“Not only are we going to have a winning football team, we are going to have a new convention center, as well as more hotel space and housing space,” he said.
Gaffney said he is pushing for affordable housing where the Osborn Center currently stands - that will be part of phase two, which would begin sometime after the convention center is built.
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