City of Jacksonville chooses Perkins & Will Riverfront Plaza design

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The city named the Perkins & Will design team the winner of the Riverfront Plaza design competition.

At the center of attention, the stainless steel “Jax” sculpture.

“The one piece was very clearly Jacksonville, and as I mentioned in my commentary there have been a lot of comments about it on social media, mostly positive but some negative, but the fact that everybody is talking about it is exactly what we’re looking for,” Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer said.

The firm also designed a space designated for a cafe restaurant and a sky garden terrace. There is even a plan for a beer garden with picnic tables, bocce ball, and more.

“To me it becomes the symbol of downtown, and it becomes the gathering place for everyone,” Boyer said.

The design is projected to cost the city more than $20 million. The sculpture itself is estimated to cost $18 million.

“Hopefully, the art can be something that we end up with a significant private fundraising effort to help sponsor,” Boyer said.

Boyer said she was unsure if the pricing of realigning Independent Drive was accounted for in the estimated cost yet.

Officials don’t want the cost of the project to deter taxpayers. It’s noted the design is only 50% done.

The news of possible changes makes some neighbors optimistic.

“I’m just happy to see progress being made and I think from what I heard that there’s going to be the opportunity to sort of tweak some of the designs that they may be able to use some of the ones I was partial to,” Downtown Jacksonville resident Dimitri Demopolis said.

Officials will now negotiate a contract with the firm which is expected to take 30-60 days.

The actual design process may take another year.