Local real estate firm shares plans to revamp Downtown Jax’s Northbank

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A makeover could be in the future for Jacksonville’s riverfront. Southeast Development Group, a local real estate firm shared its plans Tuesday to revamp the Northbank.

The group wants to transform more than 20 acres of land up for redevelopment. The goal is to make it more livable for locals and bring in more tourists from out of town. Locals like Sherry McGill want more fun, engaging activities to do in downtown. “We really want passive parks, we want a resilient coastline, we want a place where we can come be together and engage with the river,” she said.

Locals spoke, and Southeast Development Group listened. The firm, teaming up with the Downtown Investment Authority, shared its “Riverfront Master Plan” with city leaders and locals like McGill.

It would take nearly $1.1 billion to pull it off -- the project, called Riverfront Jacksonville, would be the largest public-private partnership in the city’s history. “It’s ambitious, exciting to see it all in one piece,” McGill said.

The firm shared renderings of its grand plan: riverfront parks, a plaza, an amphitheater, a slew of new buildings, a condo, a hotel, and a marina and boathouse restaurant. “A lot of the nay-saying, is people’s hearts have been broken. We’ve seen a lot of ideas being floated over many years and not much happening,” McGill said.

Having seen dozens of past proposals and big plans for the riverfront fall through in the past, McGill thinks this one may actually stick. “This is the first time I’ve seen a process that works, to try to engage the people,” she said.

Group leaders say the project would boost Jacksonville’s economy by adding over 1,700 construction jobs and more than 2,000 permanent jobs for people working retail and in the restaurants.

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