City offers small businesses at The Landing free rent if they waive rights to file claims

Lease extension offered to Jacksonville Landing businesses

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The city of Jacksonville tried to make a deal with the 16 small businesses at the Jacksonville Landing.


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Those businesses are being forced to move out so the city can demolish the riverfront mall.

Six small businesses get to stay an extra week, but it comes at a price.

The 10 businesses that didn’t sign the deal were supposed to turn in their keys Friday.

Many of those businesses spent Friday packing, but Coastal Cookies was able to keep serving up itssoft, chewy cookies all day because it took the deal.

It’s been at the Jacksonville Landing since the 1980s.

“To me, it’s, like, historic that they’ve been here so long. I just hope they relocate somewhere,” said customer Faye Johnson, who waited in a long line for cookies.

Coastal Cookies President Susan Lindsey said taking the deal seemed like the best option.

“We would have had to close yesterday and pack up today. Because it’s very difficult to pack up an entire store with big equipment, commercial-size equipment in one day,” said Lindsey.

Jacksonville Public Affairs Director Nikki Kimbleton originally told Action News Jax the city “has provided free rent and parking for the month of May.”

But that’s not true for all the businesses.

Only the six that signed the deal allowing them to stay an extra week will get their May rent refunded.

In exchange, the businesses gave up their rights to file any claims against the city over being forced to move out.

Action News Jax also found out the city only provided free parking this month to businesses who had already purchased space in The Landing parking lot.

Free parking was not offered to businesses that weren’t already paying for it.

“I parked yesterday, because we were moving out, in The Landing’s parking lot and got a citation. It was a warning,” said NAIWBE spa owner Sylvia Walker.

Walker didn’t take the city’s deal.

She turned over her keys Friday afternoon.

Kimbleton said the city is returning every business’s security deposit.

She said some businesses’ lease agreements included 30-day termination without any promise of compensation and some businesses there didn’t even have lease agreements.

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