Duval County

New community under development on Jacksonville’s Southbank

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — There’s a lot of momentum right now in downtown Jacksonville and in surrounding areas as renderings turn into developments.

The 32-acre property next to the DCPS Headquarters on the Southbank, which is now called Rivers Edge, Life on the St. Johns, is officially breaking ground this week on 39 marsh-front townhomes.

This project, among many others, is starting to take shape along the riverfront. St. Johns River Taxi owner Heather Surface says she’s excited about these projects.

The St. Johns River Taxi has been taking visitors and locals to destinations along the river for nearly 40 years.

Heather Surface has been the owner for almost seven years now.

“I’ve seen tremendous growth over that long period of time,” says Surface.

A place she’s excited about is the 32-acre development area along the riverfront next to DCPS headquarters called “River Edge: Life on the St Johns.”

The first phase to go up will be 39 townhomes, but new renderings show much more planned, including ample riverfront park space.

“The idea that that is moving forward and we are going to have more people living downtown is exactly what we need,” says Downtown Vision CEO Jake Gordon.

Two new docks are also being built — by the River & Post restaurant, and on Jackson Street right next to the old Times Union building that was just sold.

“I really do think it can be a way to connect outlying neighborhoods, or even neighborhoods closer into the downtown core,” says Surface.

Gordon tells Action News Jax that Jacksonville is no longer the city of renderings — things are happening.

“From 2007 to 2015 we didn’t have a lot of that private investment; there were no cranes in the sky, but now we have those. So I think the people of Jacksonville should be really encouraged.”

Surface says while she waits for these projects to be completed, the river taxi will continue finding ways to bring people downtown.

“We’re doing different things these days. I’m excited that we’re doing more than just crisscrossing the river … we’ve been creating events downtown like these sunset cruises, dolphin and history tours to try and draw people downtown.”

PHOTOS: Renderings of ‘Rivers Edge, Life on the St. Johns’