Development groups compete to redevelop old Jacksonville City Hall annex, courthouse

Transforming Downtown Jacksonville: City hears bids to take over former courthouse land

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Feb. 12 UPDATE: The DIA has recommended Spandrel Development Partners to redevelop Jacksonville’s old City Hall annex and the courthouse, the group told Action News Jax. There will be a full board meeting on Feb. 19.

Original Story:

Two development groups are going head-to-head for the chance to redevelop the old City Hall Annex and former Duval County Courthouse on East Bay Street.

Content Continues Below

Action News Jax Courtney Cole introduces us to each group, shares their vision and tell us how much this would all cost.

"This is the best kept secret of the whole United States! Jacksonville!" exclaimed Laura Hauser.

Spandrel Development Partners and The Related Group would both agree.

They’re the groups that presented their ideas to redevelop the old City Hall Annex and former Duval County Courthouse on East Bay Street, to the Downtown Investment Authority on Tuesday.

Hauser, a veteran, says she's lived all over the world, but Jacksonville is where she plans to stay.

“I’ve been down here since I got out of the Army in February 2001. Nothing could take me away!” Hauser told Action News Jax Courtney Cole.

Spandrel and The Related Group both want the opportunity to attract more people like Hauser.

"Whether it be the public spaces around the building, or the spaces inside, it’s creating a place where people can activate and be alive for most of the day— other than when you’re sleeping at home,” said Ian Scott Levine, Co-founder of Spandrel Development Partners.

Spandrel Development, with home bases in New York and South Carolina, wants to the area on East Bay Street a "live, work and play" environment.

Their vision includes, but is not limited to: a grocery store, other retail, a major destination restaurant, lofts and a pedestrian bridge.

The Related Group, based out of Miami, said their focus is also to build a mixed-used property.

Jeffery Robbins, Vice President of Development, said it’s also important their project is provocative and innovative—but will work well with the rest of the community.

One of the key differences between the two presentations is how each group plans to use the waterfront.

Spandrel says building a marina will be too “costly and difficult”, while The Related Group says it’s an important part of their plan.

"We think Jacksonville is ready for this type of development and we see Jacksonville as up-and-coming, tremendous population growth, and we think there’s an opportunity to create something that’s really special and it’s one of a kind,” Robbins told Cole.

Spandrel says their overall cost for their project would be $136 million dollars.

The Related Group says their vision would cost more than $80 million dollars.

Hauser said there's only a couple of things missing from their plans; she told Cole she’d like to see more things for the kids to do. She’d also like to see more places for the adults to have fun, too!

"I would like to see some clubbing! Club, nightlife, dance club something like that!"

Right now, the Downtown Investment Authority is reviewing all the information and tallying up the scores from each presentation.

Once we learn which group they chose, we’ll share it with you here on Action News Jax.

The presentations of both development groups are available below: