Duval County

Funding for downtown Jacksonville’s Shipyards, Riverfront Plaza Park may be in jeopardy

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Funding for two major downtown developments is in jeopardy. Jacksonville asked the legislature for $63 million to help build the Shipyards and Riverfront Plaza Park. With only days left in the budgeting process, lawmakers decided the projects didn’t make the cut.

Now, unless there’s a longshot legislative miracle, the city will have to find another way to get that money, making this the latest blow to an embattled downtown.

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Development, especially along the riverfront, has been a priority for Mayor Donna Deegan’s administration since she took office in July.

Shortly after taking office, she told us, “I certainly hope that we have an open, thriving riverfront, a thriving downtown, booming small businesses, and a much healthier community and resilient community.”

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The two projects bookend downtown’s riverfront. The city requested for $43 million from the state to match its $25 million for the Shipyards. Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s Iguana Investments property development would host a Four Seasons hotel, office tower, and marina.

The $20 million requested for Riverfront Plaza Park would supplement the city’s $25 million to develop the old Landing site.

We reached out to the city and it said this was all part of the plan saying, in part, “we made multiple state appropriation requests, including these two projects, and made a strategic decision to shift our focus to critical infrastructure needs that are outside of downtown.”

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You can count on Action News Jax to track the budget process to see how that strategy plays out.

The city went on to say that the projects will continue to move forward as planned and “we are continually looking at all potential funding options to complete them.”

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