‘It’s at home plate right now’: Project plans for Four Seasons to land at Jacksonville Shipyards

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The big plans Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan has for the Shipyards along the St. Johns River continue to inch closer to reality.

A “green light” for the Shipyards Mixed Use Development would mean the arrival of a Four Seasons Hotel with a restaurant, a spa, and a ballroom.

The project lead for the proposed Four Seasons Hotel is PCL Construction.

A Downtown Development Review Board agenda for a May 12 meeting shows the board is requesting final approval for the project, with some conditions.

The development includes $301 million from the Jaguars and $114 million from the city in incentives.

“If you know anything about baseball, it’s at the home plate right now,” Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney said.

There would also be luxury condos and an office tower gazing over the St. Johns River.

“Jacksonville’s downtown will not look the same in another five years,” Gaffney said.

In October 2021, the city council unanimously approved Shad Khan’s plan to redevelop the old shipyard.

Leaders say the project would improve the pedestrian experience.

“I believe that the Jaguars’ Mr. Khan knows exactly what he’s doing,” Gaffney said. “He believes it’s a market for a Four Seasons.”

Brandon Gatson has lived in Jacksonville for 28 years.

“It’s pretty cool if you ask me,” Gatson said. “I’ve been seeing a lot of stuff pop up and different stuff come here that doesn’t usually come here.”

Gatson shared that he’d also like to see more entertainment and family-friendly activities.

Leaders say that’s on the way.

“A lot of people here travel and go to other places, but lately I’ve seen a lot of out of town people come here enjoying a lot of stuff,” Gatson said.

Also on the Shipyards, plans are underway to build a museum district that includes new homes for the Museum of Science and History, the USS Orleck, and the Jacksonville Fire Museum.

“When you talk about Downtown investment, one of the things is the city is trying to grow smart,” Gaffney said. “We want projects, and always put green space in place. We get ready to develop with a thought on green space and how the public can utilize it also.”

Councilman Gaffney said that with massive growth and new developments come more opportunities.

“So look at the jobs you’re talking about creating in Downtown Jacksonville,” Gaffney said. “That’s why I’m so excited right now.”

CLICK HERE to view a Downtown investment development map that includes projects in various stages of completion.

“You’re talking about a billion dollars worth of projects in Jacksonville that will be making some kind of movement within the next six months,” Gaffney said.

The Shipyards Mixed Use Development site is at 1406 Gator Bowl Blvd.

Gaffney said there are several factors as to why the development will be able to sustain.

“Think about the weather,” Gaffney said. “The elements Florida and North Florida have here, so you’ll see a lot of individuals are going to come. That means more taxes. That means we don’t have to go up on taxes, because people are bringing the tax base here. We can keep our tax base at a very low rate.”

Plans will be discussed during next Thursday’s Downtown Development Review Board meeting.

“I believe given what Mr. Khan has done over the years, he proved himself to know exactly how to make money,” Gaffney said. “He believes the Four Seasons is going to go. I have no doubt that it’s going to go, and I think we’ll do our part too.”

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