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Rising construction costs force major downtown projects back to the drawing board

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Two major downtown projects are back at square one after facing major setbacks from increasing construction costs.

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The American Lions Tower at Riverfront Plaza and the Hardwick at Ford on Bay could look different as the developers go back to the drawing board.

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The CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority, Lori Boyer, said that also means they will have to offer the city-owned space up for redevelopment proposals from other developers as well.

“We maybe can make it work. We need to tweak our proposal a little. We’ve also got outside developers coming forward with proposals,” she said.

READ: ‘I think we finally did it:’ $2 billion project set to revamp 20 blocks of Downtown Jacksonville

The Hardwick was awarded a $41 million incentive package from the City, meanwhile, the American Lions Tower got $36 million. Boyer said shortly after those awards, inflation took off.

“Well I would say there’s no question that when we look at the big, risky, shiny projects — they haven’t moved as quickly as we would’ve liked,” Boyer said.

READ: Downtown development at a cost, how much the city is dishing out

It comes as the DIA Board approved in a 7 to 1 vote Wednesday to allow a standalone restaurant at Riverfront Plaza with a rooftop. It received pushback from some neighbors who said they’d prefer ParkSpace while others said they were hopeful for the development.

Action News Jax’s Robert Grant asked Boyer about some of the disappointment downtown. “Don’t just cover the closures. Cover the openings too,” she said.

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