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Exclusive: Public Pier Planned for Shipyards

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By Melissa Ross

First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- First Coast News has learned exclusively that the new developers of the Shipyards property on Bay Street plan to build a 60-foot-wide pier along the Northbank Riverwalk that would be free and open to the general public.

The pier, expected to jut out hundreds of feet into the St. Johns River, would be the crown jewel of LandMar Group LLC's plans for the long-stalled Shipyards development. LandMar is taking over the project after a botched deal between the city and the TriLegacy Group LLC, the former developer, led to a grand jury investigation.

Attorneys for the city claim TriLegacy misspent $23 million in incentives for the public portions of the site. TriLegacy denies the allegations.

Meanwhile, LandMar is expected to officially unveil its plans for the Shipyards later this week. The development would feature condos, a marina, offices, shops, and public greenspace.

But it's the ambitious plans for a new pier that have downtowners excited.

"That would be so nice," said Kay Stewart, who works at the Duval County courthouse. "We love the riverwalk but that would increase our access to the river even more."

Mayoral spokeswoman Susie Wiles says LandMar has "made the city whole" by paying some $22.5 million to take over the site. $3.5 million worth of public funds held in limbo from the project's TriLegacy days would kick in too.

"The plans for the pier are really exciting," said Wiles. "It will be the signature of the whole development."

It's unclear how LandMar's pier plans will affect the fate of the old Fuller Warren Bridge, currently the focus of a city Public Works study. Advocates for saving the structure say it would make an attractive pier as well, and argue it would provide much-needed public access to the river. Public Works is expected to issue its recommendations on what to do with the Fuller Warren at the end of April.

Football fans, meantime, got a closer look at the Shipyards property when it was spruced up a bit for Super Bowl Week. The city used it as a key staging area of the Times-Union SuperFest entertainment zone.

This Thursday, LandMar will present its plans for the Shipyards to the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission. City Council must also sign off on the developer's proposal.

http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/topstor...x?storyid=33592

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great news, so does this mean the fuller warren will be scrapped, i know it said its fate was undetermined, but we dont need two piers soooo...

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I don't care if Landmar makes a public pier or a public petting zoo ... as long as they actually buy the property and start building on the site!!!

I hope that this article is confirmation that a deal is certain.

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:w00t: Oh, I think this will solve our Fuller Warren issue. Once this gets totally set and confirmed, the city will probably say "screw it" with their pier ideas. I hope we'll see more good news soon from the Shipyards.

Right now, my biggest concern is the project's interaction with Bay Street. I know a coffee factory's brick wall isn't the most...."inviting" facade, but I'd like to see a decent pedestrian system, with sidewalk cafes to tie in with the Town Center.

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I don't care if Landmar makes a public pier or a public petting zoo ... as long as they actually buy the property and start building on the site!!!

I hope that this article is confirmation that a deal is certain.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The deal is done, LandMar already has its sign up on the property.

:w00t:

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hey, a petting zoo would be cool ;) it would have historical import to boot ... there used to be an ostrich farm/petting zoo in east jax, you know.

but back to serious things ... it's such good news to hear that Landmar is finally confirmed for the shipyards. has there been any timetable for renderings, etc. ?

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This is great news. More great ideas from Lake too. All I ask is please no more stucco. I would like either more brick to match the existing brick structures in the area and to give the development the appearance of age or I would go modern with green glass like the residential bldgs in Vancouver, BC (a great city, by the way).

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Lakelander, I'm sorry to hear yoru company missed the boat (Yeah, bad pun) but those suggestions seem logical and aesthetically pleasing as well.

Good to hear that action is being taken though.

I actually think two piers would work. We are the River City, why limit it with one when our DT residential population is exploding? Think about it. Shipyards is North Bank access and Fuller Warren is South Bank access.

Captain Obvious,..

Meanwhile, LandMar is expected to officially unveil its plans for the Shipyards later this week

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more details from the times union ...

City, developer move closer on Shipyards project

The proposed agreement includes a 680-foot public pier and a Riverwalk extension.

By RYAN GEDDES

The Times-Union

With an April 30 deadline looming, LandMar Group LLC and city negotiators are edging closer to an agreement on the floundering Shipyards development downtown.

A draft redevelopment agreement between the parties proposes a 680-foot public pier extending into the St. Johns River, more than a mile of Riverwalk extension, several public gathering spaces, fountains and historical architectural improvements.

The agreement is on the agenda for Thursday's Jacksonville Economic Development Commission meeting -- commissioners received a copy Friday afternoon -- but the ink on the 39-page document is far from dry.

more...

http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor..._18157715.shtml

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Anyone check out the graphic in the Times-Union paper today? It looks like the only public accessible areas will be a short extension of Philip Randolph Blvd, a small park at Bay & Hogans Creek, the extended riverwalk and the conversion of an existing wharf into a pier. Everything else has been labled private development. So now I wonder how mixed use buildings will be incorporated into the layout.

The riverwalk will be great, but its the last thing everyone should worry about because its important that the city doesn't allow them to wall off Bay Street, between Catherine St.(Berkman) and Hogan's Creek. This development should attempt to make Bay Street a pleasent pedestrian friendly area, as well.

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Lakelander, I love all your ideas, except for the movie theatre. I'd rather see that go near the Landing/Suntrust/Adam's Mark area, where it would be more effective. But I really like the idea of affordable housing facing Bay and luxury housing facing the river.

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Anyone check out the graphic in the Times-Union paper today?  It looks like the only public accessible areas will be a short extension of Philip Randolph Blvd, a small park at Bay & Hogans Creek, the extended riverwalk and the conversion of an existing wharf into a pier.  Everything else has been labled private development.  So now I wonder how mixed use buildings will be incorporated into the layout.

The riverwalk will be great, but its the last thing everyone should worry about because its important that the city doesn't allow them to wall off Bay Street, between Catherine St.(Berkman) and Hogan's Creek.  This development should attempt to make Bay Street a pleasent pedestrian friendly area, as well.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Reading the article in the T-U today, one thing that stood out to me was that only 7.5 acres will be park space. Most of that is probably the Riverwalk itself. The TriLegacy proposal devoted like 16 acres (I think) to public areas. These areas will be needed to create the attractive pedestrian environment that will attract activity, as opposed to an enclosed citadel of exclusivity. Not to mention such areas would be needed for festivals and the next Super Bowl.

Since I don't get the print edition of the T-U, I'll reserve final judgement on the LandMar plan, but this is a disturbing aspect.

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I'm not too concerned ... yet. 7.5 acres isn't a huge difference compared to 16. It's not like it went from 30 to 3. Plus the area already has metro park, and it will have the Riverwalk, so no matter what happens, the area won't exactly be lacking public space or access.

To me, the layout and design of the private spaces will be the most crucial. For example, let's pretend that ALL the development does for public space is the riverwalk itself and three total access points to the riverwalk (including the ends). I think even that scenario would be decent, as long as the private space itself is attractive and interacts with the street.

Now that being said, the development could still be ruined if they just line bay street with a bunch of fences, parking garages, blank walls and no retail. But then again, that would ruin the development regardless of how much park space there is!

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and by the way ...

it's a shame that the TU hasn't posted a picture on their website. i'd really like to see that graphic. anybody want to be my hero and scan the graphic? or perhaps just give me advice on where i can find a TU in gainesville?

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I used to read the T-U every day in Gainesville when I was at U of Florida. They used to have newstands where you could buy them (pre-internet). I remember they also had them in front of the old Krystal on University Blvd (now Bagel Time or something).

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Whoa, the open public space really does seem to be lacking in that rendering. But I'm glad they're doing phase one closest to Berkman, to cluster up with the downtown development that's already there. We'll see how this project unfolds.

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I'm not too concerned ... yet. 7.5 acres isn't a huge difference compared to 16. It's not like it went from 30 to 3. Plus the area already has metro park, and it will have the Riverwalk, so no matter what happens, the area won't exactly be lacking public space or access.

To me, the layout and design of the private spaces will be the most crucial. For example, let's pretend that ALL the development does for public space is the riverwalk itself and three total access points to the riverwalk (including the ends). I think even that scenario would be decent, as long as the private space itself is attractive and interacts with the street.

Now that being said, the development could still be ruined if they just line bay street with a bunch of fences, parking garages, blank walls and no retail. But then again, that would ruin the development regardless of how much park space there is!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think a 50%+ reduction is significant, IMO. Once the ink is dry on the agreement, there no changing it. Once this prime riverfront area is developed, it will be unavailable to the public.

The city should have bought this land before Trilegacy got it. Then, it could call the shots. I never did understand why the city paid money to TriLegancy to begin with. The city's money should have gone directly into contructing the park space. Even if TriLegancy couldn't pull off their part, other developers would be interested, especially with a $36 mm park on the property. At that point, the die would already be cast. As it is LandMar is starting over with a blank canvas, free to ask for whatever they want.

I am still witholding judgement until the plans are unveiled, but it is disappointing.

I agree with your last paragraph completely. Let's hope the city doesn't cave on that issue.

As Joe Riley, the great mayor of the great city of Charleston says "Don't be afraid to hold out for quality!"

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Officials from local developer LandMar unveiled plans Wednesday morning for the Shipyards' public space element on a multimillion dollar project that is still being considered by City Council members.

Upgrades to the public space portion of the project will cost about $27.5 million. LandMar will pay for $24 million and the other $3.5 million will come from city funds earmarked for the original project but never spent. The money will be used to create historical parks, a pier and a Riverwalk area, all open to the public.

"The city is acting responsibly as it moves forward with the project," said Ed Burr, LandMar's CEO. "They have taken the lessons of the past, and they are well learned and they are making sure none of the same problems happen this time around."

LandMar was asked in August to take over the Shipyards project from TriLegacy Group LLC. The City and TriLegacy have disputed how the company spent $36.5 million in incentives for the project.

Burr expects to start filing in about six months for permits and start the planning process. The public portion should be finished in about five years, he said.

There will be access to the Riverwalk at five different areas. On the pier, there will be 100-foot high archways, with a waterfall at the end of the 680-foot pier.

"This is a gift to the city to use," Burr said. "We want it to be meaningful."

The second phase of the project would start within five years of closing and be finished within three years of its start. The City Council has until April 30 to finalize the current draft agreement. The plans go before the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission at its monthly meeting Thursday morning at 9 a.m.

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There will be access to the Riverwalk at five different areas. On the pier, there will be 100-foot high archways, with a waterfall at the end of the 680-foot pier.

That sounds awesome!!!!

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I am happy that landmar is beginning to take charge of the Shipyards development. It is really needed and I think that Landmar's approach to the project is a lot better for the city as well. I cannot wait to walk down the pier either.

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