On Tuesday evening, Jacksonville’s city council approved the settlement deal struck between Mayor Lenny Curry and Jacksonville Landing Investments by a vote of 15-1. Anna Lopez Brosche was the sole vote against the ordinance, with Garrett Dennis, Samuel Newby, and Matt Schellenberg absent for the vote.
Under the terms of the agreement as laid out in the ordinance, the city will pay $15 million to JLI, a subsidiary of Sleiman Enterprises, to settle ongoing legal disputes and to terminate the company’s existing lease of the Landing building.
Another $1.5 million set aside for lease termination and relocation fees will be dispersed among three tenants with long-term leases: BBVA Compass Bank, Fionn MacCool’s, and Hooters. Chicago Pizza was also on a long-term lease but was evicted recently for prior unpaid rent. The remainder of the Landing’s current tenants were all on short-term lease contracts; the city’s Downtown Investment Authority has indicated a willingness to help those tenants find new locations nearby as well.
And finally, $1.5 million more will go toward the eventual demolition of the Landing. There is no timeline in place for the demolition, but it seems likely that the city will seek to expedite the entire process now that it’s been approved.
Altogether, it’s a $18 million investment to buy out Sleiman Enterprises and get rid of the Landing.
The deal has been celebrated by those who have long been frustrated by the continued decline of what was once one of downtown Jax’s most interesting features. But others have voiced opposition due to the relative lack of public input during the process.
Following the demolition of the Landing, the city will likely solicit bids to develop the critical riverfront property into something worthy of the space. Mayor Curry’s office previously floated the idea of a riverfront park to occupy the property.
What do YOU think should be done with the Landing property? How do you feel about the plans for demolition? Let us know in the comments below or on social media!