Considering how isolated the Ford Plant is, I say the existing Shipyards site offers far more bang for the buck... right down the street from the Bay Street Entertainment District and certainly adjacent to land with similar zoning characteristics.
If Ben is looking to build from scratch, the city can seperate a specific-size parcel from this property that would fit in with the developers needs. The sale of this land could then help to pay for the extension of the Riverwalk and the buildout of a very simple but flexible public pier (the city has already repaired the sidewalk along this stretch of Bay Street and has started to work on flood mitigation issues at the mouht of Hogans Creek). Jim Love had an idea about selling private monuments and bricks to also offset some of this cost with private funds (Landmar already did a good chunk of the work by repairing the bulkheads).
This would be in line with the previous suggestions offered here of emulating the Columbus Commons model of downsizing the land by splitting it up and letting the site evolve naturally with builtin public amenities surrounding the property (pier, riverwalk, Hogans Creek)... instead of relying on a big-idea, risky mega-development 'savior' that has already failed not once, but twice on this very same land.
This is a great idea. Councilman Love mentioned using signed bricks as a fundraising tool when I was speaking with him along with Aaron Bowman the Duval county representative with FIND who we're also at the press conference at Tillie Fowler Regional Park for Mayor Alvin Brown's new People and Parks connection program.
Councilman Love asked me who's district is the pier in and I told him that it was in councilman Redman's district. Councilman Redman here is an opportunity again to legislatively protect the pier for the people of Jacksonville. Shipyards III Restore the Public Trust. Mentioned to commissioner Bowman about 2012-402. We are a joke.
The highlight of the press conference for me was When Mayor Brown after his statements opened it up for questions and I asked him about being one of his biggest cheerleaders and working with him and the commissioners of FIND for the upcoming 2013 FIND grant application and how the Pier could be part of his Parks connection. The pier would go a long way in making Downtown a Destination and not a pass through. I'm believing in Mayor Brown on this one.
Mark Middlebrook with the SJRA was there and I should have asked him if the Alliance would support a resolution to that effect for the pier that could then be presented to the Jacksonville city council. The board is meeting later this month and this is another huge opportunity. The last time I attempted this the other counties representing the Alliance were supportive but it was our own city that was opposed. Not good. Anyone going to the meeting?
I think this would be a super location for Intuition Ale. Would they support the first 25-50' of the pier as a canoe and kayak launch? How about some bicycle racks?
My first reaction is that the group that is wanting to bring the USS Adams 2010-675 has expressed interest in this location numerous times for either a permanent or temporary basis. Ben, How would you like to have the Adams next door? The Adams group has said they can live with a canoe and kayak launch on the first 25-50' of the pier. Just to emphasize the number one reaso to have a canoe and kayak launch at this location is safety.
The plan for this city moving forward is an expanded Entertainment District. I'm All In. Do we have a choice?