Formerly referred to as the epicenter of the "Billion Dollar Mile", the shipyards has become known as a place of dead urban development dreams. Before it was a vacant waterfont parcel, the site was the home of one of Jacksonville's largest companies for more than a century.
The Site Today
From World War I through the 1960s, the Gibbs shipyard produced nearly 250 vessels. Almost four decades after its closure, the redevelopment projects ushered in by the Godbold era are in need of revitalization themselves. Wyndham Hotel (originally Sheraton) and Chart House are still in operation but the buildings that once held retail shops are vacant and Crawdaddy's 1930s themed fish camp style building has been demolished. Despite the dominate maritime history, there aren't many visual reminders of George Williams Gibbs' era. However, the legacy of George Williams Gibbs lives on at a site near Mayport. Shortly after the Southbank shipyard was sold to Bill Lovett, grandson George Gibbs III established Atlantic Marine on Heckscher Drive in 1964. Now Jacksonville's largest shipyard operator, Atlantic Marine was acquired by BAE Systems in 2010 for $325 million.
Article by Ennis Davis