Great Ideas; No Action: 10 Projects That Never Happened

April 6, 2016 12 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Over the past 100 years, Jacksonville has been an epicenter of economic opportunity. It's also been a place where dreams have come to die. Here's 10 proposals with some merit that, for a variety of reasons, ultimately failed to materialize into reality.

5. Trilegacy Group, LLC.'s The Shipyards

Image courtesy of the Times Union.

"Time flies when you're having fun"... blogging? Back in 2003, when the forum that would grow into Metro Jacksonville started up, the pending development of the Shipyards was the talk of the town.

It's hard to believe that if the original redevelopment plan for the Shipyards was successful, it would have been built-out five years ago. In 2001, after acquiring the former shipyards, TriLegacy Group, LLC. announced plans for a ten-year development that would include two office towers totaling 1 million square feet of first-class space, 662 residential units, 150 boat slips and a 350-room hotel, along with a 16.8-acre city park. These plans came as a result of Mayor John Delaney convincing the Spence family to redevelop the site as a mixed-use property. Prior to this, the family had acquired the site to expand their cold storage logistics business.

A public private partnership, the City of Jacksonville provided $40 million in tax-exempt bonds for the $865 million Shipyard's proposed public improvements. Things got off to a great start with the groundbreaking of the 99-unit One Shipyard Place in 2004. That same year, Fidelity National Financial considered building an 18-story, 500,000 square foot office tower as a part of TriLegacy's development.

Fidelity eventually decided to expand on Riverside Avenue and the relationship between TriLegacy and the City fell apart, despite the first phase of the development, One Shipyard Place, already being under construction. Today, over a decade later, the future of the Shipyards site is still in doubt.

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6. The City of New Duval

40 years ago, long before the rise in popularity of developments like Nocatee and Oakleaf, the Mid America Corporation announced their plans to construct the city of New Duval. Situated outside the I-295 West Beltway and north of I-10, New Duval was approved as a Development of Regional Impact (DRI) in 1973.

Plans for New Duval called for 1,700 acres of industrial development, 43 acres of commercial land uses, and 13,000 residential units. It was to include its own downtown with skyscrapers and an internal monorail system. In addition, Sawgrass and the Tournament Players Club were anticipated to be held at New Duval. At the time, the Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) was brought in to provide rail service to the industrial areas of New Duval. Recessions, later that decade, put an end to Mid America's dream, but not before NS had constructed a five-mile industrial spur to the property off their main line. Rather than let the development fall apart, NS acquired the entire property, growing pine trees, while waiting for development to reach their vicinity.

After decades of waiting for growth to reach New Duval's rural location, the land was developed into the 3,298-acre Westlake Industrial Park. Today, Westlake is anchored by the major logistics hubs for BJ's Wholesale Club and Southeast Toyota.

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