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- 2013 - December - 13th -

Shipyards plan unveiled today

By David Chapman, Staff Writer

A Shipyards development proposal that's been presented to officials behind closed doors will have its first public viewing today during a presentation to the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund board.

Killashee Investments, a Ponte Vedra-based commercial and multifamily real estate adviser, for months has made its pitch to City Council members to develop on the Downtown waterfront property in the sports complex.

Part of that pitch was for a project that potentially incorporates tourist-driven elements, such as an aquarium, convention center and tower attraction similar to Seattle's Space Needle, according to several council members interviewed in September.

Killashee was founded in 2007 by Mark Farrell and includes former council President Elaine Brown.

Farrell on Thursday would not elaborate on the plans, saying that members of the Police and Fire Pension Fund board would be the first to see them in the public setting.

Pension fund Director John Keane in September confirmed Killashee was one of several developers in discussion for the property, should the fund receive the property.

Council member Matt Schellenberg introduced legislation to transfer almost $70 million worth of real estate to the fund in return for credit toward paying down the city's unfunded pension liability.

In addition to the Shipyards, the transferred properties include the former City Hall building, old courthouse and several Downtown parking facilities.

That bill has been deferred in three council committees since late September.

Since then, a mayoral task force assigned to come up with recommendations to solve the city's pension woes have rejected the idea.

Instead of giving real estate to the fund, it has instead suggested potentially selling the assets and giving the proceeds to the fund to pay down the liability.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m.

dchapman@baileypub.com

(904) 356-2466

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