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Brown awaits Shipyards plan from Khan

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Mayor Alvin Brown is ready for Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s proposal to redevelop the riverfront Shipyards site, a plan that could surface within weeks.

“The Jaguars and owner Shad Khan are great partners with the City, and we look forward to receiving and reviewing any formal proposal to activate the Shipyards,” said a statement Sunday from Brown’s spokesman, David DeCamp.

DeCamp said Brown has made redeveloping the Shipyards a top priority.

For the 2014-15 city budget, Brown has proposed $1.25 million for remediation of the Shipyards, a former working shipyard that has been unsuccessfully targeted for redevelopment since it closed in 1992.

Khan said Friday he expects to make a proposal to the city in the next couple of weeks to redevelop the Shipyards, the vacant riverfront acreage near EverBank Field considered a prime Northbank redevelopment site.

“We’ve got it queued up. I am really excited,” Khan said after a news conference to announce that EverBank and the Jaguars have agreed to EverBank’s naming-rights extension on the stadium.

“We can play a very constructive role,” Khan said.

Khan has voiced interest in the Shipyards publicly since June 2013 and in April spoke with urgency. “We need finality,” he said then, acknowledging he had been working with architects to develop a plan for the 40-acre site.

“It’s like a melting ice cube,” Khan said Friday. “Unlike fine wine, it doesn’t get better with time.”

Khan did not specify details, although the possibilities have surfaced.

Team President Mark Lamping said in June if the Jaguars pursued development, they’re envisioning serving as the master developer for a project to include rental apartments, entertainment, retail and a marina.

The project also would have a park-like setting that includes a multipurpose facility that could be used by the Jaguars or, for example, visiting teams to the TaxSlayer Bowl that need a practice facility.

“We want it to be something that meets several goals: Makes a trip to the sports complex more attractive, supports more people living Downtown and more people working Downtown,” Lamping said then.

“And if we get involved, we’re going to make sure that it has some Jaguars theming as part of it,” he said.

The Shipyards property is vacant land stretching from The Plaza at Berkman, which is near the old county courthouse property, to Metropolitan Park and the sports complex.

Lamping said Friday the EverBank naming-rights extension was part of the efforts to revitalize Downtown by bringing jobs and investment to the sports complex area.

Khan said after the news conference that Jacksonville is attracting economic development. At the conference, he said a prospect that could bring 4,000 jobs to Jacksonville visited the city Thursday. He would not identify the prospect.

“People are discovering Jacksonville,” he said.

“Jacksonville has to grow. It’s good for the Jaguars,” he said, adding that economic development is of personal interest.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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