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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Dec. 7, 201707:00 AM EST

City taking steps toward old courthouse demolition

Request for Proposals seeking bids to take down former City Hall, Duval County Courthouse in the works.
by: David Cawton Associate Editor

Jacksonville’s Downtown riverfront could be closer to demolition.

The city is working on a Request for Proposals seeking bids to demolish the former Jacksonville City Hall and Duval County Courthouse buildings.

It’s the first indication of progress toward the demolition of the vacant buildings along East Bay Street.

Mayor Lenny Curry earmarked $8 million in his $1.2 billion budget for the job as part of the $131 million capital improvement plan.

The RFP is the subject of a meeting scheduled Thursday morning between Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa and Aundra Wallace, executive director of the Downtown Investment Authority.

Wallace said Wednesday any information about a potential RFP should be directed to the city.

An assistant general counsel assigned to handle public records requests said no drafts are available but that an RFP or a draft should be available for review within two weeks.

A request for comment from the mayor’s office was not immediately returned.

Florida law requires the city to publicly advertise its Request for Proposals to solicit bids from prospective parties, typically for at least 30 days, for any purchase of supplies or contractual services for capital improvements of more than $65,000.

The pending demolition is one of several potential developments along Bay Street, including the Shipyards and Metropolitan Park projects helmed by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan.

Curry has been adamant about his desire to redevelop the Northbank riverfront, including the vacant, half-built structure that was to become the Berkman Plaza II.

The city is demolishing the floating parking deck that collapsed in 2015 along Liberty Street and Coastline Drive behind the courthouse.

In 2011, the Jacksonville Civic Council Northbank Redevelopment Task Force recommended that the Duval County Courthouse and Annex site be developed as a convention center and exhibition hall.

In August, Curry said more than one party had expressed interest in developing the land. “At this stage, it’s just that,” he said.

The city moved most of the legislative and executive branch departments in 1997 to the St. James Building at 117 W. Duval St., although some departments and the State Attorney’s Office used the space for several more years.

Courthouse operations relocated in 2012 to the new Duval County Courthouse at 501 W. Adams St.

Although the buildings are vacant, taxpayers still are paying for their upkeep.

Over the summer, a city spokeswoman said that from August 2016 to July 2017, the city spent nearly $90,000 on electricity, water and sewer services for the two buildings – about $7,500 a month.


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