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Jax Daily Record Friday, Nov. 13, 202002:41 PM EST

DDRB approves USS Orleck welcome center design

The naval warship museum proposed for Pier 1 Downtown still needs City Council approval. 
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

The Downtown Development Review Board approved design plans for a temporary welcome center and office space for USS Orleck DD-886 Naval Museum at the city-owned Shipyards property.

The DDRB voted 8-0 on Nov. 12 in favor of a 90-by-50-foot modular building off Pier 1 for the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association’s warship museum.

The board added a condition that the nonprofit return to DDRB in three years to extend approval for a temporary building or submit designs for a permanent center.

The design includes removable landscaping around the structure, a brick walkway from Catherine Street and a ramp leading from the building over the Downtown Northbank Riverwalk onto the ship.

Naval Ship Association plans to tow the USS Orleck from Lake Charles, Louisiana, to Jacksonville.

The Downtown Investment Authority asked the Naval Ship Association in January to create something temporary due to other developers’ desires, including Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, to build at the site.

The DIA board unanimously approved a one-year development agreement with the ship nonprofit Jan. 15. That deal needs City Council approval before the ship docks Downtown and the supporting facility is built. 

The DIA has not filed legislation supporting the agreement.

The DIA decision gives its staff the authority to negotiate a 10-year licensing agreement with two five-year renewal options to dock the museum warship in the St. Johns River.

After regulatory approval, the Naval Ship Association has several steps to take before it can tow the USS Orleck from Lake Charles, Louisiana, to Jacksonville.

Association Vice President Justin D. Weakland said Nov. 12 the ship will need to be towed to shipyards in Texas for inspection, hull maintenance, basic repairs and painting.

The USS Orleck is a fully built-out and operating museum in Lake Charles.

The association expects to spend $2.65 million for operations and to move the ship.

The museum looking south toward the St. Johns River.
USS Orleck DD-886 Naval Museum area.
Conceptual artwork of USS Orleck DD-886 Naval Museum.


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