Three firms desire to build Downtown convention center

Two Texas companies and one local submit bids to develop former courthouse, annex property

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Three companies want to develop a new convention center in Downtown Jacksonville.

Each firm submitted bids to the City of Jacksonville before the deadline Wednesday to develop the property along East Bay Street, occupied by the former Duval County Courthouse and City Hall Annex.

Bids were submitted by Preston Hollow Capital LLC; Jacobs Project Management Co.; and Rimrock, Devlin, DeBartolo Jacksonville LLC.

Rimrock, Devlin, Debartolo Jacksonville LLC, with offices at 1000 Riverside Ave., is a part of Rimrock Cos., a commercial real estate development services firm. Rimrock has experience in several Jacksonville projects, including apartments and retail developments.

Jacobs Project Management Co., headquartered in Dallas, is a subsidiary of Jacobs Engineering Group. It is a part of the international professional services firm that provides engineering, architecture, construction and operations along with specialty consulting.

Preston Hollow Capital is an independent specialty financial institution based in Dallas. The company says on its website it has “more than $800 million in permanent equity capital and over $1.5 billion in investment capacity from a diverse investor base.”

The city's Procurement Division will not release bid documents and pricing for 30 days from the bid opening.

The city will review the bids for compliance with the proposal requirements. A time frame for selection is flexible.

The Downtown Investment Authority in January approved seeking proposals for the new convention center.

It set minimum requirements that plans include a 350-room full-service convention center hotel, 1,700 parking spaces, a minimum of 200,000 square feet of public exhibition space, a 40,000-square-foot ballroom, at least 45 meeting rooms and a full-service restaurant.

By contrast, the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, at 1000 Water St., has 78,000 square feet of exhibition space and no nearby hotel.

The DIA request for the proposed convention center does not include city funding.

Proposals must include a financial analysis and a financing plan for the project.

That includes financing sources and estimated costs, and the level of public participation needed to combine with private financing to accomplish the project.

The site of the proposed convention center is adjacent to the 951-room Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel and near Shad Khan’s planned Shipyards development that proposes entertainment and nightlife venues.

The former Duval County Courthouse and City Hall Annex are expected to be torn down later this year.

Environmental Holdings Group LLC submitted the low bid for the demolition and is negotiating a contract with the city.