Jacobs Engineering scores highest for convention center development

Group proposes $598 million complex along Downtown riverfront.

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  • | 5:59 p.m. September 19, 2018
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Jacobs Engineering Group offered the best plan among three companies seeking to redevelop property along East Bay Street into a new convention center according to rankings presented Wednesday to the Downtown Investment Authority.

The company scored 92.76 out of a possible 110 points in the request for proposals that closed Aug. 1.

Jacobs ranked above competing bids submitted by Preston Hollow Capital LLC, 80 points, and Rimrock Devlin DeBartolo, which received 78.34 points.

The firms presented their plans in person to a three-member committee Sept. 11.

The company seeks to build a $598 million complex that includes a new hotel, convention center, parking garage, retail and dining facilities.

Dallas-based Jacobs is offering 713,000 square feet for exhibition space in the hotel and convention center. The entire complex, which includes a parking garage, would require building more than 1.6 million square feet, not including outdoor spaces.

The DIA adopted the resolution to accept the rankings, although it is unclear where those scores will go next.

“This is a generational project,” said DIA CEO Aundra Wallace. “Are you as a city ready for this conversation?”

Wallace encouraged the board and DIA Chairman Jim Bailey to hold talks with Mayor Lenny Curry’s administration.

Two competing bids also could complicate the issue.

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan and his development partner, Rimrock Devlin DeBartolo, also are proposing to build a convention center complex at Metropolitan Park near TIAA Bank Field.

Rimrock Devlin DeBartolo also submitted an unsolicited bid to develop the East Bay Street site into a mixed-use development.

“You’re now at a crossroads,” said Wallace. “It will not be cheap and it will need to have buy-in from the administration and from City Council.”

The DIA agreed Wednesday to meet with the administration to determine the next steps.