JAX Chamber board says it supports Riverfront Plaza restaurant

The Downtown Investment Authority board will consider a resolution Feb. 21 to develop the restaurant.

  • By Monty Zickuhr
  • | 4:38 p.m. February 20, 2024
  • | 4 Free Articles Remaining!
A conceptual rendering of a restaurant design at Riverfront Plaza by Will & Perkins.
A conceptual rendering of a restaurant design at Riverfront Plaza by Will & Perkins.
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The JAX Chamber announced Feb. 20 that its board of directors voted unanimously to support a planned restaurant that is part of the Riverfront Plaza park development in Downtown Jacksonville.

The 7-acre park is under construction at the former Jacksonville Landing site along the St. Johns River. The first phase is planned for completion in late 2025.

“To fully activate the waterfront, cities must have a variety of things for people to do,” JAX Chamber Chair Mark Bennett said in a news release. “A restaurant with outdoor seating inside a massive riverfront park is an important amenity that should continue to be part of this plan.”

The release said plans for the Riverfront Plaza "have been the subject of much public discussion and input, and the idea of a restaurant has always been included in the proposal."

The restaurant site is planned for the southwest corner of Riverfront Plaza along the St. Johns River.

According to the JAX Chamber, “a small but vocal group is opposed” to the plan.

On Feb. 21, the Downtown Investment Authority board will consider Resolution 2024-02-02, which approves the development of a stand-alone restaurant on the Hogan Street riverfront development parcel next to Riverfront Plaza.

It says the restaurant building must be located as close to the Hogan Street side of the parcel as practical to preserve views of the river from the Laura Street entry.

The city will own the restaurant site and control its design and operation instead of offering it for sale or as a ground lease.

According to the design criteria, the restaurant will be limited to no more than one story and 6,000 square feet of conditioned space.

It also must include about 2,500 square feet of outdoor seating, with a minimum of 1,000 square feet being covered patio seating.

The building design should represent the look and feel of the Perkins & Will concept design. Perkins & Will is the Riverfront Plaza designer.

A conceptual plan for a restaurant layout in Riverfront Plaza.

The operations direction included in the DIA meeting agenda includes more details about the restaurant.

“The restaurant at Riverfront Plaza should establish itself as an accessible culinary haven, providing a diverse selection of high-quality offerings, whether for a quick coffee or breakfast, a leisurely lunch, or a casual dinner,” the document says

“With service from breakfast to dinner, a diverse array of seating options, and a bright and airy interior, this restaurant will appeal to all users and become a frequent stop for many who expect a quality local offering and familiar service.”

The direction says the restaurant should dependably be open morning to night, seven days a week, and offer “Regional/American, Seafood, Southern” food and “Avoid anything flavor or culturally specific i.e. Sushi, Brazilian Steakhouse, BBQ, Vegetarian, etc.”

It should also offer a kids' menu and be “Approachable/affordable” in price.

The DIA board is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. Feb. 21 in the Main Library Multipurpose Room at 303 N. Laura St.



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