Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

2 Firms Vie for JEA Riverfront Land; Haskell, St. Joe Want Development Rights

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

2 Firms Vie for JEA Riverfront Land; Haskell, St. Joe Want Development Rights

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Galnor, Times-Union staff writer

Two proposals released yesterday outline elaborate plans to convert a former Jacksonville power plant, providing plenty of riverfront housing options and significantly changing the face of the Southbank.

Two prominent local firms -- The Haskell Co. and The St. Joe Co. -- are vying to redevelop JEA's former Southside Generating Station property into a glitzy mix of residential, retail and office space. The proposals also include acres of park space, ensuring that not just those who can afford to live on the river will have access to the new development.

JEA still owns the 42 acres and has the final say in how its developed. The utility's board will hear presentations from both firms Oct. 8. No decision will be made that day, JEA spokeswoman Hollie Smith said.

The board either can choose one of the two proposals or turn both down.

Haskell, a leading design-build firm, and St. Joe, a real estate company and Florida's largest landowner, were the only two to respond to JEA's request for proposals.

"The Southbank is basically a clean slate right now," said Bob Renaud, Haskell's public affairs manager. "It can be whatever we want it to be."

Peter S. Rummell, St. Joe chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement his firm would look to create an "urban village" with a public park.

"Our plan proposes the creation of a distinctive district that reflects the heritage as well as the future of Jacksonville," Rummell said.

The two proposals differ significantly on the amount they're willing to pay JEA for the land, but other costs balance JEA and city investment.

The St. Joe Co. is offering $6.5 million for the land -- about a third of the $20 million The Haskell Co. offers in its bid. But Haskell is asking for $12 million in city funds for Riverwalk and infrastructure improvements. …

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