The span along Bay Street along the riverfront from Liberty Street to the Sportsplex is mostly open acreage waiting for development. It’s a stunning jewel in Jacksonville’s riverfront crown just waiting to be polished.
For over 140 years, East Bay Street was home to one of the largest shipbuilding operations on the east coast. Since 1992, this site has become known as a field where revitalization dreams come to die.
Renamed the Jacksonville Shipyards, Inc. (JSI) in 1963 by W.R. Lovett, shipbuilding operations on this site dated as far back as the 1850s. For decades, JSI was one of Jacksonville’s largest employers and a dominant feature of the downtown scene and riverfront. There was a floating dock that could lift 4,500 tons; a marine railway; and three very ingenious electric hoists, the biggest of which could lift 270 tons. JSI’s decline began in the 1980s, shutting down briefly in 1990, laying off 800 workers.
Over the years, there have been numerous development projects proposed that have never taken off for various reasons, mostly funding. Enter billionaire Shad Khan.
Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority is moving forward with a Shipyards proposal floated by the Jaguars owner. Negotiations are underway with Khan’s Iguana Investments, calling for a massive facelift of the property and hundreds of millions of dollars in private investments.
Shad Khan’s vision for the abandoned 48-acre Shipyards property would include a mixed-use district with public park space, a riverwalk, and an enclosed practice facility, as well as the potential for residential, office, retail, restaurants, a hotel, and a marina.
Designs for the new Shipyards also call for an amphitheater and a bridge. The marina will house the USS Adams, a former Navy warship that’s being converted into Florida’s first naval warship museum.
INTUITION ALE WORKS NEW HOME
One of your favorite Riverside watering holes is moving to the Northbank. Next year, the home of fav brews like Riverside Red, Underdark 2015, and Knot Head Alt will be brewing next door to Maxwell House Coffee, good to the last drop.
Intuition Ale Works has announced plans to renovate the old Dalton Building, a currently empty space at the corner of Bay St. and A. Philip Randolph Boulevard adjacent to the baseball grounds and Veterans Memorial Arena.
After years of searching for a new location, Riverside’s Intuition Ale Works has identified an existing building at 929 East Bay Street to convert into a new craft brewery. Uses for the 36,170-square-foot mixed-use development will include the production and distribution of alcoholic beverages and ancillary retail components, including future commercial uses.
Plans indicate that a tap room will be included at the corner of East Bay Street and A. Philip Randolph Boulevard. A portion of the existing building’s roof will be removed and raised to accommodate larger fermenting tanks and a 4,000-square-foot rooftop biergarten. The biergarten will be covered with a tensile roof system. Construction could possibly start as early as late 2015. The anticipated completion date is 2016.
Since its opening in 1984, this 27-acre facility along the beautiful St. Johns River in Downtown Jacksonville has offered something for everyone. Whether you prefer relaxing in the cool river breezes or listening to top-name entertainment at one of the many outdoor concerts, this outdoor venue has been the home of many annual events including Starry Nights, the World of Nations Celebration, Fourth of July Celebration, area non-profit events, and many more. Tony Bennett, Brad Paisley, Earth, Wind and Fire, James Taylor, Nancy Wilson, and Chaka Khan are just a few of the artists who have performed at Metropolitan Park over the years.
Metropolitan Park also offers a kids play area, covered picnic tables along with boat dock and marina.
WJCT STUDIOS – Broadcast Park
My first memories of WJCT go back to 1962 when, just after the Cuban Missile Crisis, that Duval County schools introduced TV in the classrooms to teach us Spanish.
That was back in the beginning when WJCT was considered the educational channel. A lot has changed in the past 56 years and now the facility programs four television channels, WJCT Radio 89.9 FM, and newly added 89.9 FM HD-2. The station first signed on the air on September 10, 1958. WJCT’s schedule includes programming from PBS and other programming services, including the BBC, American Public Television and the National Educational Television Association. WJCT also produces and broadcasts local news, public affairs programs, and documentaries.
In 1978, WJCT Board Chairman Ira Koger announced plans for Broadcast Park, an extraordinary community initiative that would create an educational, cultural and family oriented recreation and entertainment center on the north bank of the St. Johns River.
Reflecting considerable investment by government, business and community leaders, the $13 million, three-phase expansion plan would ultimately provide a cutting-edge broadcast facility and production studio, an outdoor park, and the region’s first amphitheater.
WJCT Public Radio (then Stereo 90) moved to its new facilities in 1982 and WJCT-TV began broadcasting from its new location on its 25th anniversary, September 10, 1983.