Jacksonville’s Riverfront Plaza project officially starts construction

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Florida Construction News staff writer

Construction crews have started working to transform Riverfront Plaza in Jacksonville.
The master plan for Jacksonville’s Northbank riverfront along East Bay Street and Gator Bowl Boulevard shows the future sites of the Jacksonville Fire Museum, USS Orleck and planned parks as well as the new Museum of Science & History and a hotel.

Development has already begun on a number of other vacant properties along the city’s Northbank, some of those also parks, as renovation and new development also happens across the river along the Southbank Riverwalk. “I’m excited that construction is beginning for Riverfront Plaza, one of the centerpieces to transforming our riverfront,” Mayor Donna Deegan said. “The riverfront park system will bring in people from across the city to the waterfront to live, work, and play.

Architecture firm Perkins & Will Inc. won a design contest for the park in 2021.

“It will be a top priority of my administration to invest in public infrastructure and parks to increase Jacksonville’s quality of life and grow our downtown.”

Phase I includes removing a portion of Independent Drive to make way for park amenities, rebuilding the bulkhead and riverwalk along the length of the  plaza, transforming a section of Hogan Street into a pedestrian plaza and building a multipurpose lawn, curving walkways, native plant gardens, a water play area and the café with roof-top  playground.

The first phase of construction is expected to last about two years and cost about $25 million.

“This project is a major step forward in creating a series of first-class destination riverfront parks in downtown Jacksonville,” said Lori Boyer, CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority. “These parks will give people from across the city new activities and programming to enjoy in the heart of the community.”

Other than the park, planned riverfront development includes a 6,500-square-foot event lawn on the hotel/office building/marina site, improvements to the Metropolitan Park Marina and the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department’s station 39/Marine 35.

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