JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two major projects that could change the Jacksonville skyline are starting to take shape on the Southbank.
One involves the iconic Friendship Fountain and the other involves a 12-year-old dream of development next to the Duval County School Board building -- The District. Construction has started on both projects.
A spokesman for the developer of The District -- Preston Hollow Capital, which is based out of Dallas -- said that name is going to change when they hold the official groundbreaking on May 25.
The plan is to turn the riverfront site into housing, retail and a park. The work underway now at the site is for a parking lot that will be used by the school board. It is located right next to the 32-acre site. In turn, the school board will swap part of their parking lot to allow for easier access to the site.
The project could end up costing more than $600 million, and right now, the city could be spending $23 million on infrastructure improvements like drainage and roads.
Meanwhile, an improvement project is underway at Friendship Fountain. It has been fenced off. The mayor’s office said they are beginning improvements, which have been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. For the fountain, which has not been operating correctly for years, $6 million has been budgeted.
The plan was to make the fountain a light and music show. News4Jax has reached out to the city to see whether that is still the plan and how this will tie into other developments at Friendship Park with an updated restaurant, planned apartments and other amenities that are on the books.