The Downtown Investment Authority (DIA), on behalf of COJ and PSEC, would like to congratulate all three design teams for their hard work, innovative designs, thoughtful community engagement and creative approaches for the iconic, prized property in Downtown Jacksonville. Each team provided bold, high-quality proposals that paid homage to the importance of this site to the community and illustrated the immense impact a reimagined design would have for Downtown and the Jacksonville community at large.
“I am extremely happy with the turnout of this process and the quality designs it produced,” expressed Lori Boyer, DIA CEO. “Prioritizing the public park space on the site and engaging the public in the design process was of utmost importance from the onset of this effort. I commend all who took the time to provide their valuable insights and congratulate the three design teams for their exceptional work. I look forward to seeing the Perkins&Will vision come to life in what will be a first-class asset for all to enjoy.”
Perkins&Will presented their 50% designs on Thursday, June 24th
, 2021, and quickly garnered excitement from the public. The winning design – dubbed One Park Jax – boasts a central lawn, a destination play space, a river terrace, a park pavilion building, a hotel and sky garden, which includes outdoor dining options, a bike and pedestrian connection to the Main Street bridge, and an iconic sculpture situated atop civic stairs that is undeniably unique and authentic to Jacksonville.
Input from the dedicated public played a huge role in this effort and was integral to each design. Countless hours of public engagement resulted in common themes sought by those who live, work, and play in the community. Criteria of highest importance included the need for a versatile lawn, a restaurant and playground, an iconic art piece, as well as resiliency and shade – all of which have been met by the winning design.
"This is an exciting project that will change the Downtown experience for years to come,” said Daryl Joseph Director of Parks, Recreation, and Community Services. “Parks connect people to each other, and Riverfront Plaza will connect the community to the St. John’s River in a meaningful, heartfelt way."
It is important to note that the two top proposals with the most public feedback (Perkins&Will, and Agency Landscape + Planning) shared common design features, including only one mid-to-high rise development pad adjacent to the Main Street bridge and a much smaller, public-use facility (park facility, visitor center, restaurant, etc.) adjacent to Hogan Street. An additional noteworthy design element presented by both top-scoring teams includes a connection from the Main Street bridge to the elevated portion of each site design via a new pedestrian ramp – a feature Perkins&Will complements with outdoor dining and a river-facing beer garden.
Upon completion, Riverfront Plaza will transform into an extraordinary recognizable symbol of Jacksonville’s waterfront – from the Riverfront and aerial views as well as within the space – that will shape the Northbank and Jacksonville-at-large for generations to come. It will be, as Perkins&Will state, “one park for all of Jacksonville.”
“We are absolutely thrilled and humbled to be selected for this amazing project,” said Christopher Counts, Perkins&Will Landscape Architect Design Principal. “The transformative potential of this project cannot be overstated. This new world-class park will be reflective of the culture, diversity, and vitality of the City of Jacksonville. It will become part of the public consciousness of the City and a source of civic pride for the citizens of Jacksonville. We look forward to having the opportunity to fulfill our promise to work with the city and community members to create a park for ALL of Jacksonville.”
For more information on the Perkins&Will Riverfront Plaza design, visit: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7a4d455r9zltw7f/AACARMF0GJeV_gCmc96ozksda?dl=0
About the Downtown Investment Authority: The Downtown Investment Authority was established by the City of Jacksonville to revitalize Jacksonville’s urban core by utilizing Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) resources and is guided by a nine-member board of directors. The DIA seeks to attract investment, facilitate job creation and increase residential density through capital investments, planning, marketing and public-private partnerships including the provision of incentives for the general community and Downtown stakeholders. For more information, visit https://dia.coj.net/ and https://investdtjax.com/.