Jacksonville gets 3 bids to build a new convention center

Bids in response to a municipal request for proposals put the city's financial obligation for a convention center complex as high as $1.2 billion

Sep.September 16, 2018 03:00 PM

Rimrock Devlin DeBartolo Development rendering of proposed convention center in downtown Jacksonville.

Bids to build a new convention center in downtown Jacksonville indicate the municipal cost could be near $1 billion.

Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority received three bids after publishing a request for proposals to build a convention center, hotel and parking garage.

Jacobs Engineering Group proposed a 1.8 million-square-foot complex with a convention center, hotel and garage that it would operate. The city of Jacksonville would repay the construction cost at an annual rate of $48 million.

That would amount to $1.2 billion over the 25-year term of a contract with Jacobs Engineering, which worked on its bid with Westmont Hospitality, the operator of the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront hotel.

Under another bid by Rimrock Devlin DeBartolo Development, the city’s financial obligation would be $936 million under a 30-year lease deal requiring annual payments of $31.2 million.

Rimrock proposed a convention center with 200,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 40,000-square-foot ballroom, a 6,000-square-foot kitchen, 1,300 parking spaces and ground-floor retail. Construction could start next year and conclude in 26 months.

A third bidder, Preston Hollow proposed a convention center with a price tag from $450 million to $460 million.

Preston Hollow wants the city to pay $229 million, or about half of the funding for a new convention center, but the firm didn’t specify how the city would raise the money.

Preston Hollow proposed a 400-room hotel atop a convention center with 431,000 square feet of exhibition space, 60,000 square feet of meeting rooms, a 40,000-square-foot ballroom and a 22,000-square-foot junior ballroom. [Jacksonville Daily Record] – Mike Seemuth

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