Today’s #AskJAXTDY tackles not one but two curious Jacksonville Today newsletter readers’ questions about the shape of things to come.
First up, Nic J. asks about work being done along a stretch of Normandy Boulevard on Jacksonville’s Westside. And Pablo S. asks about what’s in store for a former Jax Beach business.
“What is being built on Normandy Boulevard between the equestrian center and (Florida State College of Jacksonville at Cecil Center),” Nic J. asks. “A large area has been cleared. I assume it may be for the new fairgrounds but there isn’t any signage there.”
A. Nic J.’s assumption is correct.
“This is the site of the new fairgrounds,” a city spokesperson says. “Site clearing and rough grading are currently underway. The construction sign is currently being relocated so that it is visible from Normandy Boulevard. It should be in the new location in the next day or two.”
The Jacksonville Fairgrounds is moving from its current site next to EverBank Stadium and 121 Financial Ballpark to an 82.37-acre site on the east side of the equestrian center at 13611 Normandy Blvd. The City Council approved its 40-year lease in April, according to the Jacksonville Daily Record.
The 14-acre Downtown fairgrounds site at 510 Fairgrounds Place has been home to the fair since 1990. But the fairgrounds property will soon be developed by Jacksonville Jaguars affiliate Iguana Investments Florida LLC into surface parking to support Jaguars games and other events at the sports complex.
The fair will develop an 80,000-square-foot facility on Normandy Boulevard with a 40,000-square-foot exhibition hall, office and maintenance facilities, meeting rooms, conference space, concession areas, dressing rooms and support areas. The city has committed to clearing and grading the parcel and providing infrastructure, parking and roadway improvements to the site, the Daily Record says.
The city also will build an amphitheater and up to 32 RV parking spaces with water, sewer and electrical hookups. Construction should be done by spring of 2025, with the fall 2025 fair set to open on the Westside, city officials say.
Q: And another development question comes from Pablo S. about the site at 314 1st St. N. in Jacksonville Beach. It used to be the Habibi Hookah Bar, which opened in 2013.
“I’m wondering what’s going on in Jacksonville Beach at the location that was the Habibi Bar,” Pablo S. asks. “It closed down suddenly last year. Just recently, the building was demolished and the fenced-in lot sits empty. It’s a prime beach location.”
A: The property is being developed, Jacksonville Beach’s planning director says.
“The property…is being redeveloped into a new mixed-use commercial project that will include a restaurant with rooftop dining, office space and a retail tenant space,” says Heather Ireland, director of planning and development. “The owners/developer are working on the final designs, and the city expects the submittal of a development plan before the end of the year.”
No other information is available at this time.