The site of the former Jacksonville Landing in downtown will finally see some aesthetic improvement, if even for a short period.
City officials confirmed Friday the vacant lot will be filled with sod beginning next week. The property on the north bank of the St. J0hns River is where the former shopping mall stood for more than three decades. The Landing, a fixture not only for Jacksonville residents, but a Northeast Florida regional commercial icon, was demolished beginning late last year.
Nikkie Kimbleton, a spokeswoman for Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, acknowledged crews will begin laying down sod to cover the now-flattened 6-acre lot. Kimbleton stressed the grass is just a “temporary solution” to make the property usable to the public.
Kimbleton said the makeover will provide a short term lawn for public events that may be held as the city emerges from the coronavirus shutdown. She said sod was originally meant for the crowd that would have attended the now-canceled Jacksonville Jazz Festival.
The city wants to provide the temporary lawn at least in advance for Fourth of July weekend, if the city determines crowds can gather again if the COVID-19 threat has subsided.
D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co. Inc. is in charge of the demolition of the famed shopping mall that was flattened in a matter of months. A subcontract for Griffin, Crossbow Cattle Inc., is in charge of the grading of the vacant property and sodding the area with the temporary grass.
The demolition project cost the city $1.07 million, including $90,000 for grading and sodding.
Kimbleton said the city still plans a review and bidding process before deciding what to place on the site permanently.