The Museum of Science and History will present the site plan for its proposed Northbank Shipyards facility to the Downtown Investment Authority’s board of directors for approval.
The DIA Board’s Retail Improvement and Asset Disposition Committee is due to review and vote on MOSH’s proposal for the 6.86 acres on Aug. 10.
In October 2020, the MOSH announced plans to move from 1025 Museum Circle on the Downtown Southbank, its location since 1967.
In January, the DIA Board of Directors and MOSH reached an agreement for a 40-year ground lease at $1 per year for 2½ acres of city-owned shipyard property.
In exchange, MOSH CEO Bruce Fafard said the nonprofit would complete an estimated $85 million, 130,000 square foot museum facility by Dec. 31, 2027.
The resolution required the MOSH to return to the DIA to submit a site plan by September 30.
MOSH documents and a memo from DIA staff show the 6.86-acre site divided into three parts – the 2½-acre museum plot; a 1½ acre city-MOSH partnership parcel; and the remaining 2.86 acres as a city park.
A map showing the plots shows the park space at 3.2 acres.
The site plan shows the structure of the museum, the parking lot and other spaces controlled by the MOSH.
The plot will be developed and operated by the museum, but at least two-thirds of the waterfront area must remain open to the public on weekends and three weekdays each week.
The park parcel will be open to the public and set back 100 feet from all water frontages. The DIA memo says it will include the Northbank Downtown Riverwalk and the Emerald Trail project along Hogan’s Creek.
If the plan is adopted by the full DIA board on Aug. 17, the MOSH will need approval from the Downtown Development Review Board.
The DDRB is responsible for ensuring that all public and private development in the city center meets the region’s overlay design standards.
The city council should then vote on the plan.
Among the conditions of the 22-point condition sheet, the DIA asks the designers of the MOSH to have “the ambitious goal of creating an iconic place”. They should aim to attract visitors from all over the southeastern United States to a “sustainable landmark” in the urban center of Jacksonville.
The MOSH must adhere to the Downtown Design Overlay Code and Development Guidelines; incorporate the city’s storm surge resilience guidance; and ensure the design interacts with pedestrians along Bay Street, Hogans Creek and the St. Johns River.
The outdoor space should also have a “science-themed activity node.” The DIA report says the outer science area will include a beacon or vertical structure that can be illuminated at night and visible from other areas of the Downtown Riverwalk.
MOSH’s response says it met with city resilience manager Anne Coglianese on Jan. 25 and received a simulated storm surge memo. The team and the DIA have concluded that the lowest occupied floor of the museum will need to be approximately 8 feet above the current Bay Street elevation.
According to its report, the MOSH will consider resilience and environmental constraints in the design of its site.
The park parcel has a direct connection to Hogans Creek, Bay Street, and the 30-mile Emerald Trail. It would integrate the site into all three.
It also foresees a proposed pedestrian bridge across Hogans Creek on the Northbank Riverwalk that will connect to the future MOSH site.
The August 10 review will consider the site plan, not the design of the museum building.
MOSH released renderings May 2 for a 130,000 square foot installation by international design firm DLR Group and Jacksonville-based kasper + associates architects.
These plans will also have to be approved by the DDRB before the project can start.
MOSH’s move to the shipyards is part of a larger city plan and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s plans to transform the riverfront into the downtown sports and entertainment district -town.
Khan’s development company, Iguana Investments Florida LLC, has begun preliminary work on the site of a $370 million Four Seasons hotel and residences project and a six-story office building with retail detail in the former Kids Kampus park at the shipyards.
Khan is also working with Baptist Heath on a proposed second phase anchored by an orthopedic center with possible residential and commercial development.
The DIA and Mayor Lenny Curry’s administration have proposed spending $26.2 million over the next two years to revamp Metropolitan Park east of the thriving Four Seasons and build a 10-acre shipyard park. west of MOSH.
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