International landscape architecture, planning, and urban design firm SWA Group announce their design of the public outdoor spaces for Riverfront Jacksonville, a $1.1 billion, mixed-use master plan created by SouthEast Development Group along the St. Johns River in Florida. The vision for the public-private partnership, which would be Jacksonville’s largest ever, will transform the Northbank of Downtown, adding a cumulative total of 2.3 million square feet of new mixed-use programs, all connected by 15 acres of public parks and plazas along the river’s edge.
Chuck McDaniel, Managing Principal of SWA’s Dallas studio and the development’s landscape architect said:
“We are excited to be part of this once-in-a-generation project. The park is designed to offer the public significant amenities – waterfront promenades, gardens and outdoor places for relaxation and recreation – and simultaneously buffers the development, and the broader Central Business District, from the river’s periodic flooding.”
The 15-acre public park is a central and resilient green space proposed along the waterfront, spanning the length of the new development and mitigating anticipated storm surge during hurricane season. Infrastructural changes, such as the strategic removal of road and highway ramps infrastructure, would help to open up previously underused spaces, foster greater variety and safety of mobility, and allow the buildings to front directly onto the park. The site would be graded to allow water into and detain it within the park. If the water continues to rise, it would then flow into a system of underground parking garages within the development; as flood water recedes, the garages will be pumped dry.
An outdoor amphitheater anchors one end of the park design and would accommodate programs, its ribbon-like canopy of teak lending shade and visual interest. Other areas of the park would be characterized by open areas accented with undulating pathways underfoot and the re-emergence in places of the sculptural ribbon overhead. The removal of freeway ramps would enable the continuation of the pedestrian promenade and floating dock beneath the John T. Alsop Jr. Bridge, the second bridge built across the St. Johns River, to a renovated marina that would anchor the other end of the park.
The project vision, which was announced publicly on June 1, culminates two years of research and planning by SouthEast Development Group, in collaboration with world-class finance, architecture, design, planning, engineering and technology groups to result in the Riverfront Jacksonville master plan. The team includes Gensler, Nelson Worldwide and SWA Group, leading the design program; Brasfield & Gorrie, Danis and Swinerton, managing construction; ETM and THA Consulting to support engineering and planning; and financing by Goldman Sachs and Piper Sandler & Co.
A full press kit including images may be accessed here. More information about the project may be found at jaxriverfront.com.