The ideas about “What to do with The Landing” were everywhere. The local radio station had a place for you to call in with your ideas. Some were great. Some were a little strange.
Articles by all the local papers were asking the same thing. Some well known people in town were asked too.
And those who run the city behind the scenes spoke of rebuilding The Landing with grand ideas. It all sounded wonderful. The Landing just might remain the iconic symbol of Jacksonville – after a complete remodel that is.
As I listened and read all the comments, I thought about all the renderings for a remodel of The Landing I have seen before. There was a really beautiful one that was designed with the help of Preston Haskell and Toney Sleiman. It would have saved The Landing years ago BEFORE she slowly bled to death at the hands of politicians in our city.
The reason The Landing died a slow death is for one reason and one reason only: Politics.
The developers of The Landing left town after throwing their hands in the air out of frustration with the Mayor’s office about parking. They gave up and Toney Sleiman stepped up thinking he could manage better relations with the Mayor’s office and purchased The Landing from The Rouse Company.
And year after year – Mayor after Mayor – The Landing was denied what she needed to survive.
Why didn’t she get the parking she needed?
Why didn’t the city agree to the new renderings for a complete remodel that would have been paid for by the owners of The Landing?
Could it be, my friends, that if you are not “one of the downtown boys” you don’t get the permit? Could it be that politicians use the power of their office as candy for their buddies?
Downtown is a disaster! Plain and simple. And the downtown boys are to blame for the mess it is in.
I’m writing a sad commentary about downtown next week. A video of what I observed will be a part of the story.
And rest assured, Eye on Jacksonville will be watching to see who ends up with the prime real estate where The Landing sits. If it’s one of the downtown boys – don’t be surprised. I won’t.
And if that happens – they’ll make a mess of it too. They are horrible businessmen who need our money to make nothing happen downtown.