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USS Orleck Bad For Business, Downtown’s Hyatt Regency Claims. City Council Is Set To Act.

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USS Orleck Bad For Business, Downtown’s Hyatt Regency Claims. City Council Is Set To Act.

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USS Orleck Bad For Business, Downtown's Hyatt Regency Claims. City Council Is Set To Act.
USS Orleck Bad For Business, Downtown's Hyatt Regency Claims. City Council Is Set To Act.

USS Orlake could be ready to dock a month later than the previously agreed upon delivery date if her entire contract with the city is not fulfilled.

The Jacksonville City Council is considering an emergency ordinance to allow the Jacksonville Maritime Ship Historical Society, a former Navy destroyer group, to begin construction to successfully dock the Orlake 4 blocks from the city's public dock. From its current ruin. Site. . The hotel manager said the ship docked at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, a major expense for the hotel.

"I can assure you that since the day the ship docked in front of our hotel, we have seen a significant negative financial impact," said Joe Hindley, general manager of the Hyatt Regency, Neighborhood Council, Community Services, Public Health, on Monday. . and safety committee.

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JHNSA's contract with the city expired in October, which outlines the steps the organization will take to get back to Pier 1. Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer only has the right to a six-month extension, meaning the group. It should complete all tasks and operate a ship by March 30, 2023.

The city accommodated JHNSA by making some changes—moving the ship to Jacksonville ahead of schedule, allowing it to park for free in front of the Hyatt Hotel, and working with the group to eventually relocate after their contract expired. According to DIA representatives on city council committees, courts also enforce contracts in favor of local businesses.

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"If they want to honor this contract, we have to allow them to install the quayside improvements," Boyer told the Transportation, Energy and Utilities Commission on Wednesday.

Why did Orlik move?

The first contract called for a transfer to Pier 1 after all conditions were met, and only then could the ship reach Jacksonville. As the ship arrived earlier than expected, expectations about the contract have changed.

City officials have approved JHNSA to install the vessel in front of the Hyatt Regency, which will take only weeks, not months, city employee Brian Hughes told panel members. Currently, the organization does not charge the city's local sidewalk fees and cannot charge for tours, only asking for donations.

The hotel, which Hinsley said was under-advertised for the ship's arrival, offers guests waterfront views and outdoor activities. With the ship directly in front of the facility, Hinsley said he lost his business and "I want to see the ship move as fast as possible."

“We've been so good we can't take it anymore,” Hughes said of the city's relationship with JHNSA. City officials said they had no information on the hotel's financial losses, but confirmed the unofficial information. "I have no doubt that we have impacted their business."

JHNSA contracted with contractor Hal Jones to perform the necessary docking improvements on Pier 1 between December and January. Boyer told committee members he has seen JHNSA's bank statements, which prove they have the funds to complete the work. They were also awarded $50,000 from the city council earlier this year to complete the necessary electrical work on the sidewalk.

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If the board decides not to pass the emergency law and wait until January, Boyer said he is not sure if the contractor will be able to complete the work before the March deadline to move the ship.

Can the ship go elsewhere?

The contract with the city specifically calls for moving to Pier 1. Shipping advocates like William Harrell wanted her to move elsewhere.

"I think Pier 1 is a hell hole to be removed from Orlake because of the lack of public access," Harrell told the neighborhood committee Monday.

Harrell intends to open a veterans museum near Orlek's potential site, but his efforts are divided by JHNSA's contract with the city. Harrell doesn't work for JHNSA, but said the lack of parking and public access at Pier 1 will ultimately hurt the ship and the excellent museum.

Boyer said the DIA has other plans, including a new station for MOSH and shipyard Park West.

"There are a lot of things that have happened based on the contracts that have already been completed," he said on Monday.

On behalf of JHNSA, CEO Jim Webb said he is ready to move.

"We'll go where our city wants because [sic] our guests," Webb said Wednesday.

What happened after that?

If the City Council approves the bill on Tuesday, the contractor will begin work on the renovation of Pier 1 this month.

Boyer plans to present an amended contract to the City Council in January to accommodate changes required by JHNSA, such as providing "pull" funds from VyStar Credit Union in cash.

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Before the broadcast, JHNSA will offer boat rides in front of the Hyatt Regency and will be donating $15 for adults and $10 for children.

This article originally appeared in the Florida Times-Union: Jacksonville City Council Decides Next Move for USS Orleck.

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