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Exploring the Northside: Gateway Mall Photo Tour

Opened in the mid 1950's, and after going through a period of decline from 1988 to 1994, the 630,000sf Gateway Mall is well on its way to making a comeback. While you won't find the Gaps and Cheesecake Factories of the world here, you will discover a center that has been recreated to serve the needs of the surrounding communities.

Published April 4, 2007 in Neighborhoods      18 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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Gateway is located on Norwood Avenue, just east of I-95. The complex consists of an enclosed mall tothesouth and a outdoor shopping centerto thenorth. The center is also another Northside destination within close walking distance of thecity owned S-Line right-of-way, a piece of property the Metro Jacksonville Group has been pushing hardas an alternative to JTA's bus rapid transit north route.

The Mall

Before larger centers like the Avenues came on line, Gateway was one of Jacksonville's major enclosed malls. During its heyday, Morrison's Cafeteria was located in the space occupied by Ice Lady, while the major anchors, JCPenney and Montgomery Wards suppliedpedestrian foot traffic and visibility to the specialty shopsbetween them. Today, the mall lives on as a center dominated by businesses that cater to the surrounding inner city neighborhoods.

This 130,000 sf space was originally occupied by JCPenney, which was the last large national chain anchor to leave in 1992. Today the space has been subdivided into apparel shops and a Supervisor of Elections center.

The interior of the mall still resembles a 1980s/early 1990s type of feel. Most of theoccupied retail spaces are locatedcloser to the Norwood Avenue end. Naturally, without major anchor destination on the I-95 section, many of those storefronts remain vacant. However, as developers look to capitalize on the center's location, it's I-95 frontage presents a great opportunity for additional development.

The Shopping Center

The shopping center portion has undergone several changes since developer Carlton Jones took over in the late 1990s after Canadian based Royal Canadian Bank let the center fall intodespair. At one time, all storefronts turned their back to I-95. Now this set of retailers have direct visible access to one of Jacksonville's most traveled highways.




After over 50 years of serving Northside residents, the center is still a work in progress.

The Gateway Walgreens is one of the few inner city stores operating 24 hours a day/7 days a week.



Gateway is also the home to a 28,000 sf Publix supermarket, which is a rarity in the Inner Northside (south of Trout River, north of Beaver). While other older retail centers of similar size have passed on, Gateway serves as an example of what can happen when creativity takes over and the focus is changed to accommodate a niche market that typically has been overlooked in themetropolitan area.








18 Comments

Pavers

April 04, 2007, 08:36:22 AM
MetroJax Tuesday night attendees,

It was a pleasure to meet all of you last night. Stephen, thanks for hosting the evening.  I enjoyed the meeting and the discussion - it was great to "put the screen name to the face" (so to speak) and meet others who are passionate about the downtown area and civic involvement!

Best,
Pavers (aka Tom)

P.S.  a newsbite for the peanut gallery:  there was a tiny blurb in the T-U business section today about the Strand building reverting back to a rental property - somewhat surprising, since it comes so soon after their sales "grand opening."  Also, I assume you've seen the larger business section article on the planned downtown grocery in the old main library buidling.

Jason

April 04, 2007, 08:41:29 AM
Great tour and history.  I had no idea the mall has been around that long.  It revitalization is great news for the northside.

dj

April 04, 2007, 08:49:32 AM
It's actually nice to see Gateway still thriving. It has done better than the old Normandy Mall.  With the development of passenger rail service and the BRT, this can only help to sustain Gateway and directly connect it to Downtown and surronding neighborhoods.

ALVIN MCNEALY

April 04, 2007, 07:37:55 PM
NEED TO LOOK AT NORMANDY MALL THE WELL KNOW MINISTER TD JAKES ORGANIZATION(POTTER'S HOUSE) IS REVITALIZING THE MALL WITH A BISTRO AND A GYM.

thelakelander

May 11, 2010, 10:57:41 PM
Gateway Town Center up for sale
Northside shopping landmark listed for $23 million

Quote
By Kevin Turner
The Gateway Town Center, a northside shopping center that was converted into an enclosed mall in 1967, went on the market for sale today with a $23 million price tag.

The mall opened Oct. 12, 1967 as the Greater Gateway Shopping Center, and at the time was believed to be the largest of its kind in North Florida and South Georgia. The mall incorporated about 50 existing shops and added another 32 in a new enclosed area. Additions included Montgomery Ward and JC Penney store anchors. It was an upgrade to the original shopping center that opened at that location in 1959.

full article: http://jacksonville.com/business/2010-05-11/story/gateway-town-center-sale

urbanlibertarian

May 11, 2010, 11:13:42 PM
From TU May 9, 2010:

http://jacksonville.com/business/2010-05-09/story/32000-duval-properties-owe-65-million-taxes

"Carlton Jones, general manager of the Gateway Town Center, said Wachovia Bank bought the town center's 2008 tax certificate of more than $321,600 as a "courtesy," but said he didn't have information to comment on the center's 2009 tax arrears of $258,594.41 that placed the center in the No. 7 spot on the list."

thelakelander

May 11, 2010, 11:15:42 PM
Is it safe to assume they won't be paying that $258,594.41 property tax bill?

thelakelander

May 11, 2010, 11:18:17 PM
I guess the medical mall plan is off the table as well.  How long will it take for Walmart to come in, preserve the parking lot, level the buildings and construct a supercenter in its place?

Quote
The city of Jacksonville provided a $10 million tax break so the owner could attract a new anchor tenant, a 27,000-square-foot Publix Super Markets Inc. store that still anchors the center today.

Although the center was renovated again in 2005 by current owner, The Renaissance Group, the property has continued to decline and now has a nearly 29 percent vacancy rate.

In February The Renaissance Group Managing Partner Carlton Jones said he was trying to get tenants in the indoor portion of the center to relocate to the strip center in order to transform the interior into medical-use space. But that project depended on the economy and his ability to get $2 million.

http://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/stories/2010/05/10/daily18.html


mtraininjax

May 11, 2010, 11:49:05 PM
Quote
How long will it take for Walmart to come in, preserve the parking lot, level the buildings and construct a supercenter in its place?

Why would they, Wal-Mart, even sniff in the direction of Gateway Mall? There is little growth in and around the area, look at where their stores are now, within 3-5 miles of high growth areas. Gateway is the past, look for it to go the way of Phillips or Roosevelt mall, but even those plans are too gracious.

thelakelander

May 11, 2010, 11:59:14 PM
Is the area around Emerson and Philips really growing?  The Inner Northside still has a pretty high population density (for Jax), Gateway has interstate visibility, and there's little competition in the area.  Not saying it will happen but they did look at the site a few years ago.

mtraininjax

May 12, 2010, 12:03:41 AM
Quote
they did look at the site a few years ago.

We were in a VERY different real estate market a few years ago. San Marco is growing, close to the Wal-Mart, as is the developments planned but not built yet in San Marco. The Normandy store is close to the westside and Chafee/103rd street. The 103rd street location thrives because of the dense population, and immigrants.

In every single Wal-Mart center, there are other stores or business close by that are thriving, Gateway is dead, Publix provided a dead cat bounce, but even they wish they could pull out, and might too.

thelakelander

May 12, 2010, 12:12:57 AM
Can't argue against the idea that Gateway is dying and needs a shot in the arm.  It would be interesting to see what would come out of a visioning session for that entire commercial district.

mtraininjax

May 12, 2010, 12:15:15 AM
Lake - A gigantic church. Why not, Baptists pulled it off downtown. Structures are there, or we could turn it all into a compound and move the jail to it.

sheclown

May 12, 2010, 07:47:44 AM

All the shoppers are in the  "Flea Market" across the street.  I went in there last week and there were hundreds of people shopping in there.  New stuff, clothing, hats, jewelry, food stalls, hair stalls, I was utterly amazed.  It sort of reminded me of a Jacksonville style Atlanta underground.

mtraininjax

May 12, 2010, 08:38:41 AM
Quote
“The upside potential for an investor lies in the more than 160,000 vacant square feet,”

Uh, yeah, I see lots of interested parties who have that need flocking to the site.

sheclown

May 12, 2010, 09:18:06 AM
And the bus line...it is a major hub, isn't it?

From what I've been told, this was THE place to go in Jacksonville many years ago.  I still think it is a major shopping destination for many people who live in that area especially those who don't drive.

stephendare

May 12, 2010, 09:34:07 AM
Quote
How long will it take for Walmart to come in, preserve the parking lot, level the buildings and construct a supercenter in its place?

Why would they, Wal-Mart, even sniff in the direction of Gateway Mall? There is little growth in and around the area, look at where their stores are now, within 3-5 miles of high growth areas. Gateway is the past, look for it to go the way of Phillips or Roosevelt mall, but even those plans are too gracious.

How did the Gateway experiment turn out so badly?

What would have made it work?

Do we have any aerials?

Wacca Pilatka

May 12, 2010, 09:34:49 AM
And the bus line...it is a major hub, isn't it?

From what I've been told, this was THE place to go in Jacksonville many years ago.  I still think it is a major shopping destination for many people who live in that area especially those who don't drive.

I understand that is too, and whatever happens I hope that area will continue to meet their shopping needs.  

I've never visited Gateway but it is part of my earliest memories of driving through Jacksonville as a child.  I have a drawing of Jacksonville I made when I was 6 or 7 that consists of the Independent Life, Gulf Life, and Prudential buildings along with Gateway and the hotel that was adjacent to it.
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