Inside the Park View Inn

February 13, 2007 195 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Situated on the corner of Main and State Streets, the Park View Inn has become one of the most problematic pieces of property in the core of Jacksonville. In its current state, it is a blight that hinders progress in both Springfield and Downtown. Plagued by ground contamination from the former Coal Gasification plant previously on the site, all past redevelopment efforts have failed. Can this building ever be something to be proud of?



There may be new hope for this old motel, which was built in 1964. Owner Robert Van Winkel is awaiting a new environmental assessment report, which he hopes will clear his group to proceed on renovations of the building, as opposed to demolition.

 

Exterior Photos 


From Orange Street, the north side of the building can be seen. Ugly corrugated metal adorns the side of the building.

 


A palm tree grows into the side of the long vacant building.

 


The building has been sealed to prevent homeless from camping inside. Several fires have broken out over the last few years as a result of homeless camping.



 
The north side of the building, from State Street.
 



 
The building sits on top of a very large parking deck. Whatever becomes of the building, there will be no shortage of parking.

 

Interior Photos

 
Vandalism abounds. Portions of the interior were pitch black, so we could not see what was on the walls until looking at the photos.

 


Looking from the lobby into the bottom level of the parking deck.

 


 
Inside what was previously the motel lobby.



 
Looking out toward the pool deck.



 
One of the several spots damaged by fire.

 


Most of the windows in the building have been smashed.

 


Smashed from the inside out.



 
Standing from within the very large pool area, looking up at the Park View Inn sign.



 
Interior hallway that faces the pool deck.

 


Looking down one of the exterior hallways, it almost looks as if it is still open.

 


Inside one of the guest rooms.



 
This hole goes clear through.

 


Looking south down Ocean St. towards downtown from one of the exterior hallways. Not a bad view.

 


More crude graffiti.

 


From the north facing exterior hallways, a park view.
 

Pool Deck 

One of the most surprising aspects of this building is the central pool area. Standing in the middle of it is extremely quiet. It is surrounded on all four sides by thick walls, so no street noise can be heard. With a great skyline view and plenty of palm trees, its almost like a private island right in the middle of a city.





 


 
Fire Damage

This building has had several fires, the worst occurring on the top level, completely destroying all of the partitions between the rooms and causing the roof to buckle. This clearly shows how much space this building has, and once the hotel room partitions are removed, there are many possible configurations for a conversion.



 

 

Another area that appears to have suffered from fire damage is the first floor lobby area. 



 

 

 

 

 

Homeless Camping

Throughout the building there were clear signs that it had been used for homeless camping and drug use.  

 



 

Skyline Views 

The roof of the Park View Inn offers some of the best skyline views in the city. Between the downtown skyline, the Hart Bridge, and Confederate Park, the views are hard to beat.




  


Overlooking Confederate Park and Springfield. The orange area on the roof is directly above, and as a result of, the fire damage.

 


Overlooking Springfield. Shands Medical Center can be seen in the distance.



 
This may look like a surface parking lot, but it is actually the Park View's gigantic rooftop.

 

 


 

The Park View Inn is, without a doubt, a huge blight on the area between Springfield and Downtown. After touring the building, it is easy to imagine how it could be effectively renovated and turned into a desirable place to live. As it stands, the building has a lot going for it: incredible views, an enormous pool deck, plenty of garage parking, open floors, and a great location.

In the next few months, the environmental reports will be in. Will the building pass?

And if it doesn't, what comes next?

 Photos by Daniel Herbin