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A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers

The title of tallest building in Florida changed hands twelve times over the past 100 years. Of the 13 buildings to hold the title, 6 of them are in Jacksonville. Today, Metro Jacksonville takes a look at Florida's Tallest Buildings throughout more than a century.

Published March 6, 2008 in History      27 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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Dyal-Upchurch Building - Jacksonville

Year Completed: 1902

Height: 25 Meters/6 Stories

Jacksonville first "Skyscraper" after the 1901 fire was built at the corner of Main and E Bay St. It was the first building to be built on wood pilings and also the first Jacksonville building designed by Henry J Klutho. It now serves as home to an advertising agency.

Atlantic National Bank Building - Jacksonville

Year Completed: 1909

Height:41 Meters/10 Stories

Built for the Atlantic National Bank, this building is the home to the only pedestrian tunnel in downtown still in use today - it connects this building to the BB&T Bank Building. It remains an office building today.

Florida Life Building - Jacksonville

Year Completed: 1912

Height:45 Meters/11 Stories

A part of the Laura Trio, this building was also designed by Henry Klutho. It (and the rest of the Laura Trio) is owned by Cameron Kuhn, who was planning to turn the buildings into Office Condos and Retail Space. In light of Kuhn's financial difficulties, we shall see what is in store for these landmarks.


Heard National Bank Building (AKA the Graham Building) - Jacksonville

Year Completed: 1913

Height:55 Meters/15 Stories

The only of the tallest to be demolished, it met its maker in 1981. It is now the site of the Bank of America Tower.

Feedom Tower - Miami

Year Completed: 1925

Height: 78 Meters (255 feet)

Originally completed in 1925 as the headquarters and printing facility of the Miami News & Metropolis newspaper, it is an example of Mediterranean Revival style with design elements borrowed from the Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain. Its cupola on a 255 foot (78 m) tower contained a decorative beacon.

Miami-Dade Courthouse

Year Completed: 1928

Height: 110 Meters (340 feet)

The Dade County Courthouse is a historic U.S. courthouse in Miami, Florida. It is located at 73 West Flagler Street. Constructed over four years (1925-28), it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on January 4, 1989. The building is 360 feet (120 meters) tall with 28 floors. When built, it was the tallest building in Miami and in Florida.


Riverplace Tower - Jacksonville

Year Completed: 1967

Height:127 Meters/28 Stories

Jacksonville's insurance headquarters era continued into the 1960's with the completion of the Gulf Life Tower. Now officially named the Riverplace Tower, Wachovia's graces the top of the building.


Park Tower - Tampa

Year Completed: 1972

Height:140 Meters/36 Stories

With the completion of the Park Tower, Jacksonville loses the title of Florida's Tallest. The building has had several namesin its history and is now known as the Colonial Bank Building.


Independent Square - Jacksonville

Year Completed: 1974

Height:163 Meters/37 Stories

Two years later Jacksonville strikes back and reclaims the tallest building in Florida. Built for the Independent Life Insurance Company, this iconic building is the most prominent on the northbank skyline. It is the worldwide headquarters for MPS Group, an international professional staffing company.

One Tampa City Center - Tampa

Year Completed: 1981

Height:164 Meters/38 Stories

In 1984, Florida's tallest left Jacksonville for the last time. This building serves as the Tampa office for the telecommunications company Verizon.

Wachovia Financial Center - Miami

Year Completed: 1984

Height:233 Meters/55 Stories

Florida's tallest office building (and most spacious with 1.16 million leasable square feet).

Four Seasons Hotel & Tower - Miami

Year Completed: 2003

Height:240 Meters/64 Stories

This is the first of Florida's Tallest that is not an office building - it is a mixed use building featuring the Four Seasons Hotel, condominium units, and hotel-condos.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION - Brickell Financial District II - Miami

Expected Completion: 2009

Height:255 Meters/68 Stories

This landmark building under construction will be another mixed use property, featuring office space, and retail in Miami's Brickell District.

Will Jacksonville ever have a building reclaim the title of Florida's Tallest? One day it may be possible, but for now we will have to take pride in the fact that the Florida Skyscraper boom began in Jacksonville.








27 Comments

jeh1980

March 06, 2008, 04:44:49 AM
About the Modis Tower, I had done research on an old Jacksonville bicentential celebration book long ago that the building was actualy built in July of 1975. ;)

Steve

March 06, 2008, 09:45:11 AM
I've seen that mistake as well - it was built in 1974.

http://skyscraperpage.com/cities/?cityID=135
http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/ci/bu/sk/li/?id=101041&bt=2&ht=2&sro=1

I guess because 1975 is a round year that mistake is made, but I've seen that myself a lot as well.

second_pancake

March 06, 2008, 10:03:10 AM
My husband and I were talking to road-bike racer, Paul Curly about doing a stair-climbing race through the stairwell of the Modis building.  How cool would that be?  An individual time-trial to see who can climb and descend all flights of stairs the fastest.  I can tell you this, it wouldn't be me.

Jason

March 06, 2008, 12:39:25 PM
This is what this site is all about, IMO.  Most of us here are skyscraper fanatics and thrive on topics like this one.  Very well done!

I wasn't aware that Tampa held the title twice, although for only a short period of time.  Its good to know that outside of Miami, Jax holds the title over everyone else...  ;-)

I can't wait for the market to rebound so that the ongoing race for the state's tallest may continue.  Who knows, maybe Jax can pull for the tallest in the south, or even the country?

jeh1980

March 06, 2008, 02:59:50 PM
About the Modis Tower, I had done research on an old Jacksonville bicentential celebration book long ago that the building was actualy built in July of 1975. ;)
I've seen that mistake as well - it was built in 1974.

http://skyscraperpage.com/cities/?cityID=135
http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/ci/bu/sk/li/?id=101041&bt=2&ht=2&sro=1

I guess because 1975 is a round year that mistake is made, but I've seen that myself a lot as well.
Well, I actualy thought that what I had read wasn't really a mistake. Let's me explain. In one of the 1974 Architectual Digest magazines (I think that was the name of it, Im not so sure) I had researched, I happen to see an ad for the Libbey-Owens-Ford glass company that showed Independent Square (Modis Tower) under construction. Then I might have read somewhere in that ad that said it's will be completed February 1975. But later, I read in a Jacksonville bicentenial celebration book that was published in 1976 that the building was actualy built in July 1975. :o Go figure! All in all, I believe that that building was REALLY built in 1975, not 1974. Sorry for the confusion :-X!

Timkin

March 06, 2008, 03:39:52 PM
 Pretty cool information.. Also good to know how old these structures are and that belive it or not, most of them are still with us. :)


It will be interesting to see what becomes of the Laura Trio.  I regret Cameron Kuhns misfortune.

thelakelander

March 06, 2008, 03:46:00 PM
All of the listed buildings are still standing and other than the Laura Trio, still in good shape.

Ocklawaha

March 06, 2008, 06:57:42 PM
Wasn't the last big announced "new" project building in the recent boom a Miami clone with the promise of being higher? 68-70 stories? Would it have trumped the current Miami winner? Wonder if it's dead forever or "on hold" until such time... if so, we're probably not out of the race forever.

Ocklawaha

Ocklawaha

March 06, 2008, 07:00:32 PM
One more thought... and I hope they see this! I think the current Fidelity and DuPont buildings are sorry excuses for fortune 500 corporate HQ types. Come on guys, give us something to brag about!

Ocklawaha

Ocklawaha

March 06, 2008, 07:04:44 PM
One more time... Hey family? Chattanooga has a KRYSTAL RESTAURANT tower. Where the hell is our WINN DIXIE tower?

Florida East Coast? Moved from St. Augustines tallest trio to Baymeadows! Damn boys, give those folks over at CSX something to stare at!

Sell the old JEA site to the Seminole Nation and raise a hotel, retail complex to play the game at a new level. And I do mean GAME!


Ocklawaha

thelakelander

March 06, 2008, 08:15:28 PM
Wasn't the last big announced "new" project building in the recent boom a Miami clone with the promise of being higher? 68-70 stories? Would it have trumped the current Miami winner? Wonder if it's dead forever or "on hold" until such time... if so, we're probably not out of the race forever.

Ocklawaha

The latest Miami +1,000ft project was announced last week.  They have two +1,000 footers that are continuing to move forward. 

thelakelander

March 06, 2008, 08:17:05 PM

Sell the old JEA site to the Seminole Nation and raise a hotel, retail complex to play the game at a new level. And I do mean GAME!


Ocklawaha

According to Stephen Dare, casino paddleboats will be on the downtown riverfront within the next two years.

Ocklawaha

March 06, 2008, 08:40:29 PM
Stephendare?

Oh now y'all are my best friends!

Will they serve REBEL YELL?


Ocklawaha

reednavy

March 06, 2008, 09:05:39 PM
MODIS may be the big player here when it comes to dominant building, but Bank of America still is mine. I guess it is the colors, shape, and overall stark contrast to the much brighter MODIS Building. JAX has a very nice skyline and can really bank on it when the next boom starts.

Coolyfett

March 06, 2008, 09:44:27 PM
Man really good article!!!! Not really concerned with what Miami and Tampa are doing, but entertaining either way. I didn't know those 3 buildings were called the "laura trio". I heard Florida's first skyscraper was the Bisbee Building, but I don't see it on this list. The New Penisula Condo is the 3rd tallest building right now???? it looks that way from the Fuller Warren although I may be wrong. Good Stuff!! One of the reasons I love this site.  8)

Steve

March 06, 2008, 11:08:45 PM
The Bisbee building was built the same year as the Atlantic National Bank Building (2nd on the list), but one was completed before the other.  The Atlantic is slightly taller.

With regard to the Peninsula, it is the fourth tallest in Jax in terms of height, but third in terms of floors.  AT&T has 32 floors, while the Peninsula has 36.

Jason

March 07, 2008, 10:17:39 AM
MODIS may be the big player here when it comes to dominant building, but Bank of America still is mine. I guess it is the colors, shape, and overall stark contrast to the much brighter MODIS Building. JAX has a very nice skyline and can really bank on it when the next boom starts.

My orignial "vision" plan of the downtown core (if you've seen it) showed what the skyline could look like with 5 new towers covering the parking lots that sit right in the middle of the CBD waterfront area.  If the next boom consumes these lots with attractive tall modern towers, we will certainly move into the next league of city skylines.  Two of these five lots are perfect for the state's or even the south's next tallest.

Coolyfett

March 08, 2008, 09:24:28 PM
MODIS may be the big player here when it comes to dominant building, but Bank of America still is mine. I guess it is the colors, shape, and overall stark contrast to the much brighter MODIS Building. JAX has a very nice skyline and can really bank on it when the next boom starts.

My orignial "vision" plan of the downtown core (if you've seen it) showed what the skyline could look like with 5 new towers covering the parking lots that sit right in the middle of the CBD waterfront area.  If the next boom consumes these lots with attractive tall modern towers, we will certainly move into the next league of city skylines.  Two of these five lots are perfect for the state's or even the south's next tallest.

Where exactly? What corners?

manext

December 06, 2008, 11:46:02 PM
Hey did you guys know that one american center which is currently own kuhn and was once know as AHL life insurance building where going to develope a 54 story tower in downtown on that ajacent lot, before deciding to move out towards the beach on JTB which is now the hamana building. I also heard romours about private indiviual taking over laura street trio make the marble bank a club the, florida bank and hotel with 60 rooms and the bisbee, and residential complext

heights unknown

December 07, 2008, 08:05:43 AM
Where did you get your information, or rumors from?  What is the source?

Heights Unknown

Lunican

December 01, 2009, 10:30:10 AM
Quote
Dyal-Upchurch Building: the history



At six stories, it’s far from the tallest building Downtown but at one time that distinction was held by the Dyal-Upchurch Building.

Following the Great Fire of 1901, it was the first multistory structure that was built as part of Jacksonville’s revival. It is also the first building designed by Henry John Klutho, an architect who was living in New York City and decided to relocate to Jacksonville after he read about the fire. The disaster also brought the men who developed the building here. Benjamin Dyal owned a sawmill and Frank Upchurch invested in lumber and turpentine.

There’s also a commercial real estate angle to the story. Office space in the building at the corner of Bay and Main streets was leased so fast after construction began that Klutho was called on to add an additional floor to meet the demand. Shortly after that building opened in 1902, the Atlantic National Bank was founded and occupied the first floor until the financial institution’s new headquarters on Forsyth Street was completed in 1909.

Full Article:
http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/downtowntoday.php?dt_date=2009-12-01

Coolyfett

March 01, 2010, 01:15:44 PM
Miami is getting taller I see. Where would a next tower in Jax go? They would probably have to knock something old down to make it happen

Jason

March 02, 2010, 09:23:22 AM
Nah, there are 5 or more prime parcels right in the heart of the CBD that would look great with a 600' plus tower.  I'll dig up the images I made a while back and repost them.

Jason

March 02, 2010, 09:47:38 AM
Here are a few...



Aerial view showing the vacant lots in the CBD.






























reednavy

March 02, 2010, 11:32:53 AM
The only building I recognize out of the one's that you added as fantasy is One Atlantic Center from midtown Atlanta. I also think the two on the lot adjacent to the CSX HQ is the Suncor Energy, fmr Petro-Canada Centre, from Calgary.

Jason

March 02, 2010, 01:22:47 PM
Nice work!  I actually shortened the Atlanta tower a bit to make it fit the skyline better.  Its just over 700' in the image above but actually just over 800' in realy life.

Its cool to see how much ov an impact 5 well place towers would have on the skyline as well as the streets.

reednavy

March 02, 2010, 01:36:54 PM
If I could replace the AT&T Tower, I'd put Atlanta's 1180 Peachtree in it's place. Such a gorgeous building and really catches the eye with it's signature curved wings on top.

Toss in OKC's Devon Tower as well, which now has it's tower crane.
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