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Urban Infill: Unity Plaza

A look at the City of Jacksonville's Brooklyn Infrastructure Improvements: Unity Plaza

Published July 3, 2009 in Development      24 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

The proposed development includes infrastructure improvements to Magnolia Street and redevelops the existing retention pond to address master drainage design in the Brooklyn area.  

Future phases will convert this site into an urban park surrounded by a mix of residential, office and retail uses opening up onto the public space.





































Update posted by Ennis Davis







24 Comments

Charles Hunter

July 03, 2009, 08:15:28 AM
Very nice.  Any word on the schedule? 

Although, it looks like they are encroaching into the utility/transit corridor that runs along the west side of Riverside Avenue.  At the very least, they've put trees there, if not their buildings.  Or does that corridor not go all the way to Forest?

thelakelander

July 03, 2009, 08:49:13 AM
The transit ROW does go to Forest.  They are encroaching on it but if the skyway were to be extended, it would be elevated.

fsu813

July 03, 2009, 09:13:29 AM
man...........i was hoping for a wal-mart.

brainstormer

July 03, 2009, 09:27:30 AM
Awesome, I love the vision.  Now implementation is something the city isn't so great at.  I've mentioned before, round table meeting with developers of 200 Riverside and other investors, developers, people who still have money, and lets get it built.  Make them apartments, not condos.  Put me on the list to move in right away.  The location is perfect.

hiddentrack

July 03, 2009, 09:40:21 AM
I never thought I'd find myself looking forward to improvements being made to a retention pond, but it certainly looks better than what's currently there.

heights unknown

July 03, 2009, 09:46:21 AM
That will be a nice, beautiful, and a much welcomed addition to that area.  I hope some or all of the other proposals and/or approved developments for Brooklyn come to fruition soon.  Would love to see that portion of downtown start to thrive, especially with residential property/development additions.

Heights Unknown

hanjin1

July 03, 2009, 12:24:34 PM
i'll believe this when i see it. it does look nice on paper though

vicupstate

July 03, 2009, 02:47:31 PM
^^ Ditto.  I would like to see a little less hardscape and more grass though.  Otherwise, it looks good.

urbanlibertarian

July 03, 2009, 04:31:57 PM
fsu813 wrote: "man...........i was hoping for a wal-mart."

There's still plenty of room in Brooklyn.  Keep hope alive.

reednavy

July 05, 2009, 04:00:29 PM
I knew something was up when a week or so back I saw men with large blueprints and cameras were at the location. You'd almost think Jax is about to come out of the recession in some locations.

Steve

July 05, 2009, 09:39:18 PM
This looks okay - certainly better than the status quo.  However, seeing Hallmark Partners' Logo on it tells me it is tied to 200 Riverside.  I'm holding my breath waiting for THAT to happen.

Ocklawaha

July 06, 2009, 12:34:26 AM


Looks like a fine place to drop in a Monorail meets bus, meets streetcar, station. Also a FINE location for a streetcar barn and (museum tour) with all the trimmings. EZ on and off from I-95 would put passengers on both systems. Did you know that Disney counts thousands of people who have come to the parks (many as VIP'S) just to experience the transportation system? If we built our vintage streetcar, and finished the Skyway, we'd catch them before they got to the mouse!

OCKLAWAHA

Jason

July 06, 2009, 08:29:07 AM
I think the park proposal looks great.  Even better is the continued talk of the 200 Riverside project.  Maybe, just maybe, if this project breaks ground we may be hearing of the return of Brooklyn Park.

JaxNative68

July 08, 2009, 11:36:40 AM
Why do all designs from the office of Rink look like buildings I have already seen in advertisements in Architectural Record?  Do they have any originality in that office?

brainstormer

July 25, 2009, 08:38:47 AM
http://hallmarkpartners.com/Website/Building%20the%20Site%207.04/video.html

Not sure how many of you have seen this, but it does a nice job of explaining the city/private partnership that is taking shape on Riverside.  I like the idea of the performance space and can see this becoming an extension of RAM on Saturdays as well as weeknight performances for Riverside and Downtown folks.  I'm hoping with the recent release of this video, that groundbreaking will occur shortly.

Now all we need is a residential component, hopefully an apartment/condo mix, to this area and we will have the beginning of a true mixed use neighborhood.  I would move to this area in a heartbeat.

thelakelander

July 25, 2009, 09:17:53 AM
Great video and nice find.  Due to the market, the residential component has been replaced by the 150 room Courtyard by Marriott Hotel.  If they can pull it off, this will be a significant boost for Brooklyn.  However, I do think it is a stretch to call this a TOD, because the Riverside PCT will make a stop there.  This development is clearly not shaped around or dependent on mass transit to ensure its success.

brainstormer

July 25, 2009, 09:49:58 AM
Lake, I laughed at the exact same part in the video.  :D  By the definition of TOD, I'm pretty sure it refers to fixed mass transit such as skyway, streetcars, commuter rail.  Correct?  Aside from the TOD thing, I thought the video was well done and I'm hoping they can land another national or local business to fill office space.

I think the addition of a quality hotel is a great thing for the area.  I'm sure it will see frequent use from the surrounding businesses (St. Joe Company, Everbank, BCBS, Fidelity National, Haskell, etc.).  The hotel can probably partner with the YMCA to add to its guest amenities.  I'm actually surprised the restaurant isn't in one of the first two phases because I think it is a fantastic spot for a restaurant and would be frequented by not only the hotel guests, but also the hundreds of office workers in the area.  This development will hopefully help fill the retail in the Everbank building.  I can just picture people walking from RAM on Saturdays down this stretch to hear live music at Unity Plaza, as well as hotel guests walking to RAM.  It will put people on the sidewalks!!!

Despite all of the positive, I'm still wishing for...
1.  A skyway extension to be worked into the development.  Couldn't the extension go behind the buildings along Magnolia Street and then end at BCBS?  Getting it closer to RAM and the office buildings would be so worth it and it would not disrupt the view Hallmark wants from the street.  It would also help their TOD argument a bit.  ;D
2.  A re-use of the old fire station.  I wish someone could come to an agreement with Fidelity.  It would be perfect for a really cool restaurant or at least a Firehouse Subs!  It's a great location, and I'm sure the development that will infill the parking lot in the future could work it into the design.
3.  A residential component of some sort somewhere in Brooklyn.  There just isn't a nice place to live in this part of town.  I think despite the economy, it would still do well because of its location and wonderful amenities within walking and biking distance.
4.  More grass space in Unity Plaza.  I don't see why some parts of the amphitheater can't be grass as I would rather sit on a blanket covering grass, than on hard pavers.
5.  More building height and less surface parking in the development.  I hate the big paved lot, but at least it is not facing the street.  I would have liked to see some underground parking for the buildings or a small parking garage.  I guess the open lot could allow development in the future, but I just think it is smart to build underground parking now, and isn't "green" parking included with LEED certification?

tufsu1

July 25, 2009, 11:15:54 AM
The video doesn't say the project is a Transit Oriented Development....it says it is a TRANSPORTATION oriented development, which seems fair to me.

I recently learned new terminology that I like much better than TOD....its called Mobility Oriented Design/Development, or MOD....the idea is that a project or area provides various mobility options....and since all transit riders are pedestrians (or cyclists) first, this is an importat concept.

Thinking about 200 Riverside...it has good highway access, wide sidewalks (and the riverwalk) for pedestrians, bike lanes on Riverside Avenue, and transit connections via the trolley and eventually maybe the Skyway....as long as the connectivity of the overall area is good, this would definitely qualify as an MOD.

thelakelander

July 25, 2009, 01:22:51 PM
An MOD sounds a lot better and the description fits the project.

thelakelander

July 25, 2009, 01:25:00 PM
Brainstormer, I'll have to go back and look at the drawings, but I thought the lot was actually a parking garage hidden from the street by the buildings.

GatorShane

July 25, 2009, 03:06:22 PM
Very cool video. I love the water wall concept. Lets hope this gets doon soon.

Charles Hunter

July 25, 2009, 03:23:57 PM
Nicely done video, hope they can start turning dirt soon.

fsujax

July 27, 2009, 08:06:50 AM
Nice video. But, I doubt this thing will ever break ground. Maybe when and if it ever does, there will be a real streetcar, then you call it whatever makes you happy, MOD, TOD, TAD, TAJ..........

Bewler

July 27, 2009, 11:02:51 AM
Well at least something is happening (hopefully) with this area.



man...........i was hoping for a wal-mart.

Or maybe a parking lot/garage?
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