Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel

October 30, 2009 136 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

The Ambassador Hotel originally opened in 1924 as 310 West Church Street Apartments, the first upscale apartments in downtown Jacksonville. Then, in 1944, it was converted into a hotel and renamed Three-Ten Hotel.

Over the next decade the building did not change much besides the many short lived names adorning the front and side. Only 3 years later, in 1947, the Three-Ten Hotel was renamed yet again to Hotel Southland only to be changed again in 1949 to The Griner and finally The Ambassador Hotel in 1955.

This six story brick and limestone Georgian Revival style building was built in an H pattern which gives every room a large window view while still being able to house about 110 residents.

In 1983 it was added to the National Register of Historic Buildings but it was still headed down an ugly path of dilapidation, with code enforcement on the owners back and multiple drug busts and raids scarring its name. In 1997 the residents received notice that the building no longer complied with code and that it would have to be fixed in order to remain open. Every single room has a sticker with the date of condemnation on it and the still legible ones read 7-11-97 and 11-13-97.

In 1998 the entire building was condemned and closed up. Residents and police said most of the people living in the Ambassador came from homes that were condemned or demolished in the adjacent LaVilla neighborhood as part of a revitalization project. Some of those homes were condemned following similar raids by a hit team of police and city officials, who seek to close drug houses. Florida Times Union - June 13, 1997

In 2005 plans had been announced to remodel The Ambassador hotel but were put on hold along with the nearby courthouse plans.

In 2009 plans were released to change the hotel into The Ambassador Lofts which would consist of 50 apartments and some retail space. The plans estimate an $8 million dollar price tag, half of which the prospective owner can acquire and the rest he is hoping for city or government help with in the form of grants and low interest loans. Right now he remains hopeful that the project could start within two months and be completed in only a year.

Let's take a look inside this abandoned 83 year old downtown landmark.

Photos by YourMainParadox