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Remembering The Hotel Robert Meyer

Metro Jacksonville takes a look at what was Florida's largest commercial hotel at the time of its opening on March 22, 1959: The Hotel Robert Meyer.

Published December 24, 2010 in History      68 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

Grand Beginnings


Under construction in 1958.

The Robert Meyer Hotel was the brainchild of owner Jack Meyer of Alabama, a former World War II Flying Tigers squadron pilot.  The hotel was named for Meyer's father and brother, who both happened to be named Robert.

Standing 21 stories, the Robert Meyer Hotel was designed by New York Architect William B. Tabler Sr (1914 - 2004).  During his career, Tabler designed more than 400 hotels, including New York's 46-story slablike New York Hilton at Rockefeller Center.



Breaking ground on July 9, 1957, the hotel's early days recieved much fanfare, including a 'topping out party' that was covered by the Wall Street Journal.  Rising 215', it was the first hotel to be constructed in Jacksonville in 32 years and Florida's largest hotel at the time of its grand opening on March 22, 1959.

The $6 million tower was said to have everything including a block long marble lobby & tropical garden, jewelry store, roof-top pool, cabana-deck, three restaurants, a cocktail lounge and a two level, 190 space underground parking garage.  It was also the home of the Windsor Room, a space that would become the "great hall of Jacksonville's civic leaders" for over two decades.  Home to 160 employees, the hotel's 563 guest rooms didn't begin until the fifth floor, the same level as the roof-top pool.


A postcard showing the Robert Meyer's roof-top pool.

The hotel's main restaurant, Cafe Carib featured mosaic panels by noted Japanese artist Tetsuyu Kohchi and its Bali Hai Lounge was the home of a grand mural by famed artist Charles Cobelle (1902-1994).

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Born in Alsace - Lorraine France in 1902, Charles Cobelle (born Carl Edelman) lived and painted in Paris until the late 1920’s when he moved to the United States.

Cobelle took his Bachelor's and his Master's degrees from the University of Munich and later studied at the L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He also studied privately with Marc Chagall and apprenticed in the studio of Raul Dufy in Menton on the Riviera.

In the time before he moved to the United States, Cobelle had established himself as an artistic force in Europe and today is considered the last link to the great tradition of the Open Line School of Paris.

Cobelle had already become a U.S. citizen before the outbreak of World War II. In the United States his paintings were immediately sought after by galleries and private collectors alike. Throughout his long and prosperous career, Cobelle painted his favorite subjects; Paris street scenes, race tracks, ragattas and casinos.

In addition to his mixed media paintings his work has graced the covers of many of this countries leading magazines and his murals have adorned the walls of many elegant residences, public buildings, fine hotels and restaurants.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Cobelle


Hotel Lobby (Source: Jacksonville Public Library Special Collections Department)


Cafe Cribe (Source: Jacksonville Public Library Special Collections Department)


Hotel Ballroom (Source: Jacksonville Public Library Special Collections Department)



Failed Expectations



Quote
The hotel opened Jacksonville to the lucrative convention trade and gave the city exposure to state and regional groups who held annual meetings.

''It afforded an opportunity to bring a lot of conventions here that had never been able to come here before for lack of lodging,'' Corey said.

But the convention bonanza never materialized. Despite the early fanfare, the hotel soon began a downhill financial slide and closed in bankruptcy in 1977. In 1980, a group of Jacksonville investors that included developer Preston Haskell purchased the hotel and spent $10 million on improvements. They reopened it as the Holiday Inn City Center. But by 1982, the building was closed again due to lack of business.
http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/021598/1a1histo.html



The 387 room Holiday Inn City Center opened on April 7, 1980.  The complex included Old Orleans (a gourmet restaurant), The Big Apple Lounge, Palm Beach Cafe, a 1,000 person capacity ballroom and meeting rooms.  The 11 meeting rooms were named after U.S. cities such as Boston, San Francisco and Denver.  When it shut down two years later on July 7, 1982, 150 employees were laid off and $200,801 in annual tax revenue was lost.


The End



Quote
Francis Callahan of Madison, Wis., got into town Friday night to visit two daughters and didn't know about the implosion.

''Fantastic,'' said Callahan, 51. ''It's the first time I've seen one in real life. Boom. It was gone. It was just a rush. This is a good way to start off a week's vacation. It's going to be one helluva week.''
http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/022198/met_implode.html


Source: Jacksonville Public Library Special Collections Department


The Federal Courthouse occupies the site of the former Robert Meyer Hotel today.

After 16 years of abandonment, the Robert Meyer Hotel was imploded in front of 2,000 spectators to make way for the Judge Bryan Simpson Federal Courthouse.

Article by Ennis Davis









68 Comments

Noone

December 24, 2010, 03:23:55 AM
Another piece of Jacksonville history that I didn't know but I do now. Thank you for sharing it.

Dog Walker

December 24, 2010, 08:07:41 AM
Ed Ball, of DuPont Trust, St. Joe Paper Co., Florida National Bank, and Florida East Coast Railroad fame, lived in a suite on the top floor of the Robert Myer for years.

We watched the implosion with friends.  A first for us too.

sheclown

December 24, 2010, 08:12:50 AM
great article.

spuwho

December 24, 2010, 10:39:51 AM
The hotel opened Jacksonville to the lucrative convention trade and gave the city exposure to state and regional groups who held annual meetings.

''It afforded an opportunity to bring a lot of conventions here that had never been able to come here before for lack of lodging,'' Corey said.

But the convention bonanza never materialized. Despite the early fanfare, the hotel soon began a downhill financial slide and closed in bankruptcy in 1977. In 1980, a group of Jacksonville investors that included developer Preston Haskell purchased the hotel and spent $10 million on improvements. They reopened it as the Holiday Inn City Center. But by 1982, the building was closed again due to lack of business.


If they didn't come in the 23 year existence of this hotel, why do we think they would come now?

Why would someone hold a convention in Jacksonville, when one of the largest convention and tourism centers of the US is only 2.5 hours away?

It was a very nice hotel for its time, but it came when greater Jax was on its post WWII decline.

thelakelander

December 24, 2010, 10:44:31 AM
Smaller groups already hold conventions, trade shows and events in Jacksonville.  Instead of worrying about competing with Orlando for mega events that won't come here anyway, my take on the convention issue is to better place and utilize what we already have.  This view is pretty similar to the idea of better exposing existing retail and restaurants already operating downtown with the streets adjacent to them instead of worrying about how to get Publix, Whole Foods or Macy's there.

As for the Robert Meyer, it appears it died with everything else in downtown during the 70s/80s period of decline.

Ocklawaha

December 24, 2010, 10:46:52 AM
It was truly the last of the great hotel-tourist era in Jacksonville, I think it presided over the change from a one-time tourist mecca to a business and finance center. Don't know how many times I was in that place, it was beautiful inside. At least when it came down something else just as imposing and perhaps more attractive went up in it's place... THE way to do it.

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If they didn't come in the 23 year existence of this hotel, why do we think they would come now?

Why would someone hold a convention in Jacksonville, when one of the largest convention and tourism centers of the US is only 2.5 hours away?

It was a very nice hotel for its time, but it came when greater Jax was on its post WWII decline.


REALLY? In case you haven't noticed we live in Jacksonville F L O R I D A ! AND Florida is reason number one to come here. When you've gone to Disney 3,295 times you and your company are ready for a change of
scenery. Why did the American Railroads and Maritime interests hold their recent summit in AMELIA ISLAND? After all its just Fernandina right? Did you know we are one of the greatest outdoor recreation cities in the WORLD? With both rivers and beaches its a killer combination. Pristine pine woods and the oldest European settlement in North America would round out the attraction but it doesn't... there's more... Did you know we have more state and national parks, monuments or recreation areas then ANY other city? Reason enough - we just have to have the capacity to handle the crowds and make it inviting.


OCKLAWAHA

spuwho

December 24, 2010, 11:52:43 AM
Reason enough - we just have to have the capacity to handle the crowds and make it inviting.

There in lies the rub. We aren't inviting.

When I travel, no one knows about Jacksonville as a destination in Florida for anything. I got a call last week to meet someone in Fort Lauderdale next year. They commented, "oh you are just a couple hours away". My response, is "no, I am not". It is just one example of how unrecognizable the First Coast is.

Thinking Jacksonville is like Tampa, Orlando and Miami is like saying Northern California is like Los Angeles and San Diego. They aren't the same even though they are in the same state. 

I agree with Ock on the distinctions of the area, but it has to be appealing and it has to be known outside of the southeast.  Even when I lived in Seattle, I saw commercials for Greater Orlando and Miami by print or by broadcast media. I have even seen ads for Amelia Island Plantation when I was in Salt Lake City.

Do we want to fill rooms by tourism? by business? by sports? by military? a little by all, a lot by one?

If the Robert Meyer were built at the beach, would it still be there today? Why would a tourist stay in a downtown hotel in Jacksonville?

I think the questions about the Robert Meyer still exist today.



finehoe

December 24, 2010, 01:16:37 PM
Why would a tourist stay in a downtown hotel in Jacksonville?

They used to: 

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-jul-lost-jacksonville-downtown-hotels-the-grande-dames

Surely it's possible to make them want to again.

stephendare

December 24, 2010, 01:26:34 PM
Why would a tourist stay in a downtown hotel in Jacksonville?

They used to: 

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-jul-lost-jacksonville-downtown-hotels-the-grande-dames

Surely it's possible to make them want to again.

Surely it is.

We have everything necessary to make Jacksonville the most preeminent city of the South.  That is, except for leadership.

I-10east

December 24, 2010, 02:19:56 PM
I'm surprised that they didn't consider converting the RMH/HICC into apartments. RMH seemed like it was on par with a building like Tower Place, or the Cathedral Complex Towers. I came to Jax in 86' and never saw that hotel open. That hotel's demolition is featured on the intro of the Discovery Channel show "Detonators".

spuwho

December 24, 2010, 03:01:23 PM
Why would a tourist stay in a downtown hotel in Jacksonville?

They used to: 

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-jul-lost-jacksonville-downtown-hotels-the-grande-dames

Surely it's possible to make them want to again.

Surely it is.

We have everything necessary to make Jacksonville the most preeminent city of the South.  That is, except for leadership.

I agree with Stephen, but the "Grande Dames" of Jacksonville were based on a completely different set of economics, demographics and transportation methods.

While it is good to look back at times to not repeat mistakes, Jacksonville needs to stop looking back at what it "was" and start deciding on what it wants to be and deliver on it.

So far I have seen a lot of ideas, a lot of vision, a lot of concepts.  Make a decision and do it better than anyone else.

If Hilton dropped in today and said "we want to build a 15 story luxury hotel in central Jacksonville", what would we say? Would we question it? Would we want to justify it for planning purposes? Would we just say, yes?

Or would we learn from the Robert Meyer?

stephendare

December 24, 2010, 03:06:02 PM
To be honest, Spuwho, I think thats exactly what Haydon Burns tried to do when he eradicated the maritime riverfront of the downtown, and decided instead to pursue corporate insurance and towers as a financial base of the city.

In the process, however, I think he made a vital mistake that has crippled the downtown ever since.

There is a natural kind of a development that follows a mildly tropical city on a river at a railroad crossing.  

When we tore up the foundation of that development, we doomed the downtown.

When the geography and the logistics hands you something as simple as the way our downtown prospered (a pleasant junction serving freight and passengers that turned logically into a trade center and entertainment provider) as they made connections between modes of transportation, I think its foolish not to take advantage of it.

stephendare

December 24, 2010, 03:23:09 PM


This is what our riverfront downtown was like a hundred years ago.  The problem with the architect/attorney led plans of the last half of the 20th century is that they never took into account the idea of a sustainable economy in their redevelopment plans.

Ocklawaha

December 24, 2010, 03:48:59 PM
Reason enough - we just have to have the capacity to handle the crowds and make it inviting.

There in lies the rub. We aren't inviting.

Thinking Jacksonville is like Tampa, Orlando and Miami is like saying Northern California is like Los Angeles and San Diego. They aren't the same even though they are in the same state.

No actually for a nature loving old hippie, Northern California has about 10,000 more reasons for me to visit then the smog choked concrete jungle of LA or SD. Stephen? How about you? I'm sure there are lots of us out there that would love to stand in the surf at Talbot Island, the millions that visit Lookout Mountain and Gettysburg are the same people that would swarm over the Kingsley Plantation, Olustee, Yellow Bluff and Pumpkin Hill. We have a market and its huge, just for tourists alone. From the looks of things, we don't do bad as it is... compare these with Omaha, Amarillo or Madision.

http://www.travelmuse.com/destinations/US/FL/031/00-duval-county/_attractions

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Visit Jacksonville reports $1.5 billion tourism impact

05/11/2010

 Visit Jacksonville reported Monday that in the midst of a recession and high unemployment, Duval County attracted 2.6 million overnight visitors in 2009, generating an economic impact of $1.5 billion.

The second annual Jacksonville Value of Tourism study focused on the economic impact and profile of the typical overnight Jacksonville visitor. The organization used Tampa-based Research Data Services Inc. for the year-long survey.

Overnight visitors, defined as those staying in commercial lodging, such as hotels, and those staying with friends and relatives, were responsible for $893.5 million in direct spending within the destination last year.

The combination of direct and indirect spending contributed to $1.5 billion in visitor spending at restaurants, attractions and activities, rental cars, park fees and related spending.

This spending supported 42,900 jobs in the county, or nearly 11 percent of the local workforce, and almost $67 million in total sales and local option tax revenues last year, the survey found.

Visit Jacksonville said that because of contributions to local taxes, visitors saved each Duval County household an estimated $173 in taxes for 2009.

“The downturn in the economy has significantly affected all industries and Jacksonville’s tourism industry has not been immune. While visits and visitor spending were down slightly from 2008 by approximately 6 percent, the reality is that many destinations have fared worse and we anticipated a larger decrease based on national trends,” said Mya Carter, Visit Jacksonville interim president and CEO.

She said Jacksonville’s tourism industry is poised for rebound and growth in 2010.

Hotels have already seen signs of regaining strength in 2010, with occupancy above 60 percent in both February and March, the first time since October 2008.

Visit Jacksonville provided a profile for a typical overnight visitor to Jacksonville in 2009:

• Average visitor age was 49 years old.

• The median annual household income was nearly $106,200.

• Eighty-three percent of travelers were in town for vacation or events or visiting friends or relatives, while 23 percent of visitors were in town for business purposes. The numbers exceed 100 percent because some visitors were here for both.

• The majority of visitors to the destination (36 percent) came from within the Southeast U.S. (other than Florida), followed by instate visitors (26 percent).

• The top five market cities with the largest number of visitors to the area were, in order, Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa/St. Petersburg, New York and Miami/Fort Lauderdale.

• Jacksonville visitors had a 92 percent satisfaction rate with the destination.

• Perceived as “excellent” were friendliness of residents; level of service; value for the dollar.

Quote
I agree with Ock on the distinctions of the area, but it has to be appealing and it has to be known outside of the southeast.  Even when I lived in Seattle, I saw commercials for Greater Orlando and Miami by print or by broadcast media. I have even seen ads for Amelia Island Plantation when I was in Salt Lake City.

I think you might agree but probably didn't know the extent of our local tourism dollars, but hey, we're a full service digital magazine.

Quote
Do we want to fill rooms by tourism? by business? by sports? by military? a little by all, a lot by one?

Really no matter how you cut it, we are a VERY BIG CITY, well within America's TOP 50 cities and larger in population then the entire states of:


Quote

41. Maine --- 1,328,361

42. New Hampshire --- 1,316,470

43. Rhode Island --- 1,052,567

44. Montana --- 989,415

45. Delaware --- 897,934

46. South Dakota --- 814,180

47. Alaska --- 710,231

48. North Dakota --- 672,591

49. Vermont --- 625,741

50. District of Columbia --- 601,723

51. Wyoming --- 563,626

Quote
If the Robert Meyer were built at the beach, would it still be there today? Why would a tourist stay in a downtown hotel in Jacksonville?


The "Sea Turtle Inn" aka ONE OCEAN RESORT seems to be doing well, if large old hotels were doomed it would have gone down long ago. Downtown? Downtown is actually fun to visit and comes across as a pretty cosmopolitan place thanks to our major hotels and the Landing. The folks from Phoenix can't get over a river taxi, hell they can't get over a river... well, they can't even get over WATER! When I visited JAX a few years back I'd stay in the Omni, and have to tell you it was either excellent or Juliette's Bistro and Lounge was making really stiff drinks. Even the Skyway dazzles visitors... since about 8 in 10 American's are still waiting for "the train of the future when the country will be crossed by monorail," we're way ahead of them. (BTW IT WON'T)


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I think the questions about the Robert Meyer still exist today.

Questions about business viability will always be with us, change is eternal. Just ask Des Moines, what they think of Jacksonville in January. Des Moines, the place that sells itself as the cheap convention capital and still has a center 2.5 x ours.


OCKLAWAHA

YellowBluffRoad

December 24, 2010, 04:12:29 PM
I stayed at the HICC one night in high school for a regional school conference. As a long time Jacksonville resident that stay was the first time I'd seen a great view of downtown from downtown, and I still remember how interesting it was to see the city from that perspective. I can see why Ed Ball would have taken the top floor.

Unfortunately, other than the view (and I don't know how interesting a non-local would have found it), from an occupant's perspective the HICC seemed pretty milquetoast by that time.The room quality by then didn't seem to live up to the grace the structure itself had.  It seemed a shame, but not surprising at the time, that it couldn't keep the occupancy numbers needed to stay in business. I didn't know anything about its pre-HICC history until today, thanks for the rest of the story.

stjr

December 24, 2010, 07:04:00 PM
I celebrated a New Year's Eve there when it was the Holiday Inn.  Restaurant was white table cloth, not like a typical Holiday Inn.  I thought Holiday Inn was the wrong flag for that hotel and was surprised the investors chose it.  They should have gone with Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton, or other brand whose image catered to professional and business executive travelers more, not interstate traveling families.

I also remember attending events in the Robert Meyer ballroom.  It was the biggest hotel function space in town holding, as I recall, up to 500 for dinner.  Seems to me the RM inherited the legacy of the George Washington for hosting the main events of the day.

I think it died mostly due to the death of downtown than anything to do with the hotel.  If we want downtown hotels to thrive, we need a vibrant downtown first.  The hotels will be happy to follow.  Not the other way around.  Unfortunately, I don't see the momentum for this to happen presently.  As stated many times, lack of vision, a consistently executed plan, and leadership.

stephendare

December 24, 2010, 07:09:54 PM
I celebrated a New Year's Eve there when it was the Holiday Inn.  Restaurant was white table cloth, not like a typical Holiday Inn.  I thought Holiday Inn was the wrong flag for that hotel and was surprised the investors chose it.  They should have gone with Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton, or other brand whose image catered to professional and business executive travelers more, not interstate traveling families.

I also remember attending events in the Robert Meyer ballroom.  It was the biggest hotel function space in town holding, as I recall, up to 500 for dinner.  Seems to me the RM inherited the legacy of the George Washington for hosting the main events of the day.

I think it died mostly due to the death of downtown than anything to do with the hotel.  If we want downtown hotels to thrive, we need a vibrant downtown first.  The hotels will be happy to follow.  Not the other way around.  Unfortunately, I don't see the momentum for this to happen presently.  As stated many times, lack of vision, a consistently executed plan, and leadership.


Within five years of closing the wharves, the hotels began to close.  There were no more easy connections to the Steam Ships.  With no steamships, the passenger rail lines also began to close down.  Ed Ball accelerated the process when he declared a shooting war on his own railroad union for the Florida East Coast, and the passenger rail from Jax to Miami literally got too dangerous when the tracks were being bombed and Ball's men were shooting at people during transport.

When Amtrak moved the rail station out of downtown, within two years the two remaining hotels were closed and the demolitions began.

I-10east

December 24, 2010, 10:20:39 PM
To be honest, Spuwho, I think thats exactly what Haydon Burns tried to do when he eradicated the maritime riverfront of the downtown, and decided instead to pursue corporate insurance and towers as a financial base of the city.

I hafta disagree Stephen. IMO the days of the maritime riverfront piers is of a bygone era; Look at with they are shipping out (on that pic) for gawdsakes, barrels of rum. LOL. IMO Haydons burns made the necessary changes; IMO the financial area of DT Jax is hella more important than a coupla rickety piers that aren't particularly pleasing to the eye. We have plenty of marinas/shipping areas all over the city like the Southbank marina, and Jaxport.

stephendare

December 24, 2010, 10:22:54 PM
To be honest, Spuwho, I think thats exactly what Haydon Burns tried to do when he eradicated the maritime riverfront of the downtown, and decided instead to pursue corporate insurance and towers as a financial base of the city.

I hafta disagree Stephen. IMO the days of the maritime riverfront piers is of a bygone era; Look at with they are shipping out for gawdsakes, barrels of rum. LOL. IMO Haydons burns made the necessary changes; IMO the financial area of DT Jax is hella more important than a coupla rickety piers at aren't particularly pleasing to the eye. We have plenty of marinas/shipping areas all over the city like the Southbank marina, and Jaxport.

not the same thing.

and if he did the right thing, then the downtown would still be vibrant

For the record, those were barrels of Turpentine, not rum.

And a large part of the maritime trade was passenger ships, especially from the north and the carribbean.

stephendare

December 24, 2010, 10:27:12 PM
London's River Thames:  Check out the maritime activity

stephendare

December 24, 2010, 10:30:16 PM
Port Of New York

I-10east

December 24, 2010, 10:32:13 PM
^^^What would you envision the old riverfront piers to be (here in 2010) if it wasn't replaced? Successful places in the US like B-More's Harbor, SF's Fisherman's Wharf, and that Seattle fish market seem far and few between. That's another fetish that MJ seems to have, a urban Fisherman's Wharf here in Jax. LOL

stephendare

December 24, 2010, 10:32:24 PM
Chicago River

stephendare

December 24, 2010, 10:39:49 PM
^^^What would you envision the old riverfront piers to be (here in 2010) if it wasn't replaced? Sucessful places in the US like B-More's Harbor, SF's Fisherman's Wharf, and that Seattle fish market seem far and few between. That's another fetish that MJ seems to have, a urban Fisherman's Wharf here in Jax. LOL

Um, yeah.  Seriously?  You know, the port is still where the bulk of our economic activity takes place, as any knucklehead can plainly see..  Moving that activity completely out of the downtown was a mistake.

The problem is that its been so long since the city was connected to how the money actually works, that people seriously think that this whole 'maritime' thing is like some kind of 'attraction', maybe for the kids to enjoy.

Having lived in both San Francisco and Seattle, I can tell you that it doesnt really work like that.  There are imports and exports that come in through the Sound and the Bay.

This is how our city was built, and how the downtown became a center for the entire region of the united states.  Because there was an economy built around the transfer of three major forms of transportation:  Rail, Maritime and Roads.

This isnt theory, its what happened.

It was like unplugging the power cord.

The Riverfront should have been left open to trade and commerce.  Small cruise ships, barges, small craft.  Leaving the connection open between the national passenger railroads and the cruise ship industry would have also provided a method of development.

Instead, Haydon Burns just literally cemented over the access points to the river in order to provide parking for cars.

There were other alternatives to heavy industrial

I-10east

December 24, 2010, 10:59:01 PM
Okay the financial/business section of the city's DT has to be somewhere, where would you place it at? Expecting them old ports to still be here with thriving activity is like seeing still actively used typewriters, library card catalogs, and washing boards. Totally different era.

stephendare

December 24, 2010, 11:04:53 PM
Okay the financial/business section of the city's DT has to be somewhere, where would you place it at? Expecting them old ports to still be here with thriving activity is like seeing still actively used typewriters, library card catalogs, and washing boards. Totally different era.
What do you think happened to all those 'ports thingys'?

Do you think you can pick them up at antique stores, and every now and then a real collector might want to buy one from you?

And what do you suppose happened to all those typewriters, libraries and washing devices?  Did they all just rust up and stop working?

Or does everyone in America know how to type these days because without computers and texting, basically there is no sex anymore?

Did we stop washing clothes?

Or did they evolve?

Also, Im curious to know whether or not youve heard of Passenger ships?

have you?

Haydon Burns and three generations of people thought like you do.  The result?:  A completely failed downtown.  Perhaps an historically failed downtown.  Jacksonville may actually be the worst failure of an urban core in this or any western country.

What happened to all those corporate skyscrapers?

with the internet, who needs them anymore?

I-10east

December 24, 2010, 11:20:45 PM
Oops, I forgot I'm on MJ and everything has to be DT if not it spells failure; Even though we have a cruise terminal out Heckscher, and are getting one out Mayport screw that! because it's all about downtown. Because everybody knows that some people getting off and on a ship (who just wanna go home anyway) is more important than the city's financial district! Yeah crazy egg-noggy me!! Try to be a lil' less condescending.

stephendare

December 24, 2010, 11:27:02 PM
Opps, I forgot I'm on MJ and everything has to be DT if not it spells failure; Even though we have a cruise terminal out Heckscher, and are getting one out Mayport screw that! because it's all about downtown. Because everybody knows that some people getting off and on a ship (who just wanna go home anyway) is more important than the city's financial district! Yeah crazy egg-noggy me!! Try to be a lil' less condescending.

Seriously?

How does stupidly cutting off the maritime part of downtown's economy in the 50s connect to a cruise terminal in mayport?

However, since you asked, there was already a cruise terminal in mayport and it was just as busy as our downtown was.

They worked together.

What made the downtown into a powerhouse is because it concentrated passenger rail, passenger steamships and both rail and maritime freight into one location.

And to be frank, its an economic model that we would be well advised to return to.

I-10east

December 24, 2010, 11:52:56 PM
Okay Stephen, obviously the Landing would not be built if you had your way. Basically what you're saying funnel people though DT in various modes of transit/boats. What about retail/shopping etc? IMO funneling a whole buncha people into DT doesn't automatically equals having a successful DT. It's easy to play "Monday morning QB" when you're dealing with so many eras of change, esp. the dreadfully 70's era of DT's all across America. How many US cities have DT cruise terminals? I can't think of none, maybe Miami?

spuwho

December 25, 2010, 12:36:19 AM
Okay Stephen, obviously the Landing would not be built if you had your way. Basically what you're saying funnel people though DT in various modes of transit/boats. What about retail/shopping etc? IMO funneling a whole buncha people into DT doesn't automatically equals having a successful DT. It's easy to play "Monday morning QB" when you're dealing with so many eras of change, esp. the dreadfully 70's era of DT's all across America. How many US cities have DT cruise terminals? I can't think of none, maybe Miami?

I think what Stephen is emphasizing here is that Jacksonville was economically vibrant when several transportation forms converged on the DT district.  However due to the disruption of transportation patterns set out over the past 80-100 years (marine/rail) to a new one (air/car) after WWII, the downtown lost much of the people who frequented, even if they were just "passing through". This in turn caused a huge loss of hotel volume in the central business district. The domino effect took several years to occur, but it is plain to see.

By placing a re-emphasis on driving primary transportation tools through the DT, you can establish new patterns of business that can build up around them. If I understand Stephen correctly, since some of the infrastructure that supported this has been removed, it is difficult to get those patterns re-established.

Dog Walker

December 25, 2010, 08:44:20 AM
Stephen, I think that changing maritime technology had more to do with the removal of shipping from downtown than anything else.  Containerization of freight killed the demand for warehouses and the larger ships and equipment required for containers didn't fit downtown.  So freight activities moved first to Tallyrand and then to Blount Island.

My (future) father-in-law had his food brokerage business in the Weisenfeld Warehouse complex which was located about where the CSX building is now.  It was a fascinating world of small ships and barges being loaded and unloaded by stevedores with hand carts moving stuff between the water, the warehouse and boxcars.  I count myself lucky to have seen that world before it vanished.

By the time the wharves and warehouses were torn down, they were deserted and crumbling.  Making them into parking lots was stupid though and replacing them with marinas and passenger terminals would have been far better than turning our downtown back on the river activities.

stephendare

December 25, 2010, 09:06:07 AM
Okay Stephen, obviously the Landing would not be built if you had your way. Basically what you're saying funnel people though DT in various modes of transit/boats. What about retail/shopping etc? IMO funneling a whole buncha people into DT doesn't automatically equals having a successful DT. It's easy to play "Monday morning QB" when you're dealing with so many eras of change, esp. the dreadfully 70's era of DT's all across America. How many US cities have DT cruise terminals? I can't think of none, maybe Miami?

I think what Stephen is emphasizing here is that Jacksonville was economically vibrant when several transportation forms converged on the DT district.  However due to the disruption of transportation patterns set out over the past 80-100 years (marine/rail) to a new one (air/car) after WWII, the downtown lost much of the people who frequented, even if they were just "passing through". This in turn caused a huge loss of hotel volume in the central business district. The domino effect took several years to occur, but it is plain to see.

By placing a re-emphasis on driving primary transportation tools through the DT, you can establish new patterns of business that can build up around them. If I understand Stephen correctly, since some of the infrastructure that supported this has been removed, it is difficult to get those patterns re-established.



my god, Im experiencing something akin to actual love right now.  Yes. Spuwho.  exactly.

stephendare

December 25, 2010, 10:02:55 AM
Stephen, I think that changing maritime technology had more to do with the removal of shipping from downtown than anything else.  Containerization of freight killed the demand for warehouses and the larger ships and equipment required for containers didn't fit downtown.  So freight activities moved first to Tallyrand and then to Blount Island.

My (future) father-in-law had his food brokerage business in the Weisenfeld Warehouse complex which was located about where the CSX building is now.  It was a fascinating world of small ships and barges being loaded and unloaded by stevedores with hand carts moving stuff between the water, the warehouse and boxcars.  I count myself lucky to have seen that world before it vanished.

By the time the wharves and warehouses were torn down, they were deserted and crumbling.  Making them into parking lots was stupid though and replacing them with marinas and passenger terminals would have been far better than turning our downtown back on the river activities.

Yes, DW.  There is no doubt that containerization revolutionized the space and technology needs of shipping, especially heavy freight..  However, this is only part of the trade brought by water. When Burns acted, he acted precipitously without regarding the effects that the changes would have on the economy of downtown.

Sure.  He reasoned that he could displace the economic activity of the wharves with a new kind of economic wealth: Corporate Towers and investment, so one has to give him a certain amount of respect for thinking that part through, but it was a gamble that paid off for a couple of decades, (somewhat..)and then was lost the minute that computers started radically downsizing the need for space and labor for corporate behemoths.

And he didnt dream that the Retail and Shopping environment would ever desert the downtown and set up in decentralized intense clusters around the periphery.

But there were other considerations which at the time led us down a certain pathway.

For example, why didnt Burns pursue skyscrapers and corporate relocations, add the same parking but at the same time, build out Marinas, light industrial wharves (we still had the Shipyards downtown, keep in mind) fishing piers and docks?

Well there were social reasons that to our present day viewpoints seem a bit stupid.

1. Many of the men of this time considered the maritime activity to be blight. While you had truly visionary men, like Ash Verlander and Alexander Brest during the Haydon Burns Era, you also had the Porkchop gang centered in our downtown.  They had little use for the foreign nationals, who the often described as 'swarthy men' in the local press and the libertine influences of port life. They didnt like all the sailors who came to downtown, even if they did bring all that money and all those upperclass people with them. Viewpoints towards drinking, partying and the like began to harden for the first time in Jacksonville's history.

     a.  For this reason, the Haydon Burns Era of the time was considered a 'redevelopment' era of downtown, bringing an end to the long felt effects of the Great Depression.  To deal with the 'blight', instead of rebuilding/remodelling or repairing the maritime infrastructure, he simply bulldozed it and moved most of the city buildings to the Riverfront.  The City Hall, the Courthouse, the Civic Auditorium, the vast municipal parking lots.  As the City abandoned buildings, the tore them down and built new municipal structures: The Haydon Burns Library replaced the city hall and the old courthouse was torn down.  This had two effects:

          1. Removing Maritime trade, permanently from the riverfront itself----with the exception of the ShipYards.
          2. Completely removing all the retail or commercial trade on the property adjacent to the riverfront.  Where there had been wharves and docks, backed up by warehouses and retail, now there was a concrete balustrade backed up by a strip of tax exempt municipal edifices.

Burns did try to make the downtown more car friendly  For example, he established a long riverside drive on the northbank, complete with lights an trees, and out door amenities  And he built four gigantic parking lots out over the river.  But he did it at the expense of closing off downtown to a more important kind of commercial transport: maritime.

2.  The Passenger rail was problematic for Ed Ball.  He would later declare an actual shooting war with his own union and the track dynamiting and gun cars and violence that broke out 9 years later were already being felt at the time of the paving.  Notice that the other Rail giant in town, CSX had no such problems in investing in the downtown (and indeed in the Daily Newspaper).  In fact they built their headquarters right on the river in the spirit of the times, and went on directing their business through all the same environments as the radical Mr. Ball.  They upgraded their tracks, they installed computers, they modernized their cars, their equipment, their methods, their labor practices.  In short they acted responsibly to their business needs and to their industry.  As a result, 50 years after the fact, the company is one of the most respected companies in the business, and in terms of downtown Jacksonville, is literally the last gasp of the urban core.  If CSX left, the downtown could be considered to have collapsed completely (and historically)

So it wasnt really that 'rail' was the problem, although men like Ed Ball all over the country pushed the envelope against passenger rail, making it more and more expensive and less and less reliable.  Freight was more profitable than passenger, and there was one dramatic difference: the expenses.  Especially the labor expenses (in Ball's mind).  And you have to take into consideration that the Passenger rail service unions were heavily African American, and how that would have landed on a man like Ball, who funded the PorkChop gang activities with a special eye towards preventing black people from gaining Civil Rights.

Passenger Rail service from Jacksonville to Miami had been especially profitable.  That is until the shooting war began.

Keep in mind that the Florida of the time was not the same state as the Florida of today.  There was no Interstate 95 back then.  US1 was one lane most of the way through South Florida, and to be frank it wasnt that great of a road.

When Passenger rail was finally driven to near extinction and only the most determined people could actually go to the handful of cities that were serviced, it ignited a several trillion dollar road and highway expansion trope that has dominated our state budgets and driven development ever since.

But in terms of how this affected downtown Jacksonville.  It is incorrect to look back and say that the loss of the two types of transport were inevitable, because they werent.  And their shutdowns helped to precipitate the rise of concrete, and the resulting zoning driven, sprawl based development patterns.

thelakelander

December 25, 2010, 10:07:59 AM
How many US cities have DT cruise terminals? I can't think of none, maybe Miami?

Tampa, New Orleans, Mobile, Galveston, San Diego, Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington, Norfolk are a couple of more off the top of my head that have DT crusie terminals.  I would be suprised if most waterfront cities with cruise ports don't have them in or near DT.

As for what Stephen is saying, I do agree that we should look at better utilizing our natural and physical assets in DT.  What we've done with downtown the last few decades is like giving a 7 footer a limbo dance pole instead of a basketball.

Dog Walker

December 25, 2010, 11:28:01 AM
Bringing passenger rail back to Jacksonville at the Jacksonville Terminal with service to Miami down FEC tracks and service restored to New Orleans and further West would do more to revive downtown than just about any other development.

We still have the opportunity at the Shipyards site to establish a protected municipal marina that can attract Intracoastal Waterway travelers to downtown.  Both Elizabeth City and Oriental N.C. and St. Mary's, GA, St. Augustine get significant economic impact from passing boaters and actively try to attract them.  Our current downtown marina in front of the River City Brewing Company is unprotected from the swift currents and is very unfriendly to transient boaters.

Marine publications praise the St. Johns River as a beautiful place to cruise, but lament the lack of facilities especially on the upper St. Johns.  Marina Mile on the Ortega River is just about the only place for a passing boater to go and it is quite far off the River.

stephendare

December 25, 2010, 11:37:15 AM
To be honest, Dog Walker, I believe that strategy to be the only sustainable way forward.  Combined with detoxifying the downtown regulatory environment (parking enforcement, police evacutations etc), and locating a greater educational emphasis on downtown every other strategy seems pointless.

thelakelander

December 25, 2010, 12:06:24 PM
Dogwalker, would the piers of the Shipyards and mouth of Hogans Creek offer refuge if properly developed?

Dog Walker

December 25, 2010, 12:33:48 PM
Yes.  Solid finger piers extending into the river will block the current as long as they are not too far apart.  There are lots of places that have developed protected marinas in high current areas.  It's well established engineering.

Fernandina did it wrong and ended up with a silting problem in their municipal marina.

Marinas are a big part of the attraction of the waterfronts of a number of big cities.  St. Petersburg, Norfolk, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Newport, Annapolis, Boston, New York, just off the top of my head.  San Francisco, Seattle. Galveston.......

I-10east

December 25, 2010, 05:12:38 PM
I look at a waterfront marina as an "attraction" as much as I look at a heavy industrial port like Blount Island as one; Hell, I change my mind I'd be WAY more interested in taking a tour in a heavy industrial place like Jaxport because of the large imposing bridge cranes, and other impressive machinery. A buncha bobbing masts, fish smell, and sea gulls doesn't do it for me.

spuwho

December 25, 2010, 06:27:25 PM
Okay Stephen, obviously the Landing would not be built if you had your way. Basically what you're saying funnel people though DT in various modes of transit/boats. What about retail/shopping etc? IMO funneling a whole buncha people into DT doesn't automatically equals having a successful DT. It's easy to play "Monday morning QB" when you're dealing with so many eras of change, esp. the dreadfully 70's era of DT's all across America. How many US cities have DT cruise terminals? I can't think of none, maybe Miami?

I think what Stephen is emphasizing here is that Jacksonville was economically vibrant when several transportation forms converged on the DT district.  However due to the disruption of transportation patterns set out over the past 80-100 years (marine/rail) to a new one (air/car) after WWII, the downtown lost much of the people who frequented, even if they were just "passing through". This in turn caused a huge loss of hotel volume in the central business district. The domino effect took several years to occur, but it is plain to see.

By placing a re-emphasis on driving primary transportation tools through the DT, you can establish new patterns of business that can build up around them. If I understand Stephen correctly, since some of the infrastructure that supported this has been removed, it is difficult to get those patterns re-established.



my god, Im experiencing something akin to actual love right now.  Yes. Spuwho.  exactly.

It's Christmas after all.

ChriswUfGator

December 25, 2010, 06:33:15 PM
I'm sorry guys but if you look at cities that didn't actively demolish their waterfront industry (a surprising number of cities made this mistake, it wasn't just JAX) the maritime industries evolved within their constraints to serve the modern economy. New York, Boston, SF, SEA, really all of the traditional old cities that didnt go demolition crazy have active waterfronts still today that contribute to their economies. Jacksonville really screwed the pooch on this one.

Charles Hunter

December 25, 2010, 06:49:12 PM
Are any of those other downtowns with active ports as far from the ocean as is downtown Jacksonville?  And have good port locations closer to the ocean than their downtowns, like Jacksonville?  And have bridges restricting access (one as low as 141' - Hart)?

Ocklawaha

December 25, 2010, 06:57:39 PM
Houston, Portland... both WAY UP the river, and Portland is actually on a different river.

OCKLAWAHA

duvaldude08

December 25, 2010, 07:02:28 PM
I also feel like Haydon Burns ERA was the great demise of our DT and it has not been the same since. Instead of preserving the old main library, we should implode it and making into a surface lot in his memory. LOL Its sad, but as someone else stated, we gotta move forward.

Ocklawaha

December 25, 2010, 09:26:12 PM
Okay Stephen, obviously the Landing would not be built if you had your way. Basically what you're saying funnel people though DT in various modes of transit/boats. What about retail/shopping etc? IMO funneling a whole buncha people into DT doesn't automatically equals having a successful DT. It's easy to play "Monday morning QB" when you're dealing with so many eras of change, esp. the dreadfully 70's era of DT's all across America. How many US cities have DT cruise terminals? I can't think of none, maybe Miami?


NORFOLK


LONG BEACH


VANCOUVER

Here you go:

SEATTLE
SAN DIEGO
VANCOUVER
MANHATTAN
NEW YORK CITY SHIP TERMINAL
BALTIMORE
NORFOLK
TAMPA
GALVESTON
MIAMI
MOBILE
GULFPORT
NEW ORLEANS
ANCORAGE
PRINCE RUPERT
SAN FRANCISCO
LONG BEACH
SAN PEDRO
AVALON
EUREKA
HALIFAX
PORTLAND (Atlantic)
KEY WEST
NORFOLK









ALL 3 PHOTOS, THE NEW RENOVATED FACTORY CRUISE TERMINAL PHILADELPHIA

Anyone that loves our old Ford Plant, while not exactly downtown, the 24 acre parcel includes the entire blocks out to Talleyrand, where downtown could be streetcar and Skyway close, and the sports district within walking distance... CHECK OUT PHILADELPHIAS NEW RECYCLED FACTORY CRUISE TERMINAL. The Philly terminal is also not exactly downtown, but close.

OCKLAWAHA

ChriswUfGator

December 25, 2010, 10:09:36 PM
Are any of those other downtowns with active ports as far from the ocean as is downtown Jacksonville?  And have good port locations closer to the ocean than their downtowns, like Jacksonville?  And have bridges restricting access (one as low as 141' - Hart)?

The Hart bridge opened in 1967, after COJ had intentionally destroyed most of our maritime industry downtown. If that industry hadn't already been mostly destroyed by Haydon Burns in the 1950s, our bridges (which came after) would have either included opening spans to accommodate ship traffic, or they would simply have been built with more vertical clearance.

stjr

December 26, 2010, 12:46:39 AM
If we want to talk of killing maritime options for downtown or "near-downtown" (such as Talleyrand/Stadium district), especially cruise ships, consider the short sightedness special interests passed through in building the too low Dames Point bridge and maybe the Hart Bridge.  When we replace the Matthews, it needs to be built to modern height standards.  Some day, when the Hart and Dames Point outlive their usefulness, the errors of our ways should be corrected with higher replacements.  It may take another 50 years to fix this, but that's exactly why we need more forethought and vision in making long term decisions for Jax, not knee jerk, low cost, quick fixes that are politically or special interest motivated.

As to where to go from here, if more transit is a partial cure for what ails downtown, lets get Amtrak back downtown, a first class mass transit connection from downtown to the Airport, mass transit connections using streetcars to surrounding urban neighborhoods, commuter rail to the suburbs, and a bus system that actually works.  Add some St. Johns River cruise boats to Sanford and more intracoastal cruises up and down the east coast of the U.S. Top it off with great pedestrian and bicycle connectivity and we should be on our way.  At some point, ferry's to Orange Park, Arlington, Mayport, Mandarin, Green Cove Springs, and Palatka could join the river taxis.

By the way, much of New York's docks have been removed and the frontage redeveloped with wide expanses of greenways, bike, jogging, and walking paths, and playgrounds and parks with a few historic sites (e.g. the Battery), museums, restaurants, kiosks, and marinas mixed in.  I still say the Shipyards and JEA sites should be ground zero for starting this up in Jax.  The Riverwalk is nice, but it is a narrow thread line compared to the NY waterfront being transformed from its past.


Battery Park Esplanade:



Manhattan Waterfront Greenway Map at:  http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_things_to_do/facilities/af_bike_maps.html


Quote
http://www.nycgovparks.org/facilities/bikeways

Why Greenways?



A greenway is a linear open space, such as a path or trail, which links parks and communities around the City, providing public access to green spaces and the waterfront. Greenways expand recreational opportunities for walking, jogging, biking, and in-line skating.

In 1993, the City of New York had a vision to create 350 miles of landscaped bicycle and pedestrian paths that would crisscross the City's five boroughs and enrich the lives of all New Yorkers. Currently Parks has built over 100 miles of the proposed greenway system. Greenways answer the growing public demand for safe and pleasant ways to travel about the City. These trails allow one to get to work or school, shop or do errands, or to reach the waterfront, parks, beaches, and museums.

Benefits of Greenways

Cyclists, joggers, strollers, skaters, people in wheelchairs or who are mobility-impaired, dog walkers, bird watchers, kids and adults, families and friends, recreational users and commuters—in short, everyone and anyone—gain from the presence and production of greenways. As levels of obesity and diabetes rise among our population, the need to stay fit and healthy has never been more urgent. In order to ensure that no one has to travel too far to use an athletic facility, we are constantly looking to add new properties where parkland previously did not exist and when that is not possible, to bring people to existing facilities.

For Health
Using greenways helps keep you healthy. By bicycle riding, walking, jogging, or skating on the greenways, you can get exercise in an enjoyable way and spend time outdoors!

For Transportation
Riding a bicycle is a form of exercise, recreation, and transportation. Try bicycle riding for your daily commute and see how favorably it compares to driving a car, riding the bus, or taking the subway. Bicycles often get you there in less time, and the scenery is better! It's good for you AND the environment.

For the Environment
The fewer cars we drive and the fewer car trips we make, the cleaner our air becomes. Bicycles and skates don't pollute! By choosing to bike, you will reduce automobile congestion and pollution, thus improving the quality of life in our city. The City's environmental health is also improved because trees are planted along the City's greenways.

For Safety
Designated bicycle paths are excellent places to learn how to ride! Riding on designated bicycle paths is safer than riding on unsigned streets and roads.

For Fun
Greenways are fun! Skate and enjoy time with friends or family, walk to the playground, bike with your children… Trees and plants along greenways make using these paths a relaxing escape from the asphalt jungle. Rediscover New York City's parks, rivers, harbors, and bays! You will see natural landscapes and amazing city views missed by most drivers.

Quote


The East River Waterfront Esplanade is receiving $150 million from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to create a spectacular waterfront esplanade, to complete the Manhattan greenway, and to reconnect the communities of Lower Manhattan to the East River Waterfront.

Historically, Lower Manhattan’s waterfront area has been the leading shipping capital in the nation. Yet, the waterfront has altered dramatically in Manhattan from industrial use to recreational use. Governor George E. Pataki explained that reclaiming the waterfront has been a key part of the rebuilding process.

The river’s edge from Battery Park to East River Park will morph from inaccessible shores to the lungs of the city. “Chain-link fences and concrete barriers will be replaced by cultural facilities, unique recreational spaces, and community amenities,” said LMDC President Stefan Pryor. Like Central Park, it will be a retreat where people who live, work, and visit Lower Manhattan can escape the glare and glitter of the city to enjoy physical recreation and a sense of community.



As multifaceted as the communities that it serves, the design jointly submitted by Richard Rogers Partnership and SHoP Architects and funded by the LMDC will reflect the local character of each area. The plantings for Pike Street will reflect the local character of each district the street passes through.

Turning garbage to gold, the current sanitation pier will be transformed into a publicly accessible open space on the water with seating for pedestrians. New claddings and enhanced lighting are just a few of the changes which will be found beneath the FDR and in Lower Manhattan’s vicinity.

http://www.renewnyc.com/Newsletters/SummerFall2005/

Noone

December 26, 2010, 06:02:47 AM
Bringing back maritime opportunities to not only Downtown Jacksonville but throughout the St. Johns River Waterways has never been more pivotal than right now. For tourism and Heads in Beds.(Robert Meyer)

Our city council just passed 2010-675 which will bring the USS Executive Ship to our Downtown with a last minute Finance amendment that could be a future taxpayer bailout provision contained within and this legislation was kept out of the Jacksonville Waterways Commission. Why?

Another scary and statewide jobs killer piece of legislation is 2010-856 which is a transient vendor ban with a 1 mile radious of another business operating a similar business or service from a permanent structure. This was shared with the St. Johns River Alliance at there Dec. 2010 Board meeting where the topic on the agenda was the seeking of a State designation for a Blueway Paddling trail throughout the 310 miles of our St. Johns River our American Heritage River except in Duval County.

Two years ago. Two years ago. I attended a meeting of FIND Florida Inland Navigation District. These Commissioners are appointed by the Governor and I simply asked if private money was raised for a Pocket Pier (Waterfront Public Access Street End) would the Commissioners of FIND match the other half and the answer was yes. You need a sponsor. A city councilmember. That was two years ago. Two years ago. The commissioners outside of Duval county were sharing numerous examples. Our Duval county representative is Mike Messiano. You can't blame Mike.

Out of 19 Jacksonville city council members to this day I still don't have one sponsor. That is why this city council and mayoral race is so important. There is no way in heck that I'd support anyone who isn't for saving and keeping separate the Promised 680' Downtown Public Pier. If you think for one second that we will be getting more Public Access your wrong. We'll be getting less.

Also as to 2010-856 the current exemption to the legislation is Downtown. Will the exemption be expanded to include the Waterways of the St. Johns River? If not then we need to immediately reconsider that American Heritage River Designation.

Keep score.

dougskiles

December 26, 2010, 06:18:33 AM
Noone, based solely on whether or not you think they will actively support the Promised Downtown Public Pier, how would you rank candidates running for mayor and the various council seats?

I-10east

December 26, 2010, 08:48:26 AM
From my own quote. It was just a tongue-in-cheek remark.

"You can't go back in time and extort the old deceased mayor, but you can always go forward and make the best of a situation".

stephendare

December 26, 2010, 09:01:21 AM
Thanks for ther pics Ock. Long Beach's cruise terminal looks nice. Going from that LB pic, that would sorta be like if we had a cruise terminal on the Southbank.

I still think that there's plenty of DT waterfront land on both banks then to be worrying about a lil' slice of land on the site of the Jax Landing. Look at all of the unused waterfront on the Southbank near Duval Public Schools. You can't go back in time and extort the old deceased mayor, but you can always go forward and make the best of a situation. So I'm not feelin' the doomsday scenario that the evil mayor cursed us with that cannot be rectified. Remember Long Beach's marina/cruise ship terminal is not directed in front of the skyline. Disagree away yall, don't let me down; Yall are consistent.

This probably sounds brilliant in the sports threads.  I don't know, but I assume that bellicosity is a replacement for logic when arguing over issues like who threw a football somewhere.

If you are agreeing with the general idea, why not just agree instead of making up some screed about 'extorting' a dead mayor.  (the word I think you were unsuccessfully grasping for was 'excoriate', extortion is something akin to blackmail--which would be exceedingly difficult to pull off successfully once a mayor is already dead)

Accurately understanding why something has happened is the first key to remedying the outcome.  Its not 'going back in time'.

But if you finally see the point and logic of the whole discussion, then who am I to complain about it.  Next time, more pictures, I suppose.  Ock, do you have anything that he can actually color in?

I-10east

December 26, 2010, 09:12:44 AM
Nope Stephen, I was "successful" in the word I said, extort as in coercion, like to force someone involuntary against their will. Don't take tongue-in-cheek remarks so serious. Maybe you are too smart for your own good.

stephendare

December 26, 2010, 09:16:32 AM
Nope Stephen, I was "successful" in the word I said, extort as in coercion, like to force someone involuntary against their will. Don't take tongue-in-cheek remarks so serious. Maybe you are to smart for your own good.

I don't think the problem with your sentence and word choice has anything to do with me being smart. ;)

Just for the sake of curiousity, how do you imagine it is possible to coerce, extort, blackmail or otherwise force the hand of a dead man?

Haydon Burns was a family friend, I do have some insight into what was on his mind when he made these changes as they were discussed around our dinner table for decades afterwards.

I-10east

December 26, 2010, 09:29:12 AM
Just for the sake of curiousity, how do you imagine it is possible to coerce, extort, blackmail or otherwise force the hand of a dead man?

I don't think that it's possible. I just figured if time travel was possible that's what yall would wanna do (extort Burns) to get the desired DT waterfront light industrial docks, marina, and cruise terminal; Being that yall are villifying him and all.

stephendare

December 26, 2010, 09:30:22 AM
Just for the sake of curiousity, how do you imagine it is possible to coerce, extort, blackmail or otherwise force the hand of a dead man?

I don't think that it's possible. I just figured if time travel was possible that's what yall would wanna(extort Burns) to get the desired DT waterfront light industrial docks, marina, and cruise terminal; Being that yall are villifying him and all.

How do you imagine he is being vilified?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Haydon_Burns

I-10east

December 26, 2010, 09:39:05 AM
Maybe "vilify" was too strong, how bout witch hunt JK. It's all good if yall disagree with his decisions. I have a Jags game to go to, chat witcha later. :)

stephendare

December 26, 2010, 09:41:14 AM
Maybe "vilify" was too strong, how bout witch hunt JK. It's all good if yall disagree with his decisions. I have a Jags game to go to, chat witcha later. :)
;)

ChriswUfGator

December 26, 2010, 10:11:29 AM
Maybe "vilify" was too strong, how bout witch hunt JK. It's all good if yall disagree with his decisions. I have a Jags game to go to, chat witcha later. :)

It's not a witch hunt.

Merely that wise people recognize that those who fail to learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

The Haydon Burns / Robert Moses / Jack Diamond influences have succeeded in almost completely killing Jacksonville. And I don't mean Duval County, I mean the actual urban city. If your argument held any water, most of our downtown wouldn't be vacant lots and empty buildings, would it? Seems like history has already spoken on your interpretation doesn't it? Downtown JAX is like Raccoon City. These policies represent a total and complete failure. Parking lots and special events aren't how the money works in a sustainable local economy. Get rid of everything "ugly" and you just wind up with pretty empty buildings, which is what we have now. The "ugly" stuff is what actually employs people.

I-10east

December 26, 2010, 09:19:23 PM
I agree that the "ugly stuff" employs people (heavy industrial ports like Port of South Louisiana, Port of Houston, Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, Jaxport etc.) not some rinky-dink obsolete urban port that was designed to ship turpentine in the 1950's.

What about all of that land (like I mentioned earlier) on the Southbank (near Duval County Schools) concerning a cruise terminal. Nevermind yall are gonna ignore me like you guys always do, besides I know the Southbank isn't "DT" enough.

The most significant event by far that "killed Jax"(if you wanna call it that) was the combo of a plague here in Jax, and yalls beloved trains (tracks) heading South for the greener pastures of Central Florida, and Miami. It's not even close.

stephendare

December 26, 2010, 09:36:09 PM
I agree that the "ugly stuff" employs people (heavy industrial ports like Port of South Louisiana, Port of Houston, Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, Jaxport etc.) not some rinky-dink obsolete urban port that was designed to ship turpentine in the 1950's.

What about all of that land (like I mentioned earlier) on the Southbank (near Duval County Schools) concerning a cruise terminal. Nevermind yall are gonna ignore me like you guys always do, besides I know the Southbank isn't "DT" enough.

The most significant event by far that "killed Jax"(if you wanna call it that) was the combo of a plague here in Jax, and yalls beloved trains (tracks) heading South for the greener pastures of Central Florida, and Miami. It's not even close.


Really I 10, why not stick to the sports threads?

I don't think anyone disagrees with you about the southbank.  That would be fine as well.

The train tracks always went south.  It was one of the busiest routes from Jacksonville in fact.  In order for anyone to go south they had to go through Jax first.

Since you apparently don't realize it, they still do.  The city just moved the passenger rail station north (not south) in the wasteland surrounding the amtrak station that doesnt connect with anything, not even a decent overnight hotel.

I-10east

December 26, 2010, 09:50:21 PM
The city just moved the passenger rail station north (not south) in the wasteland surrounding the amtrak station that doesnt connect with anything, not even a decent overnight hotel.

I can't argue with you there. It's pretty seedy there on that part of US-1.

dlemore

January 16, 2011, 10:32:16 AM
I really don't understand why Amtrak couldn't make another small station(NOW) in Orange Park and have a JTA park and ride at the same location.  I know Orange park & the JTA is planning something for those on FEC & CSX trackage for commuter rail, to materialize sometime this century, but what can be done now so people won't have to go all the way to US-1 to catch a train. Those motels would come in handy in OP for overnight NAS travelers & for those who wish to catch a train at 7:25 in the morning.

Charles Hunter

January 16, 2011, 01:26:03 PM
The JTA is working on a park-and-ride lot on County Road 220 next to the CSX tracks.  A possible station location?  But it isn't near the I-295 motels.

tayana42

February 23, 2011, 09:57:58 PM
From this discussion it's clear that JAcksonville has had poor leadership for quite some time.  Time to get serious about our new Mayoral election and pick a winner.

I agree with Stephen that we made a huge error when we drove the maritime industry from downtown.  In the 70's we had several cruise ships sail from the CSX building downtown.  Unfortunately, downtown is a bit too far from the sea and the bridges too low to allow any of the newer, larger cruse ships to pass under.

On the good news side, the city is about to complete work on a new public dock at the Riverside Arts Market.

Dog Walker

February 24, 2011, 02:06:46 PM
REPEAT WARNING!  REPEAT WARNING!  REPEAT WARNING!

No one "drove" the maritime industry out of downtown.  There was no lack of leadership that made it happen.  There was no plot for gentrification of our waterfront.  The old City Hall and County courthouse and old jail were built where they are in order to clean up a blighted, abandoned area.

The rapid containerization of freight in the '50's meant that the warehouses along the waterfront were no longer needed.  There was also no room for the large docks and cranes that are required for moving containers.  Logically, the post was moved to Tallyrand and later expanded to Blount Island.

Second, the cost of American labor first moved shipbuilding to other countries and then moved ship repair away as well.

fieldafm

February 24, 2011, 03:45:37 PM
I concur.
The days of Jacksonville being a riverport are over.  Jax is a seaport.

Large shoreline wharehousing facilities for dry goods is not an economically feasible model any longer.  Even Landmar's original plans with the Shipyards property was to construct cold storage facilities, which has a little bit different economic structure than dry goods or containerized units.  There are plenty of cold storage facilities on the Westside of town presently in fact.

That being said, bringing the pleasure boat maritime industry back downtown is critical.  The riverfront needs to be activated in a much more utiliatarian way than it is being used now.  Powerboats and hand launched boat facilities at RAM and the Hogans Creek Greenbelt need to return to the urban waterfront.

A good book for you to read on the subject is Jacksonville: Riverport Seaport.  Great history about the maritime industry in Jax since the Hugenots roamed the shores of what is now Duval County.

Dog Walker

February 24, 2011, 05:21:35 PM
A really good example of what a big marina can do for a downtown area is Charleston Harbor.  It's behind a barrier wall so is not exposed to the currents of the river.  There is a shuttle bus that runs from there into downtown where the shops and restaurants are.  The marina is jammed with transient boaters who bring in millions of dollars to the city every year.

Norfolk has the same arrangement and more marinas.

The Shipyards site just cries out for a big marina to draw some of the Waterways boaters up the river to town and on.  Marina Mile in Ortega is just too far away from downtown to have the same impact.
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