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A Look at the Proposed Bank Hotel

Much fanfare has been given to the possible redevelopment of the Laura Trio and Barnett Bank Buildings. Metro Jacksonville takes a closer look at the project's anchor, the Bank Hotel.

Published June 2, 2010 in Development      116 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

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A little bit of Metro Jacksonville tossed in.  Nice touch!









Source: 2010 Laura Street Center, LLC.


About the Barnett Bank and the Barnett Bank Building



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A Brief History of the Barnett Bank

Barnett Banks, Inc. was Florida's oldest and largest banking organization when sold to NationsBank (now Bank of America) in January 1998, at the time the most expensive bank acquisition in US history. Founded in 1877 as the Bank of Jacksonville by William B. Barnett, who had recently moved to Jacksonville from Kansas, within four years it had become the largest bank in the state. Barnett and his two sons became prominent businessmen in Florida's largest city and their bank, renamed Barnett National Bank in 1908 in memory of its founder, remained one of Florida's leading banking organizations for 120 years. The Barnetts were involved in providing part of the financing for the Disston land purchase that helped the state of Florida avoid insolvency in the early 1880s; the bank was involved in two precedent-setting decisions by the US Supreme Court (the first in the 1890s, the second in the 1990s); it organized one of the country's first bank-holding companies as part of an effort to stabilize banking operations in a number of Florida cities during widespread bank failures at the onset of the Great Depression; it developed innovative marketing and consumer banking programs, becoming "Florida's bank," during an aggressive statewide expansion in the 1970s and 1980s; it led the fight in the Florida legislature for branch banking, and later developed the case for regional interstate banking in the Southeast, but then failed to capitalize on opportunities to expand outside the state; and more. Throughout its history, five generations of Barnetts worked for the bank, including the founder's son, Bion H. Barnett, who after 75 years of service retired as chairman of the board in 1952 at the age of 94. Other promient bank leaders included the visionary Guy Botts and his successor, Charles Rice, who oversaw the sale of the bank.


Bion H. Barnett

Quote
Following Barnett's sale to NationsBank, a number of senior officers of the bank, under the leadeship of Barnett president Allen Lastinger, organized the Barnett Historic Preservation Foundation, Inc. as a not-for-profit foundation to preserve and publicize the historical legacy of Barnett Bank. The Foundation gathered and organized the historical documentation that the parent company had maintained over the years, while augmenting these records by gathering additional materials from former employees throughout the state and conducting an oral history program that resulted in more than 70 interviews. The records in the Barnett Bank collection, which were donated in 2001 to the Florida State Archives in Tallahassee, include annual reports, employee publications, investor presentations, press releases, scrapbooks, news clippings, marketing materials, videos, correspondence, more than 3,000 pages of oral history transcripts, and miscellaneous ledgers and account books. The Foundation selected the Florida State Archives as the repository for the Barnett collection in part because the State Archives also houses the records of the Florida State Department of Banking, as well as records relating to the Lewis State Bank and the First National Bank of Tampa/First Florida Banks, and thus offers a wealth of material for the study of Florida banking, as well as other areas of business and politics related to the banking industry.

David Ginzl
2007

http://www.fsu.edu/~history/barnet_fellowship.html




The Barnett National Bank Building

Quote
The bank grew steadily over its first fifty years, necessitating the construction of this $1,500,000 banking and office center in 1926, which remained the tallest building in Jacksonville until the Prudential Building was constructed in 1954.  Mowbray & Uffinger, nationally known bank architects from New York, designed it; and the contractor was the James Stewart Co., which constructed Madison Square Garden in New York and the Mitsui Bank in Tokyo, then the largest bank building in the world.  The Barnett National Bank Building is handsomely proportioned and reflects the eclectic influences of commercial architectural styles of the 1920's.  A two-story arcade faced with limestone makes up the street-level facade, and the building is topped with double-arched windows and a parapet with obelisks.  A series of lion heads between the third and fourth stories are among the other interesting details.
Source: Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage, Page 33

Article by Ennis Davis







116 Comments

aaapolito

June 02, 2010, 06:37:34 AM
I really like the concept and hope that this comes to fruition.

heights unknown

June 02, 2010, 07:18:37 AM
Wow; great theme, depictions, plans, etc. for the old Barnett Bank Building centered around banking, finance and commerce; however, once they renovate the BNB Building into a hotel, Jacksonville had better provide a lot more amenities, attractions, etc. within the urban core and local area so that many people will stay at the "Bank Hotel" so that it, along with the other properties within the Laura Trio, won't fail.  I love the theme, concept, etc.

"HU"

fsujax

June 02, 2010, 08:08:58 AM
I miss the digital clock/temperature sign. I hope the new developers bring it back to life.

Wacca Pilatka

June 02, 2010, 08:22:31 AM
I like this project even more for how it honors the history of the bank.  Barnett was a big part of stoking my love affair with Jacksonville, since my first visit to the city was to go on a tour of the now Bank of America building.  David Ginzl wrote a terrific and very thorough history bank, "Barnett: The Story of Florida's Bank," a few years ago.

Jason

June 02, 2010, 08:37:43 AM
Wow.  I am sincerely impressed.  Although, the presentation is lacking actual details of the proposed renovation.  It really seems like these guys are on point and are looking to bring something great to the core, an upscale boutique hotel and more residential units.

I am eagerly awaiting more information on the proposal for the BH and The Trio.

reednavy

June 02, 2010, 09:16:57 AM
Incredible, get to work.

Captain Zissou

June 02, 2010, 09:28:51 AM
Maybe I missed something, but I thought that presentation was all show and no substance.  I'd like to see more details, as Jason said.  I think the project is great, I just hope Jax is able to support it.

lindab

June 02, 2010, 09:29:54 AM
Somehow I thought the old Barnett Bank got torn down.  I think all that was left were the columns from the front facade which got propped up somewhere as a memorial. The T-U Center?  Slightly confused here.

fieldafm

June 02, 2010, 09:34:08 AM
That rooftop bar proposal is pretty exciting.  If its anything close to the same caliber of the rooftop venue at the Duval in Tally... then we're in for a real treat!

fieldafm

June 02, 2010, 09:35:52 AM
I miss the digital clock/temperature sign. I hope the new developers bring it back to life.

I second that!  I was told by someone that previously had done work for Cameron Kuhn that it could still function... don't know if that was true or not.

thelakelander

June 02, 2010, 09:57:47 AM
Somehow I thought the old Barnett Bank got torn down.  I think all that was left were the columns from the front facade which got propped up somewhere as a memorial. The T-U Center?  Slightly confused here.

That was the Heard Bank Building.



http://www.cowart.info/blog/?p=1015

blizz01

June 02, 2010, 10:00:27 AM
Man - Imagine what this group could do with Universal Marion Building (JEA).  Bring back the (revolving) Embers!

Wacca Pilatka

June 02, 2010, 10:01:30 AM
The Heard Bank/Florida Title columns are at the T-U Center.  The Heard, along with the Ritz-Woller building (the oldest in downtown; I think 1878) and Klutho's Prairie-style G.D. Jackson building, were torn down for, you guessed it, a parking lot.  Barnett later planned to build a riverfront HQ building, but amid citizen protest, agreed in 1986 to swap that piece of property with the city in exchange for the parking lot where the Heard once stood.  The 1990 Barnett HQ, now the Bank of America building, was built on that lot.

Also, the pre-Fire Barnett building (a low-rise, columned Neoclassical) was torn down to make room for the early 60s 10-story Barnett box.

fsujax

June 02, 2010, 10:04:38 AM
linad...the building you are referring to is the old Heard National Bank building. It is now where the current Bank of America building stands.

Wacca Pilatka

June 02, 2010, 10:05:46 AM
Does anyone have pictures of the Barnett building when the digital clock had a blocky-font BARNETT or BFN sign on it?

fsujax

June 02, 2010, 10:12:34 AM
The only thing i remember of that building is the facade that was left standing. It was like a grand entrance to a parking lot!

finehoe

June 02, 2010, 10:12:47 AM
This looks really nice, but I can't help but wonder where do the developers see the clientele for this hotel coming from? It seems they are targeting a demographic that doesn't currently have much of a reason to visit downtown Jacksonville.  I'm not sure that "build it and they will come" is applicable here.  Let's hope so.

fieldafm

June 02, 2010, 10:18:32 AM
Man - Imagine what this group could do with Universal Marion Building (JEA).  Bring back the (revolving) Embers!

Good call on Embers.  But here's my positive optimistic spin for the day...

My dad used to talk about Embers a lot.  It was where he and his brothers would get to go on a Saturday for lunch if they had done soemthing really good.. like everyone having a good semester of school or something.  Embers was obviously a very special place to Dad b/c of this.

When the Skyline Cafe opened up, I took him up there for lunch as kind of my appreciation for his fondness of Embers.  We went up there on a Thursday, had lunch(very reasonably priced meal for the view you get), and traded stories of Jacksonville why glancing at the pictures of the BofA tower being built.  He made the comment riding down the elevator that Embers never had that kind of view and this place has way more potential than Embers ever had.... River Club/University Club views, but exclusive to all.

comncense

June 02, 2010, 11:04:02 AM
I L O V E the names they came up with for branding the individual aspects of the hotel. I really hope that all the things come together and come to reality.

duvaldude08

June 02, 2010, 11:49:09 AM
I really hope this all happens. I am thoroughly excited. I will be getting a room for the weekend there just because. lol

stjr

June 02, 2010, 11:54:17 AM

That was the Heard Bank Building.



http://www.cowart.info/blog/?p=1015

Also known for many decades as the Florida Title Building.  Was controlled by the Towers law firm family as I recall.

Mattius92

June 02, 2010, 12:08:24 PM
I love the idea of converting this historical downtown building back into something that poeple would talk about. There is too many historical buildings in our city that need to be revitalized.

The bank hotel and the trio project is something Jax needed, I do hope everything they plan for goes through, because our downtown needs it.

downtownjag

June 02, 2010, 01:04:13 PM
I can't wait to have a Bailout on a Friday night! 

Coolyfett

June 02, 2010, 02:00:15 PM
Sexy. Get it done

exnewsman

June 02, 2010, 02:13:24 PM
Seems like a well thought out plan... hope the plan turns into reality. Love the sinergistic banking theme throughout. Anybody know where they are in the process? We've seen lots of plans for projects over the past 3-4 years... some quite grand. Yet not much in the way of construction.

tpot

June 02, 2010, 04:07:22 PM
I would love to see this play out for JAX but i agree with finehoe...  Who is going to stay here?  Most business travellers book through corp sites and stay at large chain hotels like a Hilton or Hyatt and on top of that we have so few businesses in downtown jax, most of the time out of town travellers end up staying at a hotel out on the Southside because it's close to where they will be in town having meetings.
Again, I hope I am wrong and wish this project much sucess, just don't think JAX can sopport this level of establishment yet.....

fsujax

June 02, 2010, 04:14:41 PM
It is my understanding the hotel even though boutique will be affliated with a nationl chain like Marriott.

kells904

June 02, 2010, 04:40:28 PM
This kind of project worries me...some big awesome hotel left to fend for itself, while there isn't much around it.  It'd be more effective as the cherry on top of an already spruced-up Laura St. with activity already in place.  Otherwise, it might be difficult to constantly attract customers.  And like it's been mentioned already, this presentation is pretty hollow (intentional, I assume).  I get the impression that the residential units are going to be out of the average joe's price range.  We'll see, I suppose.

blizz01

June 02, 2010, 04:46:01 PM
I really feel that a place with so much substance will sell itself - and, in this case could become the catalyst for things to come.  Look at the current trend that's happening downtown with the nightlife.  The more recent openings of places like Dos Gatos, Lit, Ivy, etc. all carry an upscale vibe & seem to have given us something fresh - that's all that's required, just some creativity.  The hotel itself actually has a Kessler vibe (of which, I believe that the Autograph Collection is now part of Marriott International).  If this comes to fruition, I have no doubt it will be THE place to stay DT.

http://www.kesslercollection.com/

fieldafm

June 02, 2010, 05:00:36 PM
Certain botique hotels have been partnering up with the rewards program of certain chains... thereby enhancing their overall value.  This type of model could easily be adapted if the Bank Hotel is as nice as it appears in the renderings.

Wacca Pilatka

June 02, 2010, 05:08:38 PM
It is my understanding the hotel even though boutique will be affliated with a nationl chain like Marriott.

I'd imagine it'll be something like "The Bank Hotel, A (fill in the name of upscale chain) Historic Hotel."  That seems to be the naming convention for some the themed/historic boutiques.

stjr

June 02, 2010, 05:14:00 PM
The location is close to City Hall and JEA (for all those visiting sales people, lobbyists, and consultants), MOCA and the Landing (tourists), the Jazz Fest and other downtown special events (more tourists), the Federal and new county courthouses (lots of visiting lawyers and expert witnesses), etc.  With a ball room/meeting rooms to host weddings, conferences, etc. they might have more than enough to make it.  It looks like they may also put in some type of spa from the pictures.  I would presume they have done a marketing study before proceeding this far to verify same.  No guarantees but good probabilities for success?

TheProfessor

June 02, 2010, 05:19:24 PM
I think we should all stand behind this.  The only thing I would change is the steak house idea.  There is a Ruth's Chris and Morton's steakhouse downtown already.  They need a different type of restaurant that will attract a younger urban crowd.

thelakelander

June 02, 2010, 05:26:56 PM
For those who don't think this location is viable for a boutique hotel, you should walk the immediate area around the Tallahassee location.  There you have a five lane highway, a fire station and small buildings spread apart by surface parking lots.  Nevertheless, the place is a success.

JeffreyS

June 02, 2010, 05:30:00 PM
It will be great. Remember it is a mixed use property so you won't have to fill the entire high rise with hotel rooms.

reednavy

June 02, 2010, 05:30:34 PM
Both of which are on the Southbank.

However, I believe this restaurant will be on a different level than the two mentioned above. Of course, all of this is preliminary and the type of restaurant may very well change.

When this project comes to completion, it may be a number of months to a few years as many will wait and see if this succeeds or fails, and if it makes it, watch downtown boom.

fieldafm

June 02, 2010, 05:31:38 PM
Hotel occupancy rates have actually not done bad in Jax this year

stephendare

June 02, 2010, 05:33:28 PM
I think we should all stand behind this.  The only thing I would change is the steak house idea.  There is a Ruth's Chris and Morton's steakhouse downtown already.  They need a different type of restaurant that will attract a younger urban crowd.

So something that serves food that doesnt taste like calories?

I agree!  We do have a density of steak houses.

What we simply do not have is a place that serves authentic southern cuisine.  Or a credible seafood restaurant downtown.

fieldafm

June 02, 2010, 05:33:32 PM
For those who don't think this location is viable for a boutique hotel, you should walk the immediate area around the Tallahassee location.  There you have a five lane highway, a fire station and small buildings spread apart by surface parking lots.  Nevertheless, the place is a success.

Busiest intersection in town... and about three blocks from the Frenchtown area.  Not exactly the most upscale neighborhood in Leon County.

This Jacksonville location could do quite well IMO

fieldafm

June 02, 2010, 05:34:54 PM
I think we should all stand behind this.  The only thing I would change is the steak house idea.  There is a Ruth's Chris and Morton's steakhouse downtown already.  They need a different type of restaurant that will attract a younger urban crowd.

So something that serves food that doesnt taste like calories?

I agree!  We do have a density of steak houses.

What we simply do not have is a place that serves authentic southern cuisine.  Or a credible seafood restaurant downtown.

Lightbulb goes off in head....

Something that would put Paula Dean to shame right here in the River City, hmmm  ;)

reednavy

June 02, 2010, 05:46:54 PM
Please don't, her place in Savannah is a total joke.

stjr

June 02, 2010, 05:55:44 PM
Please don't, her place in Savannah is a total joke.

She is coming to Jax in June courtesy of the Publix cooking school.  You can tell her yourself.  :D


I did eat at her restaurant in Savannah and, if nothing else, it's a money machine.  Over 300 seats sold out day and night much of the time.  And, a large gift shop with tourists buying everything in sight.  I won't say the meal was memorable, but it was good.

kells904

June 02, 2010, 07:07:36 PM
I haven't had the pleasure of being to ANY DT nightspots, since I haven't lived there since...'02???  (Good God, it's been that long??)  But I've come through over the years for holidays and Jags games.  Other than the Bay street metamorphosis, nothing else down there ever jumped out at me.  Anyway, if some of you more knowledgeable folks think this project can stand on its own, I'll take your word for it rub my tiki doll for good luck that it works.

I think Japanese Steakhouse is about as "extreme" as you could get for now; otherwise you'd kinda have to stick with a regular steakhouse, to be on the safe side.  Besides, you can't deny southern folks love them some grilled cow, so another steakhouse so close to Ruth's Chris probably won't matter all that much in the end.  Hell, there's two Wal-Marts within 5 minutes of each other on the Northside.

5PointsGuy

June 02, 2010, 07:30:12 PM
*Feasibility of a rooftop lounge is dependent on the realization of the proposed extension of the city's chilled water line*

What the heck is that all about?

thelakelander

June 02, 2010, 07:56:06 PM
Don't know but I don't think its true.  From what I've heard the hotel will not rely on the JEA's chilled water line, which isn't being built anyway.

brainstormer

June 02, 2010, 08:06:12 PM
I'm not worried about the feasibility of this development.  The partners have created something unique and independent.  It sounds like a tourist attraction on it's own.  If they put in a beautiful, historic ballroom, I guarantee it will become a hot spot for weddings.  If you had your pick, wouldn't you want your guests to have a whole "bank" experience on top of the wedding festivities.  Sure sounds more exciting than the holiday inn off I95.  I would love to have a jazz lounge downtown.  This would be the perfect development for one as jazz music fits the theme they have created.  The project sounds like an upscale step back in time.  I kind of want to hang out there just for fun!

Coolyfett

June 02, 2010, 08:12:32 PM
I think we should all stand behind this.  The only thing I would change is the steak house idea.  There is a Ruth's Chris and Morton's steakhouse downtown already.  They need a different type of restaurant that will attract a younger urban crowd.

Like a Cheesecake Factory?

fieldafm

June 02, 2010, 08:39:37 PM
*Feasibility of a rooftop lounge is dependent on the realization of the proposed extension of the city's chilled water line*

What the heck is that all about?

Chilled water is used in buildings to cool ambient air temperatures and/or to cool the various building's equipment .

My guess was that the feasibility of the rooftop lounge centers on using radiant floor cooling tubes to cool the rooftop lounge.

As to my understanding, the proposed chilled water line extension was proposed in '05 but obviously hasnt gained much traction since.

brainstormer

June 02, 2010, 08:46:29 PM
Coolyfett, that is actually a great idea!  As much as I hate a lot of chain restaurants, sometimes a name brand can do wonders for creating foot traffic.  Other chains that would be neat for downtown might include an Abuelo's Mexican Restaurant or a Claddagh Irish Pub.

thelakelander

June 02, 2010, 08:48:17 PM
*Feasibility of a rooftop lounge is dependent on the realization of the proposed extension of the city's chilled water line*

What the heck is that all about?

Chilled water is used in buildings to cool ambient air temperatures and/or to cool the various building's equipment .

My guess was that the feasibility of the rooftop lounge centers on using radiant floor cooling tubes to cool the rooftop lounge.

As to my understanding, the proposed chilled water line extension was proposed in '05 but obviously hasnt gained much traction since.

I've heard that the building will have its own chilling equipment.

fieldafm

June 02, 2010, 09:31:44 PM
*Feasibility of a rooftop lounge is dependent on the realization of the proposed extension of the city's chilled water line*

What the heck is that all about?

Chilled water is used in buildings to cool ambient air temperatures and/or to cool the various building's equipment .

My guess was that the feasibility of the rooftop lounge centers on using radiant floor cooling tubes to cool the rooftop lounge.

As to my understanding, the proposed chilled water line extension was proposed in '05 but obviously hasnt gained much traction since.

I've heard that the building will have its own chilling equipment.

That makes infinetly more sense. 

fsujax

June 02, 2010, 09:40:33 PM
A Cheesecake Fctory in the old Marble Bank...would be truly awesome.

Cliffs_Daughter

June 02, 2010, 10:02:45 PM
Personally I'd rather see the Cheesecake Factory in the Landing, NOT in the Marble Bank.
It just wouldn't feel right here.
why not have it made into some truly fine dining that is in cooperation with a local culinary arts school?

Keith-N-Jax

June 03, 2010, 07:21:04 AM
Landing probably cant get a chain like the cheesecake factory,because of u know what.Anyway I hope this pland doesnt fail.

thelakelander

June 03, 2010, 07:57:42 AM
The Trio won't get one either. Whatever goes in the Marble Bank will most likely be owned and operated by the hotel group.

bill

June 03, 2010, 09:18:51 AM
Not to worry everyone will be supporting this as it will only get completed with a heavy influx of city and historical money.

Captain Zissou

June 03, 2010, 10:18:50 AM
I've been to the Cheesecake factory a few times, and it's not good.  They have hundreds of options that are all edible, but none of them are great.  

I agree that DT does have a strong presence of Steakhouses already (you can also get a pretty good steak at the Charthouse).  We could use either a blockbuster Seafood restaurant, a great fusion restaurant, just a general fine dining restaurant, or a jazz club/ wine and cigar bar. While the decor does fit a steakhouse well, I think any type of upscale restaurant could make the place work.

Cheesecake factory would be like putting cheap spinners and neons on a Rolls-Royce. It would just cheapen the whole area.

stephendare

June 03, 2010, 10:19:51 AM
I've been to the Cheesecake factory a few times, and it's not good.  They have hundreds of options that are all edible, but none of them are great.  

I agree that DT does have a strong presence of Steakhouses already (you can also get a pretty good steak at the Charthouse).  We could use either a blockbuster Seafood restaurant, a great fusion restaurant, just a general fine dining restaurant, or a jazz club/ wine and cigar bar. While the decor does fit a steakhouse well, I think any type of upscale restaurant could make the place work.

Cheesecake factory would be like putting cheap spinners and neons on a Rolls-Royce. It would just cheapen the whole area.
+1

Ocklawaha

June 03, 2010, 10:51:13 AM
Stephen, add this place to the pub crawl!

YAAAHOOOOOO!


OCKLAWAHA

fsujax

June 03, 2010, 10:58:20 AM
well, considering the hoardes of people places like Cheescake Factory draws.....that can only be a good thing if something like that attracted people downtown to dine. That was my only point. Their food isnt that great.....but name recognition...goes a long way.

Captain Zissou

June 03, 2010, 11:11:41 AM
I don't think a Cheesecake factory in dt Jax would draw in crowds.  They'd prefer to park in sun baked surface lots, endure 2 hour wait times, and awful traffic than explore an area they are unfamiliar with and don't understand in order to eat the same food.  Unless we close the SJTC Cheesecake Factory, they will choose that one over downtown every time.

fsujax

June 03, 2010, 11:20:29 AM
^^your probably right.

Dog Walker

June 03, 2010, 11:26:03 AM
Please don't, her place in Savannah is a total joke.

Second that!

Ocklawaha

June 03, 2010, 11:28:49 AM
Build the Cheese Cake factory in the tunnels below the banks, then connect it to the Jacksonville Subway System!


OCKLAWAHA
Powered by REBEL YELL!

Cliffs_Daughter

June 03, 2010, 11:40:43 AM
Hey OCK -

"Por favor, mantenganse allejado de las puertas"   ;)

Miss Fixit

June 03, 2010, 11:48:19 AM
I think we should all stand behind this.  The only thing I would change is the steak house idea.  There is a Ruth's Chris and Morton's steakhouse downtown already.  They need a different type of restaurant that will attract a younger urban crowd.

So something that serves food that doesnt taste like calories?

I agree!  We do have a density of steak houses.

What we simply do not have is a place that serves authentic southern cuisine.  Or a credible seafood restaurant downtown.



Lightbulb goes off in head....

Something that would put Paula Dean to shame right here in the River City, hmmm  ;)

Right town, wrong chef/restaurant.  One model the Bank should consider is Savannah's Garibaldi's  Cafe - fine dining with a southern/southern italian flair, in a beautiful historic building.  Check out photos of their gorgeous dining room at

http://www.garibaldisavannah.com/flash.html

Dapperdan

June 03, 2010, 11:49:54 AM
As mentioned before, a hotel doesn't have to be just a  hotel. It can be a detination. It can have nightlife. It can have ballrooms to host events. It can have a restaurant downstairs for lunch. Plus,as others have mentioned, it is not that far removed from anything. I am excited about this developement.

finehoe

June 03, 2010, 12:37:38 PM
Hopefully the restuarant won't be any of these:  http://www.cspinet.org/new/201005251.html

stephendare

June 03, 2010, 12:39:49 PM
Were going over to the buildings today to photograph the interiors and take a tour of the entire thing.

This should make for some interesting shots.

Ethylene

June 03, 2010, 12:40:39 PM
Were going over to the buildings today to photograph the interiors and take a tour of the entire thing.

This should make for some interesting shots.

I'm jealous!

heights unknown

June 03, 2010, 01:41:11 PM
I really feel that a place with so much substance will sell itself - and, in this case could become the catalyst for things to come.  Look at the current trend that's happening downtown with the nightlife.  The more recent openings of places like Dos Gatos, Lit, Ivy, etc. all carry an upscale vibe & seem to have given us something fresh - that's all that's required, just some creativity.  The hotel itself actually has a Kessler vibe (of which, I believe that the Autograph Collection is now part of Marriott International).  If this comes to fruition, I have no doubt it will be THE place to stay DT.

http://www.kesslercollection.com/

I believe in the plans for the "Bank Hotel," and the Laura Trio at large, but as I said in an earlier post, hope Jacksonville can support the hotel and the trio.  Don't forget, though there is an increase of activity/nightlife in DT Jax, nightclubbers, bar hoppers and restauranters don't traditionally book rooms in hotels.

"HU"

heights unknown

June 03, 2010, 01:45:01 PM
I think we should all stand behind this.  The only thing I would change is the steak house idea.  There is a Ruth's Chris and Morton's steakhouse downtown already.  They need a different type of restaurant that will attract a younger urban crowd.

I stand behind it and believe in it, but still harbor some skepticism and suspicion because of the past, and the fact at present there doesn't seem to be a staunch justification for the hotel. There is nothing downtown right now to really fill up those rooms, howbeit, at times there will be (super bowl, Georgia Florida Game, Visitors to the Landing, Tourists passing through, Conventions, etc.).  Hope it all pans out though.

"HU"

Captain Zissou

June 03, 2010, 02:17:53 PM
^ HU.  There may be no concrete reason for the project Right Now, but it will add at least 2 restaurants, at least 1 bar, up to 250 residents, and plenty of hotel space.  What if those additions were enough for us to hit a tipping point in downtown development, which then increased demand for more projects?  That is my hope.  While it may seem like a stretch right now, I think that this will be the nudge that gets the downtown ball rolling again. 

This could complete the Bay street/ FL theatre area entertainment district, and better tie that district into the Landing.  That would put dt ahead of the beaches entertainment district, IMO, and would be unmatched anywhere in town. 

One thing this will do.... It will excentuate how dumb that parking garage between Main, Ocean, Forsyth, and Bay is.  That will be smack dab in the middle of the entertainment corridor.

fieldafm

June 03, 2010, 02:26:08 PM
Quote
jazz club/ wine and cigar bar

We have one of those already with Poppy Love Smoke  :)

tufsu1

June 03, 2010, 04:27:19 PM
I don't think a Cheesecake factory in dt Jax would draw in crowds.  They'd prefer to park in sun baked surface lots, endure 2 hour wait times, and awful traffic than explore an area they are unfamiliar with and don't understand in order to eat the same food.  Unless we close the SJTC Cheesecake Factory, they will choose that one over downtown every time.

If that is the case, then folks will choose STJC for everything right?  If so, why bother giving the Landing $ for parking.  ;)

In all seriousness, Cheesecake Factory in Orlando does well at both Mall at Millenia and at Winter Park Village.

duvaldude08

June 03, 2010, 04:32:25 PM
Honestly, im not to fond of the Cheesecake factory. I went to the one in Orlando years ago and was not very pleased with the menu. Its a nice place, but definately not worth the wait for a table. However, it is very popular and I feel would do well at the Landing.

Cliffs_Daughter

June 03, 2010, 04:41:10 PM
Honestly, im not to fond of the Cheesecake factory. I went to the one in Orlando years ago and was not very pleased with the menu. Its a nice place, but definately not worth the wait for a table. However, it is very popular and I feel would do well at the Landing.
+1

That's what I was trying to say, but you put it so much better.

Captain Zissou

June 03, 2010, 04:52:55 PM
tufsu, for many things, people would always choose the Town Center.  What I am saying is don't force people to choose.  Downtown is a much different environment than JTB @ Gate Parkway, so why have competing uses for each?  Downtown can either target a different demographic, or offer them a different experience than the Town Center does. 

Downtown is a destination for a classy night out, rich in culture and history. It's a night out that makes you feel alive!  SJTC is a shopping mall with the roof torn off.  Don't short change people by giving them SJTC downtown, give them something new! 

Maybe a cheesecake factory at the Landing, it's already close to a competing venue for SJTC, but they could do better there as well.

Fallen Buckeye

June 03, 2010, 05:26:53 PM
The beauty of the Barnett development is that it is diversified. It's not putting all of the eggs in the hotel basket so to speak. Even so I think it could draw enough guests between business travellers and tourists. With a grand ballroom there is also potential to host small conferences and other events. I wonder how many rooms this hotel would be.

finehoe

June 03, 2010, 05:34:27 PM
Maybe a cheesecake factory at the Landing, it's already close to a competing venue for SJTC, but they could do better there as well.

You seem to have changed your tune.  When I made a similar observation a couple of months ago, you said the Landing

...could use a walgreens, borders, best buy, or even a clothier.  I'm not saying we can support one today, but we should be talking to at least walgreens, if not the rest, now.

Which would also just be "a shopping mall with the roof torn off."

heights unknown

June 03, 2010, 07:20:16 PM
^ HU.  There may be no concrete reason for the project Right Now, but it will add at least 2 restaurants, at least 1 bar, up to 250 residents, and plenty of hotel space.  What if those additions were enough for us to hit a tipping point in downtown development, which then increased demand for more projects?  That is my hope.  While it may seem like a stretch right now, I think that this will be the nudge that gets the downtown ball rolling again. 

This could complete the Bay street/ FL theatre area entertainment district, and better tie that district into the Landing.  That would put dt ahead of the beaches entertainment district, IMO, and would be unmatched anywhere in town. 

One thing this will do.... It will excentuate how dumb that parking garage between Main, Ocean, Forsyth, and Bay is.  That will be smack dab in the middle of the entertainment corridor.

Optimism...along with a positive attitude; a real cool and awesome thing; and that is what you have just injected into me regarding the "Bank Hotel," and the whole Laura Trio thingamagig.  I hope you're right Captain and I will maintain and keep up hope, optimism and a positive attitude for this project!

"HU"

brainstormer

June 03, 2010, 09:38:10 PM
^ Captain, I totally agree.  I live near Tinseltown but when I go out, it is always in downtown.  If I wanted something like Cheesecake Factory, I would choose a downtown location instead of the one at SJTC.  I know that isn't environmentally friendly because of the longer drive, but it is about the atmosphere and experience of downtown.  While Cheesecake Factory isn't the greatest food, it is a step above some of the current options at the Landing.  American Cafe and Hooters are not at all appealing in my opinion.

thelakelander

June 03, 2010, 09:53:28 PM
The beauty of the Barnett development is that it is diversified. It's not putting all of the eggs in the hotel basket so to speak. Even so I think it could draw enough guests between business travellers and tourists. With a grand ballroom there is also potential to host small conferences and other events. I wonder how many rooms this hotel would be.

The hotel will have around 120 rooms.  It will include a bar, restaurant and art gallery at street level.  A roof deck bar could also be in the works. 

JC

June 03, 2010, 11:04:59 PM
Too bad its not being renovated for affordable housing!  Who will stay here?  LOL... Its really a joke! 

JC

June 03, 2010, 11:10:43 PM
If I could get a quality 3 bedroom apartment downtown for less than 1,200 myself, my wife and my three children would move in ASAP

stephendare

June 03, 2010, 11:17:31 PM
Too bad its not being renovated for affordable housing!  Who will stay here?  LOL... Its really a joke! 

Why is that a joke?  And who said that they werent being renovated for affordable housing?

The hotel part certainly isnt.  Nor should it.  There are plenty of places to stay cheaply in Jax.

But the apartments are in fact being built for affordable housing.

They have no plans in place for a three bedroom floor plan, its all one and two bedrooms.  Although for the money, they will talk about combinations.

simms3

June 06, 2010, 11:48:09 AM
Less than 1200 for a 3 bedroom apt in the city?  hahahahaha  I pay that for 1 bedroom and I am literally in the 2nd cheapest high rise in midtown Atl (more expensive than Jax but still not considered expensive).

1200 for 2 bedrooms might be reasonable to start off with, but there has to be a balance between cash flows and the developer still needs to at least break even LOL.

Very excited for the Bank Hotel, but I am curious as to how they are going to finance this and who is going to manage the hotel?  What are the rooms going to be like...etc?  I loved the package that has already been shown here, but it marketed the concept of the renovated building and left out some details to the actual rooms.  There have been 3 recent great renovations here in Atlanta just in the past couple of years that I will try to take pics of.

The Terrace Hotel (my favorite of the 3)
Hotel Indigo
The Artmore (next door to where I live)

The Terrace has a very well known (locally) restaurant in it that does advertising in The Atlantan/Atlanta magazines and locals go there for drinks and dinner every night.  The Terrace as well as Hotel Indigo are also right across the street from the Fox Theater, so that really helps them, too.  The Bank Hotel is in a pretty prime location that it should take advantage of and the operators should coordinate with other local venues to offer valet parking or discounts in a restaurant or bar, etc, anything that can draw "crowds".

The Artmore has a great courtyard and a bar that hosts routine events like wine tastings, etc.  It also helps to have over 1,000 residents on that block alone.

simms3

June 06, 2010, 11:57:52 AM
Here is the difficulty with our market: the general citizenry of our city has a lack of money, and those that do have money tend to want to spend it at the Beach or in the suburbs.  It is the nature of the beast.  Rehabbing buildings (and doing a good job) is very expensive.  Building new high rises is also very expensive.  People generally regard Novare as being a great developer of lower priced loft apartments and condos (though they are struggling financially right now).  I have many friends that live in Novare buildings and I have looked there myself, and even in a Novare studio in an "older" building (i.e. 2004) with bare concrete walls and floors, the price started at well over $1,000.  Condos start from $250K up and don't forget about HOA fees if you are buying (they are $420/month on average in m building alone, which has condos starting at $150K now).

We talk about affordable housing like its a duh type of thing, but affordable in Jax sometimes takes on a whole different meaning and we must try to look at the price points and the overall develpment from the developer's POV.

Don't get me wrong, we DO need affordable housing in DT, but it most likely cannt come in the form of a brand new high rise or a really well done rehab because both of those are expensive for all te parties involved (lender...takes a huge risk, especially in ourmarket), developer does too depending on the type of loans he assumes, contractor...well we have seen firsthand contractors go down in flames on projects in our core, etc.

simms3

June 06, 2010, 09:18:54 PM
Give me a break because I do not post frequently and I am not the best with computers, but I do not know how to post pictures directly on this site.  I do have 181 pictures that I took today around downtown Atlanta and a few shots in Midtown and SoNo.  Many have nothing to do with rehabbed hotels, but quite a bit do since that was what I set out to photograph.  There's a Residence Inn, Indigo Hotel, the Georgia Terrace, the Artmore Hotel, a Mariott, and other newer hotels.  I will add labels to the pictures later.

They are at

http://s916.photobucket.com/albums/ad1/jsimms3/?previewTheme=79&track=addtheme&previewCancelUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fs916.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fad1%2Fjsimms3%2F%3Faction%3Dthemeadd

Once again, sorry.

Atlanta has done a wonderful rehabbing buildings and creating new uses for buildings, as well as making their downtown more pedestrian friendly with lots of pocket parks, street level retail and eateries, maps and convenience stands, easy and often free parking at certain hours and in the weekend, police presence, etc.  Almost all parking is pay by space using solar powered pay stations every half block.  More to follow.

Timkin

June 06, 2010, 11:52:06 PM
And we could do the same in Jacksonville.

mtraininjax

June 06, 2010, 11:52:47 PM
This is not the affordable housing thread, so not going to reply, I am sure there are others to discuss.

The only people who benefit from the Time/Temp are the people in Springfield and on the NW side of town, since the B of A building blocks access to the southside, unless they make it so that it revolves around (Left to Right).

Poppy Loves Smoke is OK for Jazz, but Fusion is better, imo. What's wrong with competition? The more the merrier.

The downtown restaurants, to survive with young people, NEED OUTDOOR seating. The Brick thrives with outdoor seating in Avondale. Allowing people to sit out, shows that the place is thriving. Brick has great atmosphere, and to succeed in a fickle market, you need outside available. Marble could easily do this, and they could eliminate parking spaces around the Marble building to accomodate. As they fix Laura street, do this and expand the sidewalks to allow for this on both sides of the street.

stjr

June 07, 2010, 12:08:35 AM
The downtown restaurants, to survive with young people, NEED OUTDOOR seating.

One option is to just close certain streets altogether at times, such as weekends.  The tables go out on the sidewalks and the street becomes the pedestrian thoroughfare.  New York does this in Little Italy and the restaurants are packed the entire day.

mtraininjax

June 07, 2010, 12:12:29 AM
Sadly, Laura street is a major street in downtown, I'd rather shut it down all together and run north south rail up and down the street and remove the cars, like they do in Denver. But you have to get the restaurants there and thriving before we can justify light rail. Once LR is in place, more restaurants will come and downtown will really begin to thrive, with or without 9-5 workers.

Timkin

June 07, 2010, 12:17:04 AM
Agree with you completely M

stjr

June 07, 2010, 12:21:46 AM
Sadly, Laura street is a major street in downtown

If New York can close Broadway in Times Square and Washington can permanently close Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, we can close Laura or some other Jax street on weekends!   ;)

P.S.  With the current construction, the blocks of Laura are going to be closed in succession every day of the week.  I gather we will weather it OK.

Keith-N-Jax

June 07, 2010, 04:22:56 AM
Well when we get our street cars it will not matter :). Close off Bay and Main and lets do it like we did during the Super Bowl. We should do this more often. Its great to be DT especially along the water front.

thelakelander

June 07, 2010, 06:33:28 AM
They are widening the sidewalks on Laura Street now.  There will be opportunity for restaurants/bars with outdoor seating.  In fact, outdoor seating is proposed for both the Barnett and Laura Trio buildings at street level.  If the Landing gets their parking lot, additional outdoor seating will go up at the corner of Independent and Hogan Streets.  If DVI can find a way to get existing towers to better expose and integrate their street level businesses with the sidewalks, DT's street atmosphere would change overnight.

JeffreyS

June 07, 2010, 08:28:53 AM
BOA's Cafe is on the Luara street side of the building and it would be nice if it opened some outdoor seating.

comncense

June 07, 2010, 08:36:22 AM
I think the widening of the sidewalks is a really good idea but how many more buildings are there along Laura street that could be opened up for ground floor restaurants? Starting from Hemming Plaza down to the Landing, I can't really think of that many vacant buildings that a new restaurant could go into.

thelakelander

June 07, 2010, 08:47:39 AM
BOA, MODIS, Suntrust and the Landing have retailers or retail space at street level.  Along with the Trio/Barnett and Snyder Memorial, Laura Street would look and feel completely different if they all were better integrated at street level. 

comncense

June 07, 2010, 09:01:04 AM
Hmm yeah, I wasn't really thinking about the bank buildings or Modis. I guess I assumed BOA and Suntrust were currently using their ground floor areas. Modis... ehh. Actually Suntrust and Modis would probably be a nice feel now that the roundabout will be there.

Keith-N-Jax

June 07, 2010, 09:02:39 AM
I think so. I just hope they all get on board once the trio is complete.

thelakelander

June 07, 2010, 09:14:48 AM
Hmm yeah, I wasn't really thinking about the bank buildings or Modis. I guess I assumed BOA and Suntrust were currently using their ground floor areas. Modis... ehh. Actually Suntrust and Modis would probably be a nice feel now that the roundabout will be there.

The ground floor of MODIS is essentially a small indoor shopping mall.  There are hair salons, restaurants, jewelry shops and convenience stores in there.  The backs of these places face Laura, Bay and Main Streets.  The Laura Street side of BOA has a restaurant and a gift shop.  Suntrust's ground floor may be occupied (I'm not sure) but the space can accommodate a restaurant or retail at ground level if the opportunity presented itself.  Assuming the Trio project happens, if the city can find a way to encourage the bank towers to establish a visual presence along the sidewalk, there would be continuous activity the entire stretch between the Landing and Hemming Plaza.

comncense

June 07, 2010, 09:21:00 AM
Yeah that would be great if things come together that way. Off topic... I remember going into Modis a while back when I was obsessed about working downtown. It kinda struck me as Normandy Mall'ish inside. But that was years ago... maybe I'm just remembering it wrong.

comncense

June 07, 2010, 09:21:28 AM
Hope that little Westside reference didn't go over anyone's head :D

Traveller

June 07, 2010, 10:51:46 AM
Quote
if the city can find a way to encourage the bank towers to establish a visual presence along the sidewalk

Unfortunately, the management at BofA Tower prohibits any sort of external advertising by its tenants.  The gift shop can get around this restriction somewhat by displaying its wares in the window, but other tenants, like the coffee stand in the lobby or the Skyline cafeteria, are unable to do so.

thelakelander

June 07, 2010, 10:58:51 AM
Sounds like something DVI should attempt to try and work with building management on for the betterment of the surrounding area.

Quote
Hope that little Westside reference didn't go over anyone's head

That reference put the Soul Food Bistro in my head.  Now I'm hungry.

Springfield Girl

June 15, 2010, 10:56:27 AM
Tens of thousands of people work Downtown. How many would spend the night in a cool hotel after a night of drinking, not wanting to risk a drive to the Beach or St. Johns County? I personally love the idea. Even though I live in Springfield I have stayed Downtown for a mini get away. Recently I was out looking at wedding/reception spots with my daughter. As we are intown people she was interested in Downtown sites, especially the library. There just are not any ideal spots for an outdoor wedding/indoor reception at this time though, so we went with the Casa Monica in St Augustine. The Bank Hotel would fill this void and be a great location for functions, as well as being a classy destination for a night out on the town. I hope this development happens. Finally Downtown is happening and The Bank Hotel will be a destination.

Timkin

June 15, 2010, 03:45:31 PM
A beautiful destination may I just add...

Arlingtondude

July 02, 2010, 04:33:47 PM
I noticed in the renderings that the lobby will be like the original grand banking hall. If you look at current pictures of the original lobby, it has been entirely gutted. Will the original lobby be totally recreated? Why was the original lobby/banking hall demolished in the first place?

Timkin

July 02, 2010, 05:07:56 PM
Was this not when Cameron Kuhn acquired the properties that the interior gutting was done?

comncense

July 27, 2010, 09:57:17 AM
Any movement or recent news on this?

Captain Zissou

July 27, 2010, 10:00:21 AM
I think the initial time-line was 3 months until anything significant is decided.  Now they're looking at funding.  We should know at the end of August. 

danem

April 05, 2011, 11:13:30 AM
This story from summer fascinated me. I'm curious to know what the news on this was, if any?

duvaldude08

April 05, 2011, 11:20:23 AM
I think the whole issue is funding. If Im not mistaken they ran out of time, but they are still looking.

billy

April 05, 2011, 11:54:12 AM
Isn't the property (all of the Laura Street trio)back on the market?
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