Barnett Bank and Laura Trio Plan Announced

May 26, 2010 360 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

A major plan to revitalize four of Jacksonville's most historic structures was announced yesterday at a press conference at city hall. The development team plans to convert these long empty buildings into residential, commercial, and boutique hotel space.

The Laura Street corridor from The Jacksonville Landing to Hemming Plaza. The city is currently in the process of constructing streetscape improvement along the length of this corridor. Currently, there is no major destination for people to walk north to along this corridor after work hours. The Laura Trio and Barnett provides a reason for the average person to walk up Laura Street from The Landing.

The view from West Adams Street, just outside of Chew Restaurant. Across the street will be the main entrance and bellstand of The Bank Hotel (old Barnett Bank Headquarters). Across North Laura Street is the new residential and retail building that will be constructed adjacent to the Florida Life Building.

A floor-by-floor diagram of The Bank Hotel, which will be a bank-themed hotel, where guests will check in with a teller, and will be staying in "vaults". Floors 1 & 2 will be the lobby of the hotel, which will feature a restaurant and bar. The third floor will be hotel offices, the fitness center, and several guest rooms. Floors 4-10 will be hotel rooms, with 11-15 being residential units. Floors 16 and 17 will be hotel suites, and Floor 18 will be an upstairs bar for the hotel.

Vew of the Trio from North Laura Street. Starting on the left, you see a new residential and retail building that will be built and connected with the historic but small-footprint Florida Life Building to form a residential and retail building with a much larger footprint. The restored Marble Bank building sits at the corner of West Forsyth and North Laura is intended for an upscale restaurant.

The proposed site plan indicates that a mixture of retail and restaurant spaces will line the entire Laura Street corridor and the base of the existing and proposed structures.

The existing space between the Florida Life and Marble Bank buildings will become a ground level outdoor dining courtyard at street level. An Entry Garden will serve as The Trio's focal point along Adams Street. In addition to these spaces, the proposed Trio Lofts building will include a rooftop garden terrace, eight stories above the intersection of Laura & Adams Streets.


The Marble Bank will be converted to an upscale restaurant named "The Marble Bank Steakhouse".

Previous Redevelopment Concepts

Over the years, the Barnett and Laura Trio buildings have unfortunately been the place development dreams have come to die. What follows are several redevelopment concepts that have failed over the last decade.

In 2003, the Downtown Development Authority approved $18 million in loans and grants for Signet Development Ltd. to renovate the Bisbee, Florida Life and Marble Bank buildings into what would be called Laura Place. Plans included converting the historic buildings into loft apartments, offices and 5,000 square feet of retail space. In addition, a 278-space garage and a pocket park would have been constructed at the intersection of Laura and Adams Streets. Redevelopment plans died a year later when the city and Signet agree to an amicable split due to market changes.

Signet's plans included a 278-space parking garage and pocket park along Adams Street.

Also in 2003, throwing money into the streets, Mike Langton announces plans to convert the Barnett Building into 80 boutique hotel rooms, 75 loft apartments, a bank branch office and a five-star restaurant. Plans died a year later when Langton and the city can not agree on giving the developer $12 million in loans and grants to move the project forward.

The Police & Fire Pension Fund's proposed 600-space garage along Adams Street.

In 2006, the Police & Fire Pension Fund's plans for the Laura Trio involved converting the Laura Trio into office and bank space. In addition, a 600-space L-shaped parking garage with street level retail would have been constructed around the Laura Trio. Later that year, the Fund sold the Laura Trio buildings to the Kuhn Companies for $6 million.

The Police & Fire Pension Fund's Laura Trio development along Laura Street.

Cameron Kuhn's One12 (Barnett Bank Building).

In 2007, the Kuhn Companies proposed renovating the Barnett Bank Building into a condominium project called One12.  With pricing starting at just under $200,000, the 126-unit condominium development would have featured 12,000 square feet of retail/commercial space on the first two levels. Kuhn's plans also included the construction of a 10-level, 600-space parking garage to the west of the Laura Trio buildings. After gutting the structures, the real estate market collapsed leading the the foreclosure of Jacksonville's most historically significant skyscrapers.