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The Laura Street Facade Grant Program

In an effort to bring virbancy and life to the downtown core, Downtown Vision has recently announced a $100,000 matching facade grant program to encourage immediate private sector redevelopment along the Laura Street streetscape program currently under construction. Today, Metro Jacksonville shares the details of this pilot program.

Published March 25, 2011 in News      20 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

Quote
Downtown Vision, Inc. (DVI), the Downtown Improvement District, created a façade improvement grant program for Laura Street from Monroe Street to Independent Drive to leverage the public investment in the Laura Street Streetscape Improvement Project, stimulate private investment and enhance the pedestrian environment of the corridor. The program is designed to provide an economic incentive for private property and business owners to improve building facades and make their storefronts more attractive, which will help to bring more people Downtown.

Downtown Vision allocated $100,000 to provide matching grant funds for the program.  The vision of the program is to increase the vitality of Laura Street.  Placemaking elements desired include more outdoor cafés, improved signage, increased shade, exterior lighting, landscaping and public art.  The grant program is designed as a pilot program to demonstrate that strategic and focused efforts in a concentrated area with a relatively small financial commitment will significantly improve the pedestrian environment.  

Façade grant programs are an established best practice from cities throughout the country.
http://www.downtownjacksonville.org

The application deadline for this pilot facade grant program is Tuesday, May 31, 2011.




If successful, the hope is that Laura Street will be transformed into an atmosphere similar to the image above.

Facade Improvement Grant Program Guidelines










A view of Laura Street as it stands today.


Application Procedure & Grant Process















For more information: Downtown Vision: Laura Street Facade Grant


Metro Jacksonville's Take


The Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City

The Laura Street Grant Program appears to be a solid step by DVI to entice existing businesses and building owners to improving the atmosphere along downtown's premier urban street.  However, we would also suggest going one step further by aggressively working to alleviate the existing regulations and policies that stymie market rate creativity within the downtown core.

Article by Ennis Davis







20 Comments

Captain Zissou

March 25, 2011, 09:45:59 AM
I hope people take advantage of this program, as it is technically 'free' money.  The Landing should definitely jump on this.  This could help them to address the streets around the Landing better.  Especially if Hogan wins, I imagine one of the first things he will do is sell the Landing the land underneath it and give them their dedicated parking.  He owes it to Sleiman after all Sleiman did for his campaign. 

I also hope BOA, Modis, and Suntrust buildings will take advantage.  They need to address the street, and this could give them a needed boost to do that.  Ron Chamblin and Jerry Moran could also use this to spruce up what they have.  I hope Magnificat takes advantage, because I think that place looks like crap. 

Non-RedNeck Westsider

March 25, 2011, 09:48:56 AM
Jerry would use his money to install surveillance cameras and high powered water jets so he could sit in his office sipping a nice bordeaux and spraying unsuspecting panhandlers and homeless passer-bys.  ;D 

wsansewjs

March 25, 2011, 10:07:18 AM
They shouldn't just go "HAY EVERYONE, YES YOU BUSINESS IN LAURA DISTRICT. WE HAS FREEEEE MONEY. JUST FILL OUT THIS FORM AND GO FIND SOMETHING TO MAKE IT PRETTY"

Instead of just throwing money out, they should actually consult with the businesses to SEE what are things they can pay to make Laura Street area pretty AND help the business at same time, therefore it would help the business grow, then they would generate enough revenue to reinvest back into the Laura Street area by adding MORE things like pretty glowing signs, jazz music performer on the street, etc etc.

This is going to fail miserably.

-Josh

Captain Zissou

March 25, 2011, 11:22:41 AM
^ Did you read the article Josh??

Building owners, or a majority tenant, must meet with DVI and a design consultant multiple times before they are given approval.  The types of the things that the grants will cover are fairly specific as well.  I thought they were almost too strict.  I think the regulations may prevent people from utilizing the free money.  I hope multiple business take advantage of what is being offered.

finehoe

March 25, 2011, 11:25:45 AM
Four words:  Too little, too late.

wsansewjs

March 25, 2011, 11:27:38 AM
^ Did you read the article Josh??

Building owners, or a majority tenant, must meet with DVI and a design consultant multiple times before they are given approval.  The types of the things that the grants will cover are fairly specific as well.  I thought they were almost too strict.  I think the regulations may prevent people from utilizing the free money.  I hope multiple business take advantage of what is being offered.

You have caught me. I did skim through the article. You actually got the point I was trying to get across is that the regulations on the grant is so strict and narrow. I was trying to being comical.

Credits goes to you and shame on me. +1

Also, why you deleted my photo, Lunican?

-Josh

PeeJayEss

March 25, 2011, 01:41:57 PM
They shouldn't just go "HAY EVERYONE, YES YOU BUSINESS IN LAURA DISTRICT. WE HAS FREEEEE MONEY. JUST FILL OUT THIS FORM AND GO FIND SOMETHING TO MAKE IT PRETTY"

Its also not exactly free money. You can get up to $1500 for free. Everything over that (up to max of $20,000) is matching funds. So you have to put up $20,000 to get $20,000 (or perhaps $18,500 to get $20,000, since the first $1500 is free, but nonetheless private money needs to be invested as well). Still a great deal for anyone that utilizes it, if you ask me. Actually, I think its a great deal to improve your business by investing in letter people know there is a business there, even without the matching grant money.

urbaknight

March 25, 2011, 02:16:10 PM
Magnificat should really do something with that ugly signboard on the roof, even if it's just some kind of pretty mural. Just trim that tree bach a little bit and you'll be able to see it fine.

fsujax

March 25, 2011, 02:19:48 PM
I wonder if would be against the sign ordinance to rehab that old sign on top of the Magnificat, I think it would be cool all lit up at night.

PeeJayEss

March 25, 2011, 02:30:53 PM
I wonder if would be against the sign ordinance to rehab that old sign on top of the Magnificat, I think it would be cool all lit up at night.

it would be shway if that place had the traffic to stay open on weekends and more than a couple hours on weekdays. I'd like to go there.

johnnyroadglide

March 25, 2011, 02:57:44 PM
I wonder if would be against the sign ordinance to rehab that old sign on top of the Magnificat, I think it would be cool all lit up at night.

Jax Ord Code 656.1335 (downtown overlay) paragraph d states:
The compatibility of the type of illumination, if any, with the type illumination in the surrounding area. A reverse channel letter that silhouettes the sign against a lighted building is desirable. Lighting of a sign should accompanied by accent lighting of the building's distinctive architectural features and especially the facade area surrounding the sign. Lighted signs on unlit buildings are unacceptable. The objective is a visual lighting emphasis on the building with the lighted sign as subordinate. The following types of sign illumination shall not be permitted:

(1) Exposed fluorescent lighting other than neon;

(2) Exposed quartz, high or low pressure sodium mercury vapor, or metal halide lighting;

(3) Exposed incandescent lamps, other than low-wattage, purely decorative lighting;

(4) Signs projected onto the surface of a building.

fsujax

March 25, 2011, 03:12:15 PM
sings projected onto buildings needs to be done away with.

futurejax

March 25, 2011, 03:15:25 PM
Great Initiative.  This is the kind of creative planning that goes a long way towards a brighter, vibrant dt.

JeffreyS

March 25, 2011, 03:16:24 PM
I like when the glass Buildings like BOA have the Jumbo tron style displays shining though the glass.  That could attract attention to the General store, Dry Cleaners, Coffee shop and restaurants inside.  Same for the building formerly known as Modis. Create some life and movement on the street.

hillary supporter

March 25, 2011, 03:47:38 PM
The Laura Street Facade Grant Program



In an effort to bring virbancy and life to the downtown core, Downtown Vision has recently announced a $100,000 matching facade grant program to encourage immediate private sector redevelopment along the Laura Street streetscape program currently under construction.  Today, Metro Jacksonville shares the details of this pilot program.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2011-mar-the-laura-street-facade-grant-program
Says it all, good luck to those merchants!

krazeeboi

March 25, 2011, 10:45:31 PM
Does Laura Street have a lot of buildings with faux facades?

thelakelander

March 25, 2011, 11:03:31 PM
Not really.  The majority of the structures are either historic buildings or modern office towers.  The office towers have retail spaces that aren't well integrated with the street and a few of the historic structures are vacant.  Better signage, transparent windows at street level, outdoor dining and lighting would be a huge change in scenery along Laura Street.

urbanlibertarian

March 29, 2011, 09:52:28 AM
From the Financial News and Daily Record:

Quote
by Max Marbut

Staff Writer

As the Laura Street construction project moves toward its completion at Monroe Street, the next phase of the transformation of the four blocks from Hemming Plaza to the Landing is under way.

Friday morning, landscape architect Chris Flagg met with Ron Chamblin, owner of Chamblin’s Uptown bookstore and cafe, to talk about redesigning the front of the building. Also on hand were Downtown Vision Inc. Executive Director Terry Lorince and Director of District Service Amy Harrell.

The meeting was the first of a series with Laura Street property owners to begin redesigning the storefronts to complement the street and sidewalk improvements.

Whole article here: http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/downtowntoday.php?dt_date=2011-03-28

fsujax

March 29, 2011, 10:06:20 AM
I sure as heck hope Chamblin doesnt install those horrible roll down doors. Unless they are hidden, somehow.

JoeMerchant

March 29, 2011, 10:14:28 AM
Well, since they are using only one design consultant, a landscape architect, on this project for anyone wanting the grant money, let's hope he has a great vision because his is the only one we will be seeing.
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