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The Evolution of the Arlington Expressway

The Arlington Expressway served as a key component of local post World War II infrastructure investments that forever altered the growth patterns of Jacksonville. Today, Metro Jacksonville's Ennis Davis takes a look at the expressway's life as Jacksonville's first major suburban commercial corridor.

Published January 31, 2013 in Neighborhoods      83 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

The Arlington Expressway is a part of State Road 115, which was developed by the Jacksonville Expressway Authority as an alternative to US 1 during the 1950s. Prior to its construction, what is now known as Arlington, was a network of small rural communities by the names of Floral Bluff, Eggleston, Clifton, Chaseville, and Gilmore.  It was an area known more for its moonshine stills than the ranch houses that line its streets today.


The Mathews Bridge under construction. Built between 1951 and 1953, it was dedicated to Judge Mathews who had advocated building the bridge since the early 1930s. It measures 7,382 feet long, and consists of six main panels and 59 approach spans.
Courtesy of the State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/167040


During the efforts to advance the expressway system from paper to reality, Arlington land owners opposed the concept without the inclusion of a new high level bridge connecting their area with downtown Jacksonville.  In 1946, an agreement was reached and in 1950, what's now known as the Mathews Bridge, became to first project to break ground.  After it's completion in 1953, the fortunes of Arlington immediately changed.  First, taking advantage of the roadway infrastructure coming his way, William R. Cesery, Sr. helped kick off post World War II growth in Arlington with the 1951 development of the Lake Lucina subdivision and Cesery Road. In addition to Cesery's development, the Alderman Realty Company, who's Arlington roots dated back to 1914, would soon move forward with the development of additional neighborhoods such as Alderman Park.


Aerial view overlooking the Arlington Plaza shopping center at the intersection of Arlington Road and Arlington Expressway in 1957. Courtesy of the State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/166918

By 1955, two years after its completion, 19,000 cars were crossing the bridge daily. That same year, Town & Country Shopping Center and Arlington Plaza opened adjacent to the expressway, fueling commercial development to serve Arlington's mushrooming population. Town & Country Shopping Center at Chaseville Highway (now University Boulevard) was developed by Benjamin Setzer and anchored by Setzer's first Pic 'N Save store. Anchored by W.T. Grant, Arlington Plaza at Arlington Road was developed by Sam Morris Spevak.  Spevak would go on to develop Jacksonville's Gateway Shopping Center a few years later.

By 1961, over 50,000 new residents had made Arlington their new home. With 26,500 cars crossing the Mathews daily, additional plans were underway by the Expressway Authority to feed traffic into its toll bridge.  This work came in the form of a $25 million feeder road program during the 1960s.  Under this program, Cesery Boulevard, Rogero Road, and Arlington Road were widened to four lanes.


Regency Square Mall shortly after opening.

The feeder roadway infrastructure projects helped fuel additional growth and development along the Arlington Expressway, paving the way for the construction of Martin Stein's Regency Square Mall. Opening its doors in 1967 to 25,000 shoppers, the $12 million shopping center replaced Gateway as Jacksonville's largest regional mall.  Anchoring the expressway's intersection with Atlantic Boulevard, the mall stimulated major infill commercial and multifamily development between it and the Mathews Bridge during the 1970s.  Soon, signs like the Thunderbird Motor Hotel, Holiday Inn East, Publix, Expressway Mall, Les Chateau Apartments and The Oaks office park lined the congested highway.



Mobility problems we deal with today also came from decisions made during this era.  Many of the expressway's intersections were converted to grade separated interchanges to reduce traffic collisions.  However, two proposed overpasses, at Townsend Boulevard and Arlingwood Avenue were not constructed due to opposition from nearby residents.  Their thought process was that an overpass connecting these roadways would ultimately lead to the four laning of them through their neighborhoods.  Instead, access to Townsend Boulevard and Arlingwood Avenue was eliminated, meaning traffic was forced to travel a mile in either direction to cross the expressway.  As a result, this section of the expressway has become known for its high rate of pedestrian/vehicular conflicts.


A day at the Thunderbird's swimming pool.

The 1980s became a decade of change for the expressway's commercial corridor.  By this time, Cesery had developed more than 2,000 homes and hundreds of apartments throughout the neighborhood, including Jacksonville's first "garden apartments" since the 1951 Lake Lucina project. However, what was once new became aged as new suburban development spread east of Regency Square Mall and competing suburban areas such as Baymeadows spring to life.  One by one, over the next decade, many long time businesses, like Steak n' Ale, Chi Chi's, Arlington Toyota, Calico Jack's and Red Lobster, either shut down or relocated their expressway locations to trendier areas of new suburban growth.  Virtually empty, the Alrington Expressway's Expressway Mall, the site of the first Publix in Jacksonville, was completely demolished in 2006.  For many years, it had been anchored by Publix, Burlington Coat Factory, and Cinema I & II Theaters.

Today, the Arlington Expressway corridor is in need of an economic makeover.  While there are challenges, it's design and density of adjacent land uses, create great potential for a transit friendly corridor between Regency Square Mall and downtown.  For a city with dreams of implementing Bus Rapid Transit, the Arlington Expressway's service roads are one area in town where such an experiment makes sense and could be affordably implemented.


Arlington Expressway Sights & Scenes


The cosmetic design of bridges is something we've forgotten locally in modern times.  Here, the 1950's design of the University Boulevard overpass pays homage to the Art Deco style.


Seven years before Sam Walton opened his first Walmart, Jacksonville's Benjamin Setzer and his partners, opened the first Pic 'N Save in Arlington's Town & Country Shopping Center, a Setzer real estate development, in 1955. Pic 'N Save would go on to grow into a 40 store chain employing over 3,000 before filing for bankruptcy in 1995. During the shopping center's best days, it had a movie theater, beauty salons, clothing and shoe stores.  After Pic 'N Save's departure, Winn-Dixie opened a $2 million store in 1997 which has since closed.


Constructed in 1975, 900 Arlington is one of many office buildings along the Arlington Expressway corridor.


930 University dates back to 1961.


This closed 270 room hotel, between University and Cesery Boulevards, opened in 1964 as a Holiday Inn.  A popular location for conferences and social activities during its heyday, for many years it was the Thunderbird Motor Hotel.  The Thunderbird was an Indian-themed chain that represented a carefree time after the war, when young families were in search of fun and entertainment. In the late 1980s, it became a Ramada Inn.  However, the 1990s saw hotel growth shift from the Arlington area to the Southside, causing a decline in business.  The hotel closed for good in 2002.


Located on Cesery Boulevard near the banks of the Arlington River, 644 Cesery Boulevard was originally occupied by the Cesery Corporation.


The former location of Meadows Develoment Company.


Now the Arlington Retirement Villas, this building dates back to 1961 and for many years was known as the Quality Inn of Arlington.


The notorious Regency Inn was the Royal Inn Motor Lodge when the motel opened in 1971.  For many years, it was the Ramada Inn East.


The Arlington Professional Center was completed in 1973 and features nearly 60,000 square feet of office space.


Originally constructed with service roads similar to Southside Boulevard, grade separated crossings at Cesery Boulevard and Arlington Road were added later to help reduce accidents and congestion during the 1960s.


The Arlington Plaza was built in 1955 by Sam Morris Spevak. Today, it's mostly vacant.


During the 1990s, there were over 200 Quincy's Steakhouses, including in this Arlington Plaza outparcel on Arlington Road.  It was perhaps most notable for it's yeast rolls, which were allegedly based on a recipe by Hardee's founder Wilbur Hardee. In 1970, inspired by the successful Ponderosa chain, Alvin A. McCall, Jr. started his own, Western Family Steak House, most of which took the name Quincy's in 1976. The first restaurant was in Greenville,SC. In 1977, McCall sold his interest in Quincy's to what would become Trans World Corporation, and started Ryan's Steakhouse. Today, there are only three Quincy's Steakhouses left.


Between 1968 and 1973, several large apartment complexes were constructed along the expressway's service roads.  Located at Arlington Expressway and Arlington Road, Arlington Village was completed in 1969.


City Ridge Apartment Homes welcomed its first residents in 1972.


A new JTA handicapped accessible bus stop between the expressway and service drive.  Several areas along this corridor lack sidewalks, creating a dangerous environment for those living in the immediate area.




The Unitarian Universalist Church


Red Lobster opened at 7707 Arlington Expressway in 1972.  Part of Orlando-based Darden Restaurants, the first Red Lobster Restaurant opened in Lakeland, FL in 1968. Relocating to Regency Square Boulevard in 2003, it was one of the last original chains to abandon the expressway.


Arlington Expressway's former TGI Friday's Restaurant opened here in 1982.


The Oaks Office Park's three 100,000 square foot buildings were constructed between 1972 and 1975.  For many years, the US Department of Justice (FBI) offices were here.  In recent years, the Concorde Career Institute, a college specializing in health care training, as operated as the only tenant in one of the buildings.  However, Concorde is slated to move to a new 45,000 square foot building off the Southside's Salisbury Road in March 2013.


Dating back to 1959, for many years, the Kings Inn was known as Holiday Inn East.


The 195,000 square foot Expressway Mall was located here before being torn down in 2006. For many years, Publix and Burlington Coat Factory anchored the mall.  Calico Jacks Oyster Bar also operated a space outside of the mall between 1985 and 1997. The Publix was one of the first two stores the chain opened in Jacksonville in 1971.  Both Publix and Burlington Coat Factory abandoned the mall in Summer 1995.


8445 Arlington Expressway was the home of Arlington Toyota from 1969 to 1999.  Like many long time Arlington Expressway businesses, growth in East Arlington resulted in the car dealership abandoning the aging property for newer digs further east on Atlantic Boulevard.


This building at 8324 Arlington Expressway was one of 36 Jax Liquors stores owned by Donald William Tredinick when it opened in 1973.  Tredinick opened his first store in 1941 on Broad Street in downtown Jacksonville.  In 1990, he sold the chain to Orlando-based ABC Liquors.  Before he passed in 2003, his company's focus was the development of the 154-acre Regency Commerce Center, north of Regency Square Mall. ABC Liquors sold this Arlington Expressway property in 2000.


Steak and Ale Restaurant's former location at 8350 Arlington Expressway. Completed in 1972, this restaurant was closed well before the entire chain shutdown in 2008.


Jax Lanes, Inc. constructed this building at 8550 Arlington Expressway as a bowling alley in 1958.   Long closed, Jax Lanes Real Properties Ltd. sold the property to Jacksonville Christian Center, Inc. in 2004 for $1.22 million.


Amazingly, downtown Jacksonville's Sears store didn't die.  Instead, it relocated to Regency Square Mall in 1981. Regency Square's expansion not only negatively impacted downtown.  It also drained business from Arlington Expressway's Town & Country Shopping Center, Arlington Plaza, and Expressway Mall.  In a weird twist of fate, Jacksonville's continued outward growth has now sucked the life out of Regency Square Mall as well.



The Arlington Expressway's story is one seen in Jacksonville and several other areas across the country.  As suburban retail corridors age, newer areas come to life at their expense.  What does this say for the future of our current suburban retail hotspots?  

Article by Ennis Davis







83 Comments

Mathew1056

January 31, 2013, 06:54:57 AM
I think eventually it all will come full circle. Downtown lost out to Regency. Regency is losing out to The Town Center, but I think the winds are changing in favor of downtown again. Consumers eventually become aware of the Disneyis quality of suburban shopping centers. It is my belief that Town Center property has peaked in returns. Adding more apartments and shops, without public transit, only makes it that much less enjoyable to go there. It's the cheap property in transitioning neighborhoods that offers some excitement in this city. 

thelakelander

January 31, 2013, 07:03:02 AM
I don't think Downtown's/the urban core's true competition is SJTC (which I don't believe has already peaked).  Suburban shopping centers come a dime a dozen across America.  These places can co-exist, just like they do in other places. 

Mathew1056

January 31, 2013, 08:20:29 AM
I get your point. The Town Center serves its purpose and downtown gives what it has to offer. But I do think there is a zero-sum aspect to outgrowth areas becoming stylish and then tarnishing. Are high-end stores going to continue there push to edge-cites, leaving a path of outmoded structures in their wake? Will it become increasingly inconvenient for people who choose to live a Town Center lifestyle to see the value in downtown? Has consolidation handed the fate of downtown to the people who could careless the most? Downtown has to become attractive for everyone in this community to travel and spend money at. The urban core should house the high-end boutiques currently at the Town Center, but it seems that the Jacksonville market is to small for competing regional retail centers. Sure, put a Target or a Publix downtown, that isn't going to hurt the SJTC, but attracting high fashion names would be troubling for the mall. Take Miami's Design District for instance. It is starting to pull stores out of Bal Harbor, one of the more upscale malls in the region. The Town Center has an expiration date.

thelakelander

January 31, 2013, 08:35:05 AM
I get your point. The Town Center serves its purpose and downtown gives what it has to offer. But I do think there is a zero-sum aspect to outgrowth areas becoming stylish and then tarnishing. Are high-end stores going to continue there push to edge-cites, leaving a path of outmoded structures in their wake?

Stores will go to where the demographics exist to support their profit model.  That could be in the burbs, the urban core or both.  However, right now our urban core (this is much larger than just downtown) isn't well enough to support the demographic model of many of the retailers at SJTC.

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Will it become increasingly inconvenient for people who choose to live a Town Center lifestyle to see the value in downtown?

This is something I think we put too much focus on.  Downtown was never the epicenter of commerce for people living in Baymeadows, Gate Parkway, etc.  DT was already going down the tubes or dead when these places came online.  DT's best bet is to first redevelop as an epicenter for the urban core neighborhoods surrounding it, like it historically was.

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Has consolidation handed the fate of downtown to the people who could careless the most? Downtown has to become attractive for everyone in this community to travel and spend money at.

Consolidation hasn't hurt Philly, New Orleans, San Francisco, Nashville, Indianapolis, etc.  I don't think we can totally pin downtown not being a regional shopping mecca on consolidation.

Quote
The urban core should house the high-end boutiques currently at the Town Center, but it seems that the Jacksonville market is to small for competing regional retail centers. Sure, put a Target or a Publix downtown, that isn't going to hurt the SJTC, but attracting high fashion names would be troubling for the mall.

Why should the urban core house the high-end boutiques currently at SJTC? If there is money to be made in a downtown location, they'd be there.  If SJTC wasn't there, they'd probably be at the Avenues before DT.

Quote
Take Miami's Design District for instance. It is starting to pull stores out of Bal Harbor, one of the more upscale malls in the region. The Town Center has an expiration date.

Metro Miami has over 5 million residents and a tourism base that's much larger.  Bal Harbor may be suffering from something that has little to do with the Design District (I'm not sure, I'd have to study that market a bit more).  However, while the Design District increases in popularity, it doesn't appear that Dadeland, Miracle Mile or South Beach is suffering.

Overstreet

January 31, 2013, 08:48:50 AM
Town Center, Downtown..........I'll go to the one that gives me the closest access to West Marine and REI.

I noticed the style of expressway with access roads, ie Arlingtone Expressway or Southside, has fallen to the way side in favor of true limited access like J. Turner or the multi lane road like San Jose. I welcome that change. I remember a similar Mercury Blvd in Hampton/Newport News that was WAY too complicated. It made it more convienent to get things done elsewhere.

The trend of businesses leaving Arlington Expressway seems to apply to  all of old Arlington. You can see some of the same trend begining in Mandarin at the San Jose/St Augustine around the Kmart. The early stages have the large anchors divided up and replaced by clearance stores and other lower tier retailers.  Also closed empty buildings that were solid franchises like the Wendy's. It is all caused by people moving farther out.

Wacca Pilatka

January 31, 2013, 09:00:36 AM
Very, very well done as usual.  Seeing the old Thunderbird photos was a treat (though sad to think of what the property has become today).  As an aficionado of roadside signage, on my Jacksonville trips I'm always happy to see that there's still an operating Thunderbird in Florence, SC with the classic neon sign pictured above.

gedo3

January 31, 2013, 09:50:53 AM
Having lived (years ago) in Arlington, I particularly enjoyed this article!  And the mention of past history and current events with various buildings was especially informative and interesting.   Thanks for all the hard work and research!

Captain Zissou

January 31, 2013, 10:12:05 AM
You can see some of the same trend begining in Mandarin at the San Jose/St Augustine around the Kmart. The early stages have the large anchors divided up and replaced by clearance stores and other lower tier retailers.  Also closed empty buildings that were solid franchises like the Wendy's. It is all caused by people moving farther out.

I see what you mean, but it may not be the same thing.  K-mart as a whole is fading, as is Books a Million, who (I believe)vacated a shopping center farther south.  Mandarin is not as hot as it once was, but I don't know that it is on the road to decline already.  From what I have seen there is growth amoung local retailers and restaurants in Mandarin that might be able to save the neighborhood.

jecjax@gmail.com

January 31, 2013, 11:25:14 AM
With the close proximity to downtown, I do see the Arlington area coming full circle.  As an Arlington resident, you can still be very close to downtown, have awesome river views and be able to find great affordable older homes.  I'm seeing lots of young married couples getting their starter homes and walking my neighborhood.  Thanks for the memories of what Arlington use to provide to the city and potentially what it could be able to provide again.

TheGeo35

January 31, 2013, 12:45:26 PM
Excellent! I grew up in Arlington in the late 70s and early 80s...The Arlington Expressway was the "Main Street" for me....Lots of memories and back when the neighborhood was relatively safe and vibrant!

tufsu1

January 31, 2013, 01:08:17 PM

Quote
Take Miami's Design District for instance. It is starting to pull stores out of Bal Harbor, one of the more upscale malls in the region. The Town Center has an expiration date.

Metro Miami has over 5 million residents and a tourism base that's much larger.  Bal Harbor may be suffering from something that has little to do with the Design District (I'm not sure, I'd have to study that market a bit more).  However, while the Design District increases in popularity, it doesn't appear that Dadeland, Miracle Mile or South Beach is suffering.

there was an interesting article about high end shops in Miami yesterday....apparently one of the rules Bal Harbour Shops has is that no other outlet of the same brand can be within 20 miles...the owners are now considering relaxing that rule and are also looking to invest in competing centers.

tufsu1

January 31, 2013, 01:09:54 PM
You can see some of the same trend begining in Mandarin at the San Jose/St Augustine around the Kmart. The early stages have the large anchors divided up and replaced by clearance stores and other lower tier retailers.  Also closed empty buildings that were solid franchises like the Wendy's. It is all caused by people moving farther out.

I see what you mean, but it may not be the same thing.  K-mart as a whole is fading, as is Books a Million, who (I believe)vacated a shopping center farther south.  Mandarin is not as hot as it once was, but I don't know that it is on the road to decline already.  From what I have seen there is growth amoung local retailers and restaurants in Mandarin that might be able to save the neighborhood.

Oh I think it is the exact same thing....Mandarin has peaked and is changing (eventually not for the better)...primarily because people have continued to move south and Julington Creek is the new Mandarin.

thelakelander

January 31, 2013, 01:47:50 PM
Mandarin/Baymeadows has definitely peaked.  The major question for these corridors is if we've changed devvelopment wise to keep them from falling like the Arlington Expressway, Edgewood Avenue, Lem Turner corridors that predated them.  I believe older corridors like the Arlington Expressway have a lot of potential and are key to introducing more density and walkability in our suburban areas of town.  However, change will require a massive rewrite of our zoning regulations.

BackinJax05

January 31, 2013, 02:16:37 PM
The Oaks office park was originally built to be the headquarters of Offshore Power Systems (OPS). OPS also had a huge crane out at Blount Island. In one of Jacksonville's many failed business ventures, OPS was going to build floating nuclear power plants at Blount Island (hence the crane), and sell them all over the world.

OPS was to bring in highly skilled labor, and high paying jobs. Sadly, OPS failed. Though I still remember when OPS announced they were planning to locate in Jacksonville, the news was even bigger than when the city was awarded the Jaguars.

BackinJax05

January 31, 2013, 02:19:56 PM
With the close proximity to downtown, I do see the Arlington area coming full circle.  As an Arlington resident, you can still be very close to downtown, have awesome river views and be able to find great affordable older homes.  I'm seeing lots of young married couples getting their starter homes and walking my neighborhood.  Thanks for the memories of what Arlington use to provide to the city and potentially what it could be able to provide again.

Amen!

Like so many other areas that have gone to Hell and back, so, too, can our Arlington!

mbwright

January 31, 2013, 02:33:41 PM
I used to live in Arlingwood.  It was so convenient to DT, and Blue Cross whee I used to work.  You could certainly see that the area was great at one time, and not that long ago.  I would much rather have had everything closer, but the shops along the expressway, and lone star had closed.  Interesting how an area that had shopping, grocery stores, and many other amenities crashes and dies, when you still have the neighborhoods with people living there.  Instead of the Publix on the expressway, or Winn-Dixie on Lonestar and also Town and Country, you had to over to Merril Rd.  I really like the neighborhood a the time. (1998-2004).

thelakelander

January 31, 2013, 03:02:53 PM
Town Center, Downtown..........I'll go to the one that gives me the closest access to West Marine and REI.

I noticed the style of expressway with access roads, ie Arlingtone Expressway or Southside, has fallen to the way side in favor of true limited access like J. Turner or the multi lane road like San Jose. I welcome that change. I remember a similar Mercury Blvd in Hampton/Newport News that was WAY too complicated. It made it more convienent to get things done elsewhere.

The trend of businesses leaving Arlington Expressway seems to apply to  all of old Arlington. You can see some of the same trend begining in Mandarin at the San Jose/St Augustine around the Kmart. The early stages have the large anchors divided up and replaced by clearance stores and other lower tier retailers.  Also closed empty buildings that were solid franchises like the Wendy's. It is all caused by people moving farther out.

From a land use perspective, I prefer the Arlington Expressway's service drive concept over JTBs and San Jose Boulevard style arterial design.  It's essentially a "multiway boulevard" with local (service roads) and express lanes (the expressway) already in place.  You see a lot of this in places like Texas.  This provides you with direct access the entire corridor as opposed to nodes of activity only at interchanges with the expressway.  It also creates the opportunity for a linear corridor featuring a mix of uses with reliable mass transit connectivity.  I could easily see something like BRT being idea for the service drives between Regency Square & Downtown.   Out of all our BRT corridors being considered, I think this one actually makes the most sense from a implementation and supportive land use standpoint.  If envisioned and implemented right, it could become a new face to Arlington providing an environment that no other suburban area in Jacksonville has.....plus it's directly across the river from DT.

Adam W

January 31, 2013, 03:09:52 PM
What was the name of the railway-themed restaurant that was located on the expressway (it was on the right-hand side if you were traveling towards Downtown)? For some reason "Pennsylvania Junction" sounds familiar, but not quite right.

Charles Hunter

January 31, 2013, 03:16:48 PM
Victoria Station - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Station_(restaurant)
Used to enjoy eating there. 

Adam W

January 31, 2013, 03:19:42 PM
Victoria Station - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Station_(restaurant)
Used to enjoy eating there.

Thanks! I remember the buildings were either made out of old boxcars or made to look like they were made of old boxcars. When you're a kid, that's pretty cool. My folks ate there a few times, but never took me...

I-10east

January 31, 2013, 03:28:26 PM
Awesome info Lake. What's some of the skinny concerning the Regency Inn's infamous history?

fieldafm

January 31, 2013, 03:36:58 PM
Awesome info Lake. What's some of the skinny concerning the Regency Inn's infamous history?

You mean, besides being a modern day brothel and opium den?

Steve Ducharme

January 31, 2013, 06:07:43 PM
Nicer article.  One thing not mentioned in regards to the economic decline along the expressway was the almost simultaneous "flight" towards the newer larger more modern housing developments of the  ICW and  beaches to the east and Mandarin to the south by many long time established residents and families.  Consequently, a lot of these homes created a large affordable rental market right across the river just in time to welcome all the displaced low income residents who were squeezed out/fled when the Springfield preservation efforts got under way.  This contributed heavily to a big nosedive in economic vitality on both sides of the expressway.

BackinJax05

January 31, 2013, 07:21:00 PM
Awesome info Lake. What's some of the skinny concerning the Regency Inn's infamous history?

You mean, besides being a modern day brothel and opium den?

The Travel Inn & Kings Inn are the same. Sad, too.  Once upon a time the Travel Inn was a Scottish Inn, an inexpensive but very clean motel. The now pathetic Kings Inn was a Holiday Inn, as mentioned in the article. The Holiday Inn was next door to Offshore Power Systems in the Oaks office complex. Holiday Inn had a restaurant, banquet & meeting space, and the Cellar Lounge bar.

When the Regency Inn was a Ramada Inn, it was a pretty nice place and had the Purple Jester lounge and restaurant.

spuwho

February 01, 2013, 08:34:44 AM
Interesting that everyone seems to attribute the downfall of Arlington retail to suburban flight. I haven't been a lifelong resident, so I never saw what was along the Arlington Expressway during its heyday.

IMHO, there were 2 other impacts to the area.

- Poor planning in the area, allowing new retail centers to be built so closely to existing retail hubs
- What drove this poor planning? Jacksonville's inability to grow its GDP at the same rate as the national rate

Corporate HQ losses, Base closings, shifting of wealth to Orlando & Atlanta, changing transportation modes, all contributed to a net reduction in the greater Jacksonville's economics. This resulted in larger reaches for tax revenue, consolidation, more lax planning to facilitate more retail (and subsequent fees), allowance of ex-urban growth at the expense of urban infill.

I like SJTC, but I still can't understand why the city would allow a developer to build such a large retail hub in such close proximity to 2 others?

Charles Hunter

February 01, 2013, 11:25:58 AM
In this free-market town, if the Planning Dept. were to suggest that a land-owner couldn't do what he wanted with his land, that was properly zoned, just because some Planner thought (for example) a new shopping center was "too close" to an existing one, they would be run out of town as a Socialist Central Planner, depriving some poor down-trodden land-owner from using their own property.

spuwho

February 01, 2013, 09:04:35 PM
In a suburban area I once lived, the city of Oakbrook, IL built an outdoor mall in 1962. (Oakbrook Center) It was considered a wonder and even today it is considered a really great place to shop. It compares somewhat to SJTC today.

However, the City of Lombard, IL was jealous and didn't like the fact that people were driving their shopping dollars (and taxes) to neighboring Oakbrook. So they worked with a developer to have Yorktown Center built in 1968. Yorktown Center looks and feels very much like Regency Center.

These major malls, both regional in size are only 5 miles apart on the same major highway.

By the 1980's, Yorktown was dying. The anchors were leaving. Oakbrook continued to thrive as they added on and brought in higher and higher type of store types. If an anchor left, there was another one waiting in the wings. After being sold several times, Yorktown is beginning to turn itself around in the midscale mall market. What helped is that the general density of surrounding Lombard, Downers Grove and Elmhurst has grown to a point where (barely for Yorktown) it can support 2 major retail hubs so close together.

The fact it survived even while many chains moved into strip mall based storefronts to avoid high rents is still somewhat amazing.

These were 2 competing towns, so they had no inclination to cooperate on zoning, retail planning, etc. It was just city fathers saying, "we want the tax revenue". Yorktown delivers, as it has it own sales tax district just for the mall. 9.25%, where the rest of town is only 8.25%.

Looking back at Jacksonville now, these aren't 2 competing entities fighting for a piece of the sales tax pie from a range of nearby residents. It's one and the same. The Planning and Zoning people do have some say on how land is used in the area. How many times on MJ have I heard about rejected plans for city owned vacant lots downtown?

If I wanted to buy the Laura Trio and turn it into a vertical retail hub, do you think they would approve it? I am not saying it is the right or wrong thing for its use, I am arguing what the priorities would be for the city. Would they say yes at the expense of the Landing which is still trying to get its feet underneath them again? Or is it anything goes, so sorry Charlie (or in this case Sleiman) these guys are the latest 'thing' and nuts to you?

Jacksonville now has 3 major retail hubs less than 12 miles apart from each other. Nocatee TC is going to bleed off Avenues in 5-10 years from the south. River North and STJC is bleeding off Regency.

These sites being so close together will not be sustainable until they start permitting and zoning higher densities in the Southside. It took Yorktown Center almost 20 years before it could recover and nearly died twice. Is this the future of Arlington as well?



thelakelander

February 01, 2013, 09:27:02 PM
If someone proposed a retail center in downtown, without a doubt, it would get approved.  Just look at the talk surrounding various riverfront properties over the last couple of years.  We have a struggling Landing and all some could dream about is having Ben Carter build a SJTC on the Shipyards site.  Go back a few years and we even had the Peyton administration dreaming of creating some type of retail entertainment marketplace on the Southbank, at the expense of the Landing.

Noone

February 01, 2013, 11:32:53 PM
^The expense of the taxpayer. Palms Fish Camp. Shipyards. Just pick your favorite  taxpayer bailout.

Anyone want to kayak and fish under the brand new No Fishing signs that was never before Waterways? Who will restore the Public Trust?

How much of the $11,000,000 is going to Arlington? Arlington is across the river.

I miss Victoria Station. The railroad cars.





Ocklawaha

February 01, 2013, 11:53:26 PM
If someone proposed a retail center in downtown, without a doubt, it would get approved.  Just look at the talk surrounding various riverfront properties over the last couple of years.  We have a struggling Landing and all some could dream about is having Ben Carter build a SJTC on the Shipyards site.  Go back a few years and we even had the Peyton administration dreaming of creating some type of retail entertainment marketplace on the Southbank, at the expense of the Landing.

I think little Johnny might have been onto something.  Since the corporation known as the COJ is owned by the people, it would seem a bold new approach could be the city taking the role of developer.  Imagine taking a 4 block section of mixed buildings downtown and sitting down with teams from respondents to create 'new' out of the old. Repurpose, rebuild, restore, and naturally themed. 

Lake I know you don't care for the big box stores being a trick pony downtown, but I've got a hunch that if we could convince IKEA, BASS PRO, Regal Premium Experience (RPX), an upgraded theater format, etc... and plugging them into buildings such as many of the large historic downtown structures.  Attach fixed route mass transit, remote parking garages, and make it an offer they would want to refuse.

Just say'in but somehow I think it would work and work big.

thelakelander

February 02, 2013, 07:44:07 AM
What you've described would put us $100s of millions in the hole right off the bat and most likely fail for a few reasons.  For example, IKEA isn't coming because this market is too small and they have a couple of stores within a 2-3 drive of here. We'd be fools to pay Bass Pro to take riverfront property off our hands when there is more than enough evidence out there that cities rarely get back what they put in to lure them.  Furthermore, Regal probably has too many Jax theatres already.  Another theatre would have to be subsidized and it would only siphon off business from existing theatres throughout the city, including Five Points and San Marco.

Nevertheless, Peyton's Big Ideas plan didn't involve anything like IKEA, Bass Pro, etc. It was an idea that had some sketches of something like the existing Landing sketched at the location of Friendship Fountain/River City Brewing.  Needless to say, it died a quick death.  I'd go as far to say that this is an example of a public plan that you don't want and that the DIA should avoid.  We don't need city hall to be cherry picking private uses because a few people thinks its a good idea.  The market will decide what ultimately works or not on the private sector side.  We should stick with making sure our public policies aren't serving as obstacles the private sector must overcome to play a larger role in the revitalization of the area.

Mathew1056

February 02, 2013, 09:31:04 AM
Lake, I feel like this goes back to what we were talking about earlier in the thread. I understand that there are a lot of statistics and demographics that are researched before a large private business moves into a given area. I may have exaggerated my point when I said that SJTC property has peaked. I still think that the TC of today will be the Regency Square of tomorrow. A tarnishing day lies in its future. It only takes the biggest or newest thing to hit, lets say Nocatee, and the herds move on south. UNF will be the real anchor for that area, but I'm sure that's what Arlington businesses thought with JU. We have seen other cities in the southeast embrace their urban neighborhoods and downtown areas with returns. The bones exist here to create something great. Investment will happen one day, with the right legislative bodies in place.

Quote
What you've described would put us $100s of millions in the hole right off the bat and most likely fail for a few reasons.  For example, IKEA isn't coming because this market is too small and they have a couple of stores within a 2-3 drive of here. We'd be fools to pay Bass Pro to take riverfront property off our hands when there is more than enough evidence out there that cities rarely get back what they put in to lure them.

An IKEA may be out of range, but I would have no problem with something like Target or Publix on Adams St. next to the Freeway. Get people used to coming downtown to shop. I definitely don't think we should be giving up riverfront property. I don't see why the city shouldn't give up some of the land it owns in LaVilla near 95. They gutted the land and all its charm, put something on it already.   

Quote
Furthermore, Regal probably has too many Jax theatres already.  Another theatre would have to be subsidized and it would only siphon off business from existing theatres throughout the city, including Five Points and San Marco.

Isn't this a zero-sum game right here? Isn't this communities and shopping centers vying for business? I don't think a movie theater downtown would hurt existing cinemas. Each location you cited ares small and offer food. These places operate by catering to customers. I think a cinema the size of Regal would have even less of an effect on neighborhood businesses. It seems like two different types of customer demographics.

spuwho

February 02, 2013, 01:23:30 PM
Lake has a good point however, any downtown development will probably just siphon off customers from other parts of Jacksonville. And that refers to the point I was trying to make.

The Jacksonville market can only support so many retail hubs before you reach saturation. Any new development simply drains off the others.

Using my mall example earlier, it could be 20-30 years before the surrounding densities can be built to support so many choices.

Jacksonville is growing, but its not growing fast enough to support so much retail development.

Another thread made light of whether the urban core needed people first, or the destination first. In the case of Jacksonville, it most definitely needs people first. Jacksonville is over served and needs more people in less square miles downtown before another retail development is considered.

Ocklawaha

February 02, 2013, 01:46:53 PM
Lake, you totally missed the point of my post.

1. First, we identify a large chunk of land downtown.

2. Have the DIA and CofC put out a few RFI's or RFP's

3. Sit down with the groups/businesses and coordinate a focused effort for  a themed few blocks.

4. Put together the incentive package, including: parking, streetcar or Skyway.

In short, go way beyond the normal approach that 'business will decide the future,' by becoming the development engine. I used Ikea, Bass Pro and Regal as examples. In reality it might work to pull in a hotel, several retail shops, grocery, etc.  Go after them using the argument that there is strength in numbers. LaVilla, Stadium District, Laura Trio/Barnett, and more come to mind as blank slates where the city could partner and guide the process.

stephendare

February 02, 2013, 02:10:50 PM
Lake, you totally missed the point of my post.

1. First, we identify a large chunk of land downtown.

2. Have the DIA and CofC put out a few RFI's or RFP's

3. Sit down with the groups/businesses and coordinate a focused effort for  a themed few blocks.

4. Put together the incentive package, including: parking, streetcar or Skyway.

In short, go way beyond the normal approach that 'business will decide the future,' by becoming the development engine. I used Ikea, Bass Pro and Regal as examples. In reality it might work to pull in a hotel, several retail shops, grocery, etc.  Go after them using the argument that there is strength in numbers. LaVilla, Stadium District, Laura Trio/Barnett, and more come to mind as blank slates where the city could partner and guide the process.

In fact this was the winning strategy for several cities, most notably Indianapolis.

thelakelander

February 02, 2013, 03:25:36 PM
I guess I was confused but only so because of this initial statement:

If someone proposed a retail center in downtown, without a doubt, it would get approved.  Just look at the talk surrounding various riverfront properties over the last couple of years.  We have a struggling Landing and all some could dream about is having Ben Carter build a SJTC on the Shipyards site.  Go back a few years and we even had the Peyton administration dreaming of creating some type of retail entertainment marketplace on the Southbank, at the expense of the Landing.

I think little Johnny might have been onto something.  Since the corporation known as the COJ is owned by the people, it would seem a bold new approach could be the city taking the role of developer..... 

Lake I know you don't care for the big box stores being a trick pony downtown, but I've got a hunch that if we could convince IKEA, BASS PRO, Regal Premium Experience (RPX), an upgraded theater format, etc... and plugging them into buildings such as many of the large historic downtown structures.  Attach fixed route mass transit, remote parking garages, and make it an offer they would want to refuse.

Just say'in but somehow I think it would work and work big.

^This is completely different from what's described below:

Lake, you totally missed the point of my post.

1. First, we identify a large chunk of land downtown.

2. Have the DIA and CofC put out a few RFI's or RFP's

3. Sit down with the groups/businesses and coordinate a focused effort for a themed few blocks.

4. Put together the incentive package, including: parking, streetcar or Skyway.

In short, go way beyond the normal approach that 'business will decide the future,' by becoming the development engine. I used Ikea, Bass Pro and Regal as examples. In reality it might work to pull in a hotel, several retail shops, grocery, etc.  Go after them using the argument that there is strength in numbers. LaVilla, Stadium District, Laura Trio/Barnett, and more come to mind as blank slates where the city could partner and guide the process.

In your second statement, this does not describe what Peyton's Big Ideas plan was (it's actually the opposite) and this isn't playing the role of a developer.  This would be an example of using public policy and assets in a manner to enable quality market rate development.  In this case, the city doesn't determine if the final use private sector use should be a hotel, IKEA or whatever.  Instead, the city makes it easier for the private sector to develop a project that fits into the city's overall goal of what it envisions the area's future atmosphere to be.  For example, COJ issues an RFP for a site in hopes of landing commercial development.  Whatever group responding to the RFP plays the role of determining the best specific uses for the site (which is where the actual market and demographics start to come into play).  On top of that, you then have a DIA, DRRB, etc. to work with the developer in an effort to properly shape the project's design, etc. I actually think this may be taking place with some of the recent decisions by Mayor Brown (ex. LaVilla RFP, $9 million for downtown projects, etc.).

thelakelander

February 02, 2013, 03:42:34 PM
Lake has a good point however, any downtown development will probably just siphon off customers from other parts of Jacksonville. And that refers to the point I was trying to make.

The Jacksonville market can only support so many retail hubs before you reach saturation. Any new development simply drains off the others.

I'm for letting the market play a larger role in deciding the uses.  Thus, when we automatically start name bombing, IKEA, Regal, Publix, or what I heard at my JAX 2025 table today......tear down Bostwick building and put an Apple store there in its place, we're approaching the point where reality has walked out the door.  Instead of worrying about specific retail to a specific location, worry about laying the foundation for an economically sustainable neighborhood.  That's not as sexy and headline grabbing as a $200 million aquarium on predetermined site "A", but it's a revitalization strategy that has worked time and time again across this country.

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Another thread made light of whether the urban core needed people first, or the destination first. In the case of Jacksonville, it most definitely needs people first. Jacksonville is over served and needs more people in less square miles downtown before another retail development is considered.

We have 194,000 people living within a five mile radius (75,000 within a three mile radius) of the heart of downtown Jacksonville.  That's more than enough of an urban residential population base to play with.  Perhaps its time to look into finding solutions to the problems that have caused the market to not take full advantage of that population?

spuwho

February 02, 2013, 09:04:44 PM
We have 194,000 people living within a five mile radius (75,000 within a three mile radius) of the heart of downtown Jacksonville.  That's more than enough of an urban residential population base to play with.  Perhaps its time to look into finding solutions to the problems that have caused the market to not take full advantage of that population?

Point well made.

Mathew1056

February 03, 2013, 08:17:18 AM
Quote
We have 194,000 people living within a five mile radius (75,000 within a three mile radius) of the heart of downtown Jacksonville.  That's more than enough of an urban residential population base to play with.  Perhaps its time to look into finding solutions to the problems that have caused the market to not take full advantage of that population?

Where are these people currently going to shop? I will give it to you, I think the market finds its equilibrium point. If the TC is the best market to make money in companies will follow. But aren't are retail centers competing against each other? If downtown could score a large retail investment than maybe the area will capture back some of the people lost to other centers. The current Brooklyn development could be the catalyst for such future developments. A Fresh Market will surely pull in a certain demographic into downtown. People will go there if they have a reason. 

thelakelander

February 03, 2013, 08:48:15 AM
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Where are these people currently going to shop? I will give it to you, I think the market finds its equilibrium point.

The retail market is too diverse to treat as one segment.  What people and what type of shopping?  SJTC is a regional shopping mall, so it's actually pulling a population more than just Jacksonville.  You most likely aren't going to see anything similar to this pop up in this city anytime soon.  As the regional population grows to the South and SJTC ages, you'll see something replace it in prominence and popularity in Clay or St. Johns County.

If we're talking about groceries, that 194,000 is most likely being served by Publix, Winn-Dixie, Wal-mart and soon Neighborhood Markets in the surrounding area.  On this level, to a degree, this is a market where the future of Arlington Expressway lies.  With the downfall of Regency Square, it's transitioning from a regional destination to one that specifically caters to a side of town.  It's not SJTC that's killing it, it's River City Marketplace that's having more of an impact on it. If you're looking for neighborhood retail to come specifically to what we refer to as downtown, follow the roadway traffic counts.  Downtown's two best spots for potential are State & Union and Riverside Avenue. 

Ocklawaha

February 03, 2013, 01:44:15 PM
Back to specific stores, Ikea, big box and the role of developer including the RFP's/RFI's. What would make this unique is WE should imagineer the 'place', going as far as to identify preferred retailers, hoteliers, restauranteurs and residential developers. A hybrid if you will, of Main Street USA, ordinary planning procedure, and private mall developers. The details could be hammered out in planning sessions and then aggressively pursued.

thelakelander

February 03, 2013, 02:23:32 PM
Quote
Back to specific stores, Ikea, big box and the role of developer including the RFP's/RFI's. What would make this unique is WE should imagineer the 'place', going as far as to identify preferred retailers, hoteliers, restauranteurs and residential developers.

This is where I'd say a city government would be overstepping its boundaries.  How can a city identify "preferred" retailers, etc. without acknowledging how the industry works and seeing if a specific location even meets the demographics of the targeted private sector entity? 

Since you've mentioned them several times in the past, let's use IKEA.  Their most basic requirement for a market is population. IKEA’s market research calls for a minimum of two million people within about 40-60 miles of a single media market.  Metro Jacksonville, which includes Duval, St. Johns, Clay, Nassau, and Baker Counties, has less than 1.4 million total.  This equates to.....game over.  Not just for downtown, but the rest of NE Florida as well.

Tone it down a bit and take a look at something like CVS.

Quote
New Store Location Criteria

Deal Structure
Locations
Acquisitions
Procedure
Free Standing Prototype

Deal Structure

We prefer the following for Free Standing sites:

Fee for Service or Self Development
We will also consider Build-to-Suit deals for other convenience-oriented sites. Terms would be:
25 years
Options — 10 year periods

Locations

Highly visible — we require pylon sign identity.
Easy access — with traffic control.
High traffic locations.
Free standing sites with drive-thru pharmacy capability, 1.5 - 2.0 acres.
Parking for 75 to 85 vehicles.
Minimum of 18,000 people in a trade area.

Acquisitions
CVS has a history of successful and professional purchases of existing independent and small chain businesses. Our Acquisition Staff is ready to review opportunities to buy existing pharmacies with landlords and operators.

Procedure
All approvals are obtained by presentation to the CVS Real Estate Committee; meetings are held monthly. Site plans required from principal as part of presentation. The CVS Regional Director of Real Estate handles all site investigations and negotiations.

Free Standing Prototype
96 x 137 = 12,900 Square Feet

source: http://www.cvscaremarkrealty.com/new-location-criteria

^Then take a look at where their existing locations in the area are.  Guess what, they have ZERO presence in nearly all of pre-consolidated Jacksonville but there are available corridors that fit their site criteria.   I'd expect, as time goes on, this is the type of retail product the market will bring.  Might not be sexy are one trick pony sized enough to attract suburbanites to downtown but its something needed to support the residential population everyone hopes for. 

IMO, where the city can help best is to make sure policy is in place and followed to give the private sector an opportunity to take advantage of the area's demographics.  Not a politician taking a property off the market and holding it for "their" preferred big box retailer.

Ocklawaha

February 03, 2013, 02:48:58 PM
Columbia
Union
Bradford
Alachua
Flagler

Brantley, GA
Ware, GA

This is exactly what I mean about identifying who might be desirable, that 60 mile radius around Jacksonville, exceeds the 'rule' for IKEA. At 60 miles you have to include the above counties and add another 650,000 persons.

Not all larger retailers don't just show up to build at STJTC, the Town Center is actively seeking them out. To me this is the job a DIA could undertake in the urban core. You develop a list of preferred venues and present the concept to them, you are not dictating that X is better then Y, simply that X is one of (fill in the blank) type of retailers we'd like to plug in at our location.

As I recall before the boom collapsed IKEA was planning a Jacksonville store. The may indeed end up next to Bass Pro in St. johns, but it would be great if we could show/could have shown how their store would fit in to our downtown plans.

thelakelander

February 03, 2013, 02:58:50 PM
^You forgot that they already have two stores in Central Florida and another in Atlanta.  Believe me, they could care less about serving rural North Florida/Southern Georgia counties that don't meet their demographics.  There are a lot of more realistic options a city like Jacksonville could be doing to add life to its core than chasing things the market hasn't grown to support.  IKEA doesn't need to be tricked or bribed into opening in Jacksonville.  If there is a market here where they think they can make a profit, the opportunity will come.

SJTC is managed by Simon Properties, which is the country's largest REIT.  The retailers you see at SJTC are typically clustered at several of their other properties across the country.   It's unrealistic to expect DIA and city hall to be Simon or any other private developer.  DT is also a neighborhood.  It shouldn't be treated like a mall.

thelakelander

February 03, 2013, 03:03:37 PM
Here is a blurb from a story about IKEA and Jacksonville that was published last summer:

Quote
The South Florida Business Journal’s report that IKEA USA will build a second store in the Miami area — 40 miles from an existing store — begged the question: When will the Swedish home goods mega-retailer open a Jacksonville store?

For Swedish meatball and lingonberry enthusiasts, the answer is unfortunate: Not any time soon.
Joseph Roth, a spokesman for IKEA USA, said he noticed posts on Facebook asking “What about Jacksonville?” when the Miami plans were announced.

“Basically it comes down to population size, and you tend to need approx 2 million people within a 40 to 60-mile radius or trade area,” Roth said. “And you guys aren’t there yet.”

That’s the biggest deciding factor in the store’s expansion plans.

“If you don’t have population size, you don’t really get to the second point,” he said. “It’s basically our stores are so large, they’re very expensive to build and need lots of customers to support them.”

There will now be four IKEA stores between Orlando and Miami: IKEA Orlando, IKEA Tampa, IKEA Sunrise, which is north of Miami, and the new IKEA Miami, to be built in Sweetwater.

“We get inquiries from developers and brokers all the time from Jacksonville, and they say, ‘What can we do?’” Roth said. “Well, double your population. It’s nothing personal. We recognize we have many customers up there, but not enough to support a large IKEA store.”

http://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/blog/2012/08/when-will-ikea-come-to-jacksonville.html

From the horse's mouth.  There's nothing the DIA can do to change the fact that the market is too small for this particular retailer.  However, this isn't something the DIA should be overly concerned about, IMO. Just make sure the urban core's environment is business friendly and market rate opportunities will present themselves.

Ocklawaha

February 03, 2013, 07:13:56 PM
A neighborhood no doubt, a neighborhood that has lost guidance, direction and life.  I don't consider offering some unique proposals and incentives as bribes to fool anyone into anything.  They are savvy enough to read the demographics for themselves, you stated a 60 mile radius and I said if that is true we are within that window. All I'm suggesting is that we get out of the box every other downtown in the country is in, the status quo obviously hasn't worked in a downtown since about 1960.  Go to them with a plan, a real plan, explain how the pieces could fit together for everyones mutual benefit, strength in numbers. Invite Simon and the other operators out there to come in and treat this downtown segment (yet to be identified) as a property. Tell them this is the chance to make a new town center out of a real "TOWN CENTER". I just don't see why this is bad or why we should stand in line with every Pittsburgh, Tampa and Memphis that comes down the pike - We should stand out!

thelakelander

February 03, 2013, 08:39:10 PM
You don't think this city hasn't invited the owners of SJTC to attempt to do something downtown?  Believe me, Ben Carter and Simon have already been contacted.  In the 1980s, it was Rouse.  The 1990s, we decided to take out LaVilla. In the 2000s, it was LandMar and the Shipyards. We see how all that turned out.  On the other hand, King Street has bloomed to life in the middle of a recession from several "little" local players who've been excluded out of the downtown game.

Downtown revitalization is one of the easiest problems to fix in Jacksonville, IMO. There is a national wide trend of people flocking back to urban cores all across the country.  It's where Echo Boomers (a generation that's larger than the Baby Boom population) want to be.

The only reason downtown has struggled to cash in is because of us.  We've torn down most of the existing building fabric that was suitable for urban pioneers.  We've implemented silly policies to where small business can barely even advertise themselves at street level and we've continued to approve projects that are deadly at street level (Parador garage for example).  Then instead of following the natural revitalization process, we continue to swing wildly for expensive one hit home run projects (Shipyards for example) instead of manufacturing points with bunts, singles, walks, stolen bases and doubles.

The main thing we need to stop is our continued actions that has limited market rate development from taking place. We've been the problem by continuing to enforce policy that makes the CBD hostile to business and pedestrians.  The answer to this problem isn't giving riverfront property and $20 million to Bass Pro or Target.  It's not even trying to recreate the wheel to be "different" from the Pittsburgh, Tampa, and Memphis. It's really as simple as making the decision to stop tripping over our own two feet. Set a plan but that plan should not have an entity with no development experience out front pre-determining private sector uses or preferring certain retailers/developers over another.  Setting you vision, development regulations, streamlining the permitting process, investing in public infrastructure, etc. is one thing.  But grabbing and reserving blocks for preferred  user whoever is another. 

stephendare

February 03, 2013, 08:52:01 PM
You don't think this city hasn't invited the owners of SJTC to attempt to do something downtown?  Believe me, Ben Carter and Simon have already been contacted.  In the 1980s, it was Rouse.  The 1990s, we decided to take out LaVilla. In the 2000s, it was LandMar and the Shipyards. We see how all that turned out.  On the other hand, King Street has bloomed to life in the middle of a recession from several "little" local players who've been excluded out of the downtown game.

Downtown revitalization is one of the easiest problems to fix in Jacksonville, IMO. There is a national wide trend of people flocking back to urban cores all across the country.  It's where Echo Boomers (a generation that's larger than the Baby Boom population) want to be.

The only reason downtown has struggled to cash in is because of us.  We've torn down most of the existing building fabric that was suitable for urban pioneers.  We've implemented silly policies to where small business can barely even advertise themselves at street level and we've continued to approve projects that are deadly at street level (Parador garage for example).  Then instead of following the natural revitalization process, we continue to swing wildly for expensive one hit home run projects (Shipyards for example) instead of manufacturing points with bunts, singles, walks, stolen bases and doubles.

The main thing we need to stop is our continued actions that has limited market rate development from taking place. We've been the problem by continuing to enforce policy that makes the CBD hostile to business and pedestrians.  The answer to this problem isn't giving riverfront property and $20 million to Bass Pro or Target.  It's not even trying to recreate the wheel to be "different" from the Pittsburgh, Tampa, and Memphis. It's really as simple as making the decision to stop tripping over our own two feet. Set a plan but that plan should not have an entity with no development experience out front pre-determining uses or preferring certain retailers over another.  Setting you vision, development regulations, streamlining the permitting process, investing in public infrastructure, etc. is one thing.  But grabbing and reserving blocks for preferred  user whoever is another.

It is a fact that Ben Carter has been part of the discussion about downtown.  I sat on a committee founded by Elaine Brown with Mr. Carter specifically for the purpose of treating downtown like a mall and leasing the spaces using a regional shopping center management approach.

Peyton simply was not interested.

It wasnt because the idea wouldnt work.  Obviously the approach works for malls across the country.

It just wasnt on Peyton's list of things to do.

I certainly agree with Lake that the downtown is a toxic bubble for the retail environment.  Until the policies that make development impossible are removed, nothing will happen.

But truly, the discussion about IKEA would be worth pursuing on a multi pronged level.

It doesnt matter really what the store has stated into a vacuum at a meeting.  Given a good proposal and a clear way forward to profit, most any business will give something a try.

Really the better question is whether or not an IKEA is worth it in terms of value as an 'Anchor' tenant to drive development downtown.

I think the argument could be made either way, as in anything though, the ultimate success would depend on whether or not there is a clear vision going forward and whether or not the Jacksonville business leadership actually knows how to use an 'anchor' for its intended purposes.

If you just bring an IKEA here, and declare Mission Accomplished, then it would be pointless.

thelakelander

February 03, 2013, 09:02:21 PM
A neighborhood no doubt, a neighborhood that has lost guidance, direction and life.  I don't consider offering some unique proposals and incentives as bribes to fool anyone into anything.

I just wanted to mention that there is nothing unique about issuing an RFP for city property or going after certain retailers, throwing incentives at developers, etc.  It's been done in Jacksonville and all across the country. Unique would be flipping the script and giving everyone investing/moving in the urban core a 10-year property tax abatement (ex. Philly/Cincinnati), or taking Bass Pro's $20 million and giving it to people willing to move to downtown (ex. Detroit).

Quote
They are savvy enough to read the demographics for themselves, you stated a 60 mile radius and I said if that is true we are within that window.

It was IKEA's people saying Jax is too small.  I only repeated the information as an example of why it's not prudent to reserve downtown property for a preferred retailer like IKEA.  This model leaves you with a permanent vacant lot.

thelakelander

February 03, 2013, 09:18:49 PM
It is a fact that Ben Carter has been part of the discussion about downtown.  I sat on a committee founded by Elaine Brown with Mr. Carter specifically for the purpose of treating downtown like a mall and leasing the spaces using a regional shopping center management approach.

Peyton simply was not interested.

It wasnt because the idea wouldnt work.  Obviously the approach works for malls across the country.

To be honest, I don't blame Peyton.  Downtown is a neighborhood in the same fashion that Riverside, Brooklyn, and the Eastside are.  Urban communities tend to grow organically and contain a variety of property owners with different ideologies (ex. Bostwicks vs Rich at Petra Management).  A mall is operated by a single property owner.  If we want to get the mall concept right, start small by getting with Sleiman and resolving the Landing's issues.

Quote
But truly, the discussion about IKEA would be worth pursuing on a multi pronged level.

It doesnt matter really what the store has stated into a vacuum at a meeting.  Given a good proposal and a clear way forward to profit, most any business will give something a try.

Really the better question is whether or not an IKEA is worth it in terms of value as an 'Anchor' tenant to drive development downtown.

Let's start here.  I'll admit, I've kind of jumped on Ock, probably out of a little frustration from the JAX 2025 downtown table I sat at yesterday.  My head almost popped as I heard people say the answer to downtown was to tear down things like the Bostwick Building and replace them with Apple stores, Publix, and St. Louis Arches.  I get kind of frustrated when we strive to make revitalization more complicated and expensive than it has to be.

But let's address your question.  Let's say our market could support an IKEA.  The typical american IKEA store is around 300,000 square feet or five football fields combined.  It has less interaction with the street than a suburban Walmart.  Where would you put such a category killer in downtown and why?  I'd argue, you'd be better off placing the Lowe's on Cassat Avenue in the middle of downtown than you would putting huge category killer like IKEA there.


stephendare

February 03, 2013, 09:43:55 PM
Well this is a better question I think.

Would an IKEA drive further development.

Well there is an easily found answer to that question:  What does google earth say about the surrounding areas where other IKEA's have been built?

thelakelander

February 03, 2013, 10:15:17 PM
IKEA isn't the type of store you're walking up to.  It's like a Walmart on steroids.  It's about as self contained of a store as they come.  They even have their own restaurants and even will watch your kids for free while you shop. I have not come across any IKEA in America being built and resulting in an urban development boom.  Google Earth shows big boxes with large surface parking lots.  Atlanta's IKEA was built as a part of a mixed use infill project but it's the only part of the development that's pretty disconnected from everything else and autocentric. 

Charles Hunter

February 03, 2013, 10:25:38 PM
We must be talking about the west end of the Arlington Expressway?

thelakelander

February 03, 2013, 10:32:39 PM
Lol.  If the market could support an IKEA, it would be better if it were at some suburban commercial spot in need of redevelopment like Regency Square.

Ocklawaha

February 03, 2013, 10:33:01 PM
IKEA in Brooklyn NY is such a store Lake, they are the spearpoint of the Red Hook Renewal a project that might include streetcar.  Ikea is served by water taxi's and there is a limited parking garage which is usually at capacity. My argument has always been had they done this at the Shipyards, the JEA site or in LaVilla or Brooklyn in Jax, they would have even better exposure. Our Skyline visible from I-95 is a veritable shout out to passers by.

Again, I'm NOT talking about tearing down a damn thing, I think you know that. I'm just saying we could say, look how IKEA fits this idea, now what others could also fit that site and need? identify the targets and go after them, be it a Pier One, IKEA, urban Target, or a dozen others.

You speak of Jacksonville letting itself die, while talking life to death, and we agree. Organic development is fantastic, get the streetcar up and running, extend the Skyway and add commuter rail and we'd have all of the organic development we could handle. We simply need to be better and more creative then the competition.

Imagine Flagler developing LaVilla?  You know we COULD pull that off tomorrow if we had anyone with vision downtown.

ALL PHOTOS RED HOOK NY








stephendare

February 03, 2013, 10:45:51 PM
But certainly we must all agree that this is the best way in which to view these kinds of locations, co locations, and relocations right?

Is there any use to an IKEA being considered an 'anchor' in the effort to create a walkable urban environment?  Well it doesnt appear that any of their current iterations have ever resulted in such an outcome.

Now perhaps there is some merit in the idea that Ock seems to be suggesting: to "big box" out the eastern end of downtown where the blasted remains of the old industrial district sits.  Perhaps there is some use to that.

Perhaps such a strategy would bring the suburbanites back into the downtown by creating a huge retail area out of a huge tract of land that will not be used for a generation or more?  Didnt the Town Center start with the big boxes first? (honest question, i was busy in springfield at the time and never went out there)

Is there any example of an IKEA which has caused redensification or urbanization?

stephendare

February 03, 2013, 10:47:00 PM
Quote
IKEA in Brooklyn NY is such a store Lake, they are the spearpoint of the Red Hook Renewal a project that might include streetcar.  Ikea is served by water taxi's and there is a limited parking garage which is usually at capacity. My argument has always been had they done this at the Shipyards, the JEA site or in LaVilla or Brooklyn in Jax, they would have even better exposure. Our Skyline visible from I-95 is a veritable shout out to passers by.

Again, I'm NOT talking about tearing down a damn thing, I think you know that. I'm just saying we could say, look how IKEA fits this idea, now what others could also fit that site and need? identify the targets and go after them, be it a Pier One, IKEA, urban Target, or a dozen others.

what have you got in mind here Ock?

Can you create a diagram or a map that would illustrate it?

thelakelander

February 03, 2013, 10:56:49 PM
IKEA in Brooklyn NY is such a store Lake, they are the spearpoint of the Red Hook Renewal a project that might include streetcar.  Ikea is served by water taxi's and there is a limited parking garage which is usually at capacity.

Why don't you show an aerial of that Brooklyn IKEA so we can see the huge surface parking lot on the waterfront?



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My argument has always been had they done this at the Shipyards, the JEA site or in LaVilla or Brooklyn in Jax, they would have even better exposure. Our Skyline visible from I-95 is a veritable shout out to passers by.

You can't find a property in Brooklyn or LaVilla large enough for an IKEA without taking out buildings and the street grid. The IKEA box is so big, it won't even fit on the Shipyards site without filling in a chunk of the river and turning most of the rest of the property into a parking lot. 

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Again, I'm NOT talking about tearing down a damn thing, I think you know that. I'm just saying we could say, look how IKEA fits this idea, now what others could also fit that site and need? identify the targets and go after them, be it a Pier One, IKEA, urban Target, or a dozen others.

I don't think you're realizing how much property such a box takes up for a use that doesn't encourage walkability.  Nevertheless, my main point is don't waste time identifying targets like Pier One, IKEA, urban Target, etc.  Let the private sector respond to what the market will bear (ex. Pope and Land's project in Brooklyn) and work with them to make sure their developments fit into an overall urban footprint and long term vision. 

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You speak of Jacksonville letting itself die, while talking life to death, and we agree. Organic development is fantastic, get the streetcar up and running, extend the Skyway and add commuter rail and we'd have all of the organic development we could handle. We simply need to be better and more creative then the competition.

There is no competition to be more creative against.  People want to be in downtown Jacksonville.  Empower them to do so.

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Imagine Flagler developing LaVilla?  You know we COULD pull that off tomorrow if we had anyone with vision downtown.

Flagler is already downtown. I worked for two years in their property on Prudential Drive, right next door to Kings Avenue Station.  Before I'd give them property in LaVilla, perhaps they can experiment with TOD on the big surface parking lot they already own next door to Kings Avenue.

thelakelander

February 03, 2013, 10:59:39 PM
^With that said, if the market was large enough, they'd be an idea tenant for a redeveloped Regency Square Mall, assuming the empty west end of the mall was demolished.

thelakelander

February 03, 2013, 11:09:43 PM
Now perhaps there is some merit in the idea that Ock seems to be suggesting: to "big box" out the eastern end of downtown where the blasted remains of the old industrial district sits.  Perhaps there is some use to that.

How well is Walmart spurring redevelopment on Philips Highway? I don't think a lack of industrial need is why that area looks like that.  Instead, we've replaced industry with tailgate parking lots. Whenever we come to consider new uses, how about using an old waterfront industrial district for high paying maritime related uses?  North Florida Shipyards seems pretty boxed in. Might as well take advantage of those big bridges, a 35-40' deep river and the limited amount of rail accessible land that remains along the riverfront.  I bet, you'd generate more jobs and higher paying property taxes going industrial than suburban commercial.

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Perhaps such a strategy would bring the suburbanites back into the downtown by creating a huge retail area out of a huge tract of land that will not be used for a generation or more?  Didnt the Town Center start with the big boxes first? (honest question, i was busy in springfield at the time and never went out there)

Town Center started out as a mall just like Regency Square and Avenues did.  It just happens to be outdoor. There's nothing unique about SJTC.  It's the same type of regional retail lifestyle center that's replaced the enclosed mall concept all over the country in the last 10-15 years.

stephendare

February 04, 2013, 01:41:27 AM
Its cleaned up the area a good bit. and the marble companies and building supply companies have picked up business as a result of Walmart being close by.

There isnt any reason to pretend that a walkable footprint for IKEA couldnt be designed and suggested to them.  But it won't be an urbanizer.  Even with a cool redesign, without vision it would just be the regular Jacksonville Phase Oner.

The best use it could be put for (for a municipal rather than a customer, point of view) is simply as an anchor to a larger retail greater area.

Probably it would be exactly a perfect fit for redeveloping Regency Square (provided Steinmart could even be talked into partnering).

But A stand alone IKEA would be silly.

Cluster it with seven other retail giants and form a wedge on the downtown periphery and you would create instant traffic.

And foot traffic is the key to retail building.

But even if you put a hundred mega stores on the downtown periphery and still allowed the cops to evacuate and isolate the downtown from all traffic during heavy visitation and you will outsmart even something as fool proof as foot traffic, the way Jax has been doing so cleverly for the past decade.

thelakelander

February 04, 2013, 06:56:36 AM
Why would Stein Mart need to partner with anyone at Regency? Regency Square Mall is owned by General Growth Properties out of Chicago.  General Growth is a competitor to Simon, the REIT that partnered with Ben Carter to develop SJTC.  Playing around with their box last night, I noticed it fits like a glove between Sears and Belk and leaves you some space for something like an outdoor collection of clustered eateries.  Also played around with their box on the Shipyards site.  The only spot it fits is the piece of dirt immediately next door to where Kids Kampus needs to be.  Overall, with parking, you would eat up roughly half of the site alone with a "warehouse" store use that has absolutely nothing to do with water or urban walkability.

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Its cleaned up the area a good bit. and the marble companies and building supply companies have picked up business as a result of Walmart being close by.

We have low standards if that's the type of clean up envisioned for downtown.  I'm of the mindset that urban vibrancy to me means a 24/7 walkable mixed use environment.  I just don't see how you realistically get there subsidizing "preferred" big box stores or treating it like a mall attract suburbanites.  This falls more into the one-trick pony gimmick to me.  Might as well just pour all of your cash into a convention center.  At least it will help activity on Bay Street and the downtown hotels.  You aren't getting any of that with something like IKEA.

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Cluster it with seven other retail giants and form a wedge on the downtown periphery and you would create instant traffic.

Sounds easy but once you start looking at our retail demographics, analyzing sites and the fact that it's easily arguable this city has more supply than demand, I'd argue there are less risky and more affordable methods to jump start economic revitalization.

Mathew1056

February 04, 2013, 08:58:57 AM
The biggest asset I see to putting a Wal-Mart, or even a cluster of national retailers, is the 24-hour aspect that would be established. Wal-Mart on Philips has had little effect on the area because the population and design does not exist around the store to spur growth. If you can get people use to going downtown at all hours of the night you can get them to go to restaurants at night. If it is going to be build anywhere I vote next to 95 on and the Prime Osborn. It's kind of a wasteland out there anyway. It would keep heavy traffic from penetraiting too deep into downtown and offer quick access to suburban neighborhoods that currently have to go to Philips.

thelakelander

February 04, 2013, 09:18:35 AM
Suburbanites aren't going to pass tons of malls and strip malls to drive into downtown because of a couple of big box stores.  If you're seeking retail boxes of various sizes, we should be doing it for the purpose of serving urban core residents.  Thus you have to start considering/utilizing the demographics of the neighborhoods surrounding downtown as well. Suburbanities will come occassionally once you have a lively mixed-use urban core that provides an atmosphere that is unique to the rest of the metropolitan area. 

Just wondering, what would you guys do to revamp the Arlington Expressway corridor?  It has the bones in place and location to transition into a linear node of mixed use activity with direct and short access to and from downtown.  What role do you think it plays in Jacksonville's future?

Mathew1056

February 04, 2013, 09:35:35 AM
I'm not saying avoid the needs of the urban core neighborhoods. A strong retail center would benefit the all of those neighborhoods, outer suburbanites would be a fridge benefit.

As far as the Arlington Expressway, I think you assessment of the road is correct. It would serve the community well as a BRT corridor. It drives me crazy every time I think about the plan the city is about to implement I get angry. BRT would work better on an actual line that served people, not a phase one downtown line.

stephendare

February 04, 2013, 12:22:07 PM
Suburbanites aren't going to pass tons of malls and strip malls to drive into downtown because of a couple of big box stores.  If you're seeking retail boxes of various sizes, we should be doing it for the purpose of serving urban core residents.  Thus you have to start considering/utilizing the demographics of the neighborhoods surrounding downtown as well. Suburbanities will come occassionally once you have a lively mixed-use urban core that provides an atmosphere that is unique to the rest of the metropolitan area. 


Lake, I think its pretty obvious who does the shopping in the "Lander" household.

thelakelander

February 04, 2013, 12:33:42 PM
Lol. To be fair, I'll also say it's pretty obvious which one made a living off of working with them to identify and design development sites that fit their demographic and site requirements.  Nobody is driving past four suburban Targets to get to one downtown on a regular basis and the average IKEA visitor isn't spending that day walking down downtown streets or dining in downtown restaurants. So the question becomes how do we best take advantage of our neighborhood's assets in a manner where they work with the market.  If we can resolve that issue, we can not only have a special downtown but a vibrant Arlington, Regency Square and SJTC as well.

stephendare

February 04, 2013, 12:33:52 PM
Why would Stein Mart need to partner with anyone at Regency? Regency Square Mall is owned by General Growth Properties out of Chicago.  General Growth is a competitor to Simon, the REIT that partnered with Ben Carter to develop SJTC.  Playing around with their box last night, I noticed it fits like a glove between Sears and Belk and leaves you some space for something like an outdoor collection of clustered eateries.  Also played around with their box on the Shipyards site.  The only spot it fits is the piece of dirt immediately next door to where Kids Kampus needs to be.  Overall, with parking, you would eat up roughly half of the site alone with a "warehouse" store use that has absolutely nothing to do with water or urban walkability.

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Its cleaned up the area a good bit. and the marble companies and building supply companies have picked up business as a result of Walmart being close by.

We have low standards if that's the type of clean up envisioned for downtown.  I'm of the mindset that urban vibrancy to me means a 24/7 walkable mixed use environment.  I just don't see how you realistically get there subsidizing "preferred" big box stores or treating it like a mall attract suburbanites.  This falls more into the one-trick pony gimmick to me.  Might as well just pour all of your cash into a convention center.  At least it will help activity on Bay Street and the downtown hotels.  You aren't getting any of that with something like IKEA.

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Cluster it with seven other retail giants and form a wedge on the downtown periphery and you would create instant traffic.

Sounds easy but once you start looking at our retail demographics, analyzing sites and the fact that it's easily arguable this city has more supply than demand, I'd argue there are less risky and more affordable methods to jump start economic revitalization.

1.  Because when we spoke with IKEA about locating to Jville, they wanted a local retail partner with a specific financial and experience profile. The only one that qualified was Steinmart.  So without them, there is no deal.  You proposed Regency Mall, so in this case, if you wanted to relocate IKEA there, thats who you would have to talk to first.

2.  You asked whether walmart had improved Phillips, and I responded that they had only cleaned up the area a bit---not helped redevelop, but improved.

3.  Such a strategy worked and is still working for Ben Carter, so obviously it works in Jville.  But if you look at the rest of my statement, you will see what I truly think of as the problem---my point here is to underline the fact that none of these schemes or plans are impossible.  Just impractical because they require an unlikely amount of long term focus and control in order to work, something that doesnt happen very often anywhere in the US, and almost never here in Florida.

As I pointed out before, simply look at a google map and see if any of the resulting 'development' around the big box locations matches what you would like to see downtown, and you will find your answer if what that retailer currently does will work to accomplish what you hope.

I don't like the looks of the IKEA 'neighborhoods' that we have seen so far.

But that doesnt mean we have seen them all, and perhaps Ock has knowledge of something that the rest of us are missing.

thelakelander

February 04, 2013, 12:51:36 PM
1.  Because when we spoke with IKEA about locating to Jville, they wanted a local retail partner with a specific financial and experience profile. The only one that qualified was Steinmart.  So without them, there is no deal.  You proposed Regency Mall, so in this case, if you wanted to relocate IKEA there, thats who you would have to talk to first.

Just wondering what are IKEA's local retail partners in Orlando and Tampa?  Are you claiming if Stein Mart was in, they'd be here?  If so, I'd question that given they aren't in any markets similar to Jacksonville's size.  The smallest I can find is SLC, but it's hundreds of miles from just about everything, so there's no overlap with nearby markets like Orlando.  My basic point here is Stein Mart or not, if your market isn't large enough you're not in the game.  Perhaps in 2020 we'll get there but I'm commenting on today.

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2.  You asked whether walmart had improved Phillips, and I responded that they had only cleaned up the area a bit---not helped redevelop, but improved.

However, the context of the question was in regards to DT development.  The "improvement" along Philips is specifically in the site itself moreso than redevelopment along the corridor, which is what we'd be desiring as an anchor in an area like downtown.

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3.  Such a strategy worked and is still working for Ben Carter, so obviously it works in Jville.  But if you look at the rest of my statement, you will see what I truly think of as the problem---my point here is to underline the fact that none of these schemes or plans are impossible.  Just impractical because they require an unlikely amount of long term focus and control in order to work, something that doesnt happen very often anywhere in the US, and almost never here in Florida.

I'm confused, what strategy worked for Ben Carter?  Developing a mall in a region where the demographics, population, roadway network, HHI, etc. aligned with the project constructed?

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As I pointed out before, simply look at a google map and see if any of the resulting 'development' around the big box locations matches what you would like to see downtown, and you will find your answer if what that retailer currently does will work to accomplish what you hope.

I don't like the looks of the IKEA 'neighborhoods' that we have seen so far.

I skipped this step last night because I've already done it several times over.  I could spit you out a list of retailers in a heartbeat where the downtown area's demographics match their site selection criteria.  Most of those (IKEA would not be included) can easily fit within an urban environment as well.  However, they really aren't the problem on the design end.  Our land use policy makes it difficult for pedestrian scale projects in most areas of the city.  For example, anything along a corridor like Arlington Expressway/State & Union would have to be completely rezoned.

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But that doesnt mean we have seen them all, and perhaps Ock has knowledge of something that the rest of us are missing.

I'm just having a friendly debate with Ock.  He's a big boy and should be able to prove his ultimate point one way or the other.

stephendare

February 04, 2013, 01:06:11 PM
I think its clear that we agree on all the same points, lake.  But I am interested in what Ock is saying, since I often times miss what he is talking about because I assume that I already know, ---regardless of whether you guys are debating or not.

The land underneath the Town Center belongs mostly to John Peyton and his dad.

That is the reason it is out there.  They could deliver the footprint and they could guarantee that the infrastructure that makes it work was deployed in a reasonable time.  Before John Peyton became Mayor he was the Chairman of the Board of the JTA, and none of that development happend overnight'.  It was planned and then carefully deployed.

As it happens it dovetailed nicely with the old Skinner Family ambitions for the area, which is why they donated the land to UNF in the first place.

So looking at the area as a local example of a public private partnership in which the conditions for success were created by deliberate public planning to accomodate the development is a pretty useful model.

Carter had the relationships with the retail outlets and therefore was able to book the tenants, Peyton had the land, Peyton Jr and the JEA provided the public investment into the roads, lights, exit ramps etc, and voila you have a controlled, planned, successful development that is designed to last for about the length of Carter's land lease, at which point the profits will have been exhausted with the least possible amount of investment money expended, Most of the costs will have been externalized and at the end of the lease (which is the actual governing principle, incidentally) there will be very little of value for the landowners to exploit by refusing to renew the arrangement and another massive infusion of capital on the part of the lessee.

It isnt built for neighborhood improvement, its not build to last, and its not built for any other purpose than to provide and engine of money for the handful of investors and the retailers who lease tenant space from the landlease holder.

In 40 years it will be gone.

But how that private partnership actually worked and the smoothness with which it was executed proves that Jville actually has the ability to do what it wants when it is properly motivated and there is a clear enough vision.


stephendare

February 04, 2013, 01:14:05 PM
Here is what Tampa's version of DVI and JEDC has to say about IKEA in their newsletter:  Its clear that they are drinking the same koolaid as our locals, but they mention Tempe.

I always find these kinds of press pieces amusing.  They make speculative claims meant to ramp up expectations for what they hope will be self fulfilling prophecies by mentioning nebulous examples of something related that happened in some indefinable way someplace else.

But every now and then the elfin magic works.

http://partnership.tampabay.org/press.asp?rls_id=2413&cat_id=1&

It isn't just fans of European furniture and Swedish meatballs who are awaiting Ikea's opening. Other stores likely will ride on its coattails to the area east of downtown along Adamo Drive.

Ikea is expected to draw so many people from all over Central Florida that other retailers will sprout up around it. Already, a Denver-based furniture store, Furniture Row LLC, has purchased land next to the Ikea along North 26th Street.

Meanwhile, real estate brokers have placed calls to small industrial businesses near the new Ikea, hoping the businesses will be willing to sell, say owners of small businesses nearby. Those calls stopped with the recession.

It's hard to predict how much potential the Adamo Drive area has for retail.

"I do think it is inevitable, but it's not going to happen overnight," said Tim Wilmath, who directs valuations for the Hillsborough County property appraiser.

Elsewhere, Ikea has been a catalyst for development. In Tempe, Ariz., one developer tried to capitalize on a nearby Ikea by building a 240,000-square-foot shopping center focused on furniture.

"They're a superregional draw," said the project's developer, Adam Gilburne. "They draw all the way from Tucson; they draw from 100 miles away."

Furniture Row has a history of locating near the Swedish-based furniture chain. It has purchased land near Ikea's new store in Charlotte, N.C., and it opened a store in Salt Lake City near Ikea.

The company paid more than $4 million, or $22 a square foot, for land next to the Tampa Ikea. Wilmath said that's a price companies normally would pay to be near a mall.

Patrick Berman, a retail real estate broker for firm Cushman & Wakefield, said a discount store such as Sam's Club or Wal-Mart might want to build nearby because the Tampa Ikea is in a relatively low-income neighborhood.

Some local landowners are optimistic Ikea will boost property values in what is an industrial area of Tampa, although there's no sign that values have increased, Wilmath said.

At least one landowner laments the arrival of Ikea for the traffic it will bring. Phil Glassman, a Fort Lauderdale man who owns a few warehouse properties along Adamo Drive, worries his tenants will flee because of the traffic.

"The best place for Ikea is out in the farmland someplace," Glassman said

thelakelander

February 04, 2013, 01:40:57 PM
The land underneath the Town Center belongs mostly to John Peyton and his dad.

That is the reason it is out there.  They could deliver the footprint and they could guarantee that the infrastructure that makes it work was deployed in a reasonable time.  Before John Peyton became Mayor he was the Chairman of the Board of the JTA, and none of that development happend overnight'.  It was planned and then carefully deployed.

None of this is groundbreaking.  In fact it's actually quite typical.  However, Gate/Skinner (I don't remember which entity previously owned the parcel sold) didn't really deliver the footprint or guarantee the infrastructure.  My memory of the details is a little hazy now but Carter purchased the property and worked with Wakefield Beasley out of Atlanta on developing the footprint.  One of my co-workers from a firm I worked at in Central Florida was a PM at WB back then and this was a project he was involved with.  Before the Markets at TC was constructed, the firm I worked for at the time was hired to design a shopping center on that site for different developer.  I was the PM on that particular project.  That developer eventually passed on the 52-acre site and it was acquired by Pinehill out of Atlanta.  Pinehill then hired Phillips (also out of Atlanta) to design it.

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As it happens it dovetailed nicely with the old Skinner Family ambitions for the area, which is why they donated the land to UNF in the first place.

So looking at the area as a local example of a public private partnership in which the conditions for success were created by deliberate public planning to accomodate the development is a pretty useful model.

Carter had the relationships with the retail outlets and therefore was able to book the tenants, Peyton had the land, Peyton Jr and the JEA provided the public investment into the roads, lights, exit ramps etc, and voila you have a controlled, planned, successful development that is designed to last for about the length of Carter's land lease, at which point the profits will have been exhausted with the least possible amount of investment money expended, Most of the costs will have been externalized and at the end of the lease (which is the actual governing principle, incidentally) there will be very little of value for the landowners to exploit by refusing to renew the arrangement and another massive infusion of capital on the part of the lessee.

It isnt built for neighborhood improvement, its not build to last, and its not built for any other purpose than to provide and engine of money for the handful of investors and the retailers who lease tenant space from the landlease holder.

In 40 years it will be gone.

But how that private partnership actually worked and the smoothness with which it was executed proves that Jville actually has the ability to do what it wants when it is properly motivated and there is a clear enough vision.

I guess where I'm differing on this is, and it might just be semantics on our part, but none of this is ground breaking or unique.  This is how areas like this have been developed for years.  The only thing public about this partnership is we fund the JTBs/9A's allowing property owners to flip their land at higher value to other development groups such as Ben Carter Properties.  This is pretty much the model underway with SR 9B and the Outer Beltway.

Nevertheless, when boiled down to city properties downtown, and even the example above, the city (or original property owner) isn't the one who typically identifies "preferred" retailers.  I believe doing so upfront would be a huge mistake on COJ's part and one we've made before in the past.   Issue an RFP and let the private sector create market rate projects.  For example, going back to your town center example, when I was working on the Markets at TC site, my client was bringing in a Publix.  They ended up passing on that site and Pinehill landed Best Buy and Toys R Us as their main anchors. Gate, Skinner or whomever didn't really care if it was Publix or Best Buy at the site.  The city should be the same way with properties it issues RFPs for.  That's pretty much my original reason for questioning Ock's position of making a short list of retailers at a public level instead of letting the private sector handle that.

stephendare

February 04, 2013, 01:49:02 PM
Lake.  You seem to be agreeing with what I am writing by prefacing your post to sound like we disagree?

Ben Carter brought a set of retail relationships and some construction capital to a landownership group that had the political power to deliver infrastructure as an externalized costs.

If you agree that this is how its usually done, are you saying that its usually done that way but cant be done that way in downtown?

Im not sure Im reading your posts right.

stephendare

February 04, 2013, 01:50:55 PM
The only caveat being that I think the construction model is flawed because the techniques are designed not to outlast the leases.

In an urban setting (or any city that cares about its future) this type of construction should be prevented in the core.

thelakelander

February 04, 2013, 02:04:55 PM
IKEA Tempe - suburban location


Tampa - Judging from the residential blocks, the site equals roughly 12 square Tampa city blocks


While, I'm at it, here is their "urban" Brooklyn site.  Definitely delivers one of the largest surface parking lots to the neighborhood:

IKEA Brooklyn

thelakelander

February 04, 2013, 02:16:24 PM
Lake.  You seem to be agreeing with what I am writing by prefacing your post to sound like we disagree?

Ben Carter brought a set of retail relationships and some construction capital to a landownership group that had the political power to deliver infrastructure as an externalized costs.

If you agree that this is how its usually done, are you saying that its usually done that way but cant be done that way in downtown?

Im not sure Im reading your posts right.

I'm just saying the process isn't different from what Sleiman, Sembler, Regency, D.R. Horton, Camden, Post Properties, etc. does to develop a private sector development.  They acquire property that fits their product proforma and develop them.  It really doesn't matter if the original land owner has political power or not.  My main point in regards to Ock's original statement was that the original land owner is not and should not be the one predetermining the end uses. 

If I'm Skinner, I'm trying to cash in on my property.  Doesn't matter to me if Sleiman delivers a strip mall or Camden builds apartments on it.  IMO, this should be COJ's position with properties they decide to issue RFPs for.  Take the LaVilla site.  I'm sure some want to utilize the Sax Seafood space as a restaurant.  However, what happens if the private sector says knocking the building down and constructing an Aloft Hotel or CVS is a better use?  COJ shouldn't stand in the way of that private sector market rate decision because someone thinks a TGI Friday's would be cooler.

stephendare

February 04, 2013, 02:17:05 PM
IKEA Tempe - suburban location


Tampa - Judging from the residential blocks, the site equals roughly 12 square Tampa city blocks


While, I'm at it, here is their "urban" Brooklyn site.  Definitely delivers one of the largest surface parking lots to the neighborhood:

IKEA Brooklyn


These photos seem pretty conclusive, don't they?

Does anyone think that they would be a good fit for our downtown?

stephendare

February 04, 2013, 02:23:54 PM
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=ikea+tempe+map&ll=33.339346,-111.969346&spn=0.002884,0.003216&client=safari&oe=UTF-8&fb=1&gl=us&hq=ikea&hnear=0x872b0898a6aa80e3:0xa2dd4aad392cb41f,Tempe,+AZ&cid=0,0,15624796835480116642&t=h&z=19&layer=c&cbll=33.339346,-111.969346&panoid=jUYBzJ0er_x8PlbAZ-5yVg&cbp=12,130.97,,1,3.68

here is a street view of the Tempe IKEA.  With all the landscaping its attractive, but notice the complete lack of anyone on the streets in the entire panorama.

It would be ideal for the Regency Mall renovation that you suggested.  If you want to continue to perpetuate suburban sprawl development patters.

thelakelander

February 04, 2013, 02:30:40 PM
It fits like a glove at Regency, between Sears and Belk, assuming you demolish the west end of the mall.  The surface parking is already there, so at least you won't be adding acres of new asphalt as you would in just about any other Jacksonville location.

tufsu1

February 04, 2013, 02:36:22 PM
Here is what Tampa's version of DVI and JEDC has to say about IKEA in their newsletter:  Its clear that they are drinking the same koolaid as our locals, but they mention Tempe.

actually the Tampa Bay Partnership is the equivalent of our JaxUSA Partnership.....Tampa Downtown Partnership is the quivalent of our DVI

rashad992

June 26, 2013, 09:53:09 PM
regency was the spot when i was growing up. when i was little before i moved up to new york i used to think it was my very own ny.  i got a lot of memories in regency; from living in cascade apartments with my cousin, living in justina apartments with my sister then moving to bella teresa now. almost everytime i look up regency is disappearing. well the one i remember at least...

TheCat

June 26, 2013, 10:17:41 PM
Funny how things change, eh? I remember Regency being vibrant and fun when I was a kid, as well.

I also remember my last and final experience with Regency two Christmas' ago. It was smelly and sweaty. It felt like the AC was set on ghost town level and after 15 minutes we were speed walking to the nearest exit.


thelakelander

June 26, 2013, 11:19:39 PM
I remember Gateway being the place to be when I was a kid.  Whenever we'd drive through town, my parents would stop at the JCPenney and the May-Cohens that was there.  We'd also eat at Morrison's.  I only remember going to Regency once.  Visiting Jax, the highlight of my trip was crossing the river on either the Mathews or Buckman Bridges.
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