Abandoned Jacksonville: Old JEA Tower BuildingMarch 4, 2014 27 comments Print Article
Vacant for 15 years, 233 West Duval Street is downtown Jacksonville's largest forgotten structure. Today, Metro Jacksonville takes a look inside of a building that has become a silent memorial of a vibrant downtown era gone by.
View looking at construction of the Independent Life and Accident Insurance Company home office building. Image courtesy of the Robert E. Fisher Collection and the State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/167146
Designed by KBJ Architects, the 19-story skyscraper at 233 West Duval Street is downtown Jacksonville's tallest abandoned building.
Stretching 260 feet into the air, the 162,000-square-foot tower was completed in 1955 to serve as the headquarters for the Independent Life and Accident Insurance Company.
The modern reinforced concrete building's interior was dominated by the use of granite, limestone and marble finishes. Featuring street level retail along Julia Street, the building also contained a 4th floor cafeteria and a sky lounge on the top floor.
In 1975, Independent Life relocated their headquarters to newly completed Independent Square. Today, Independent Square is known as the Wells Fargo Center and is Jacksonville's second tallest building.
In 1976, the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) acquired 233 West Duval Street and relocated their operations into the structure. During the late 1980s, JEA purchased the Universal Marion Building and relocated most of their offices from 233 West Duval Street by 1990. JEA officially abandoned the building in March 1999.
Construction of Hotel Robert Meyer in 1960. The recently completed Independent Life Building can be seen in the background. Image courtesy of the Louise Frisbie collection and the State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/118056
NEXT PAGE: Inside 233 West Duval Street