Downtown's Deteriorating State of Possibilities

August 2, 2007 5 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Noli Novak, the famed Washington Post Artist is out of the downtown Jacksonville game again.Novak's inability to find a space---any space--- to accommodate her project is the second case of verified downtown passovers in at least two months, the first one being the inability of Boomtown to find new space downtown for identical reasons.

What follows in the letter from Novak, which sums up in a nutshell exactly what has become the leading complaint downtown.  The possibilities are collapsing due to the severely miniaturized stock of buildings left and the tedious deathgrip that speculators have on what remaining structures are actually downtown.Sorry, Noli Novak, that Downtown cannot seem to make or find a place for you.

Hi Stephen,

Just heard some more news about the building and wanted to share it with you. We're out of the deal. The building is in such a poor state, it would have to be reinforced from below the foundations in order to withstand added weight and modifications. The money needed to do such thing is not something we could come up with and although we were willing to do everything slowly and in stages, we'd still be over our heads. Not to mention that the seller still didn't want to budge on the price, which means they are probably selling the building as a teardown and they're obviously looking for deep pocketed "developers", who are going to bless downtown Jax with yet another parking lot!

So, ..... after all the trouble, we feel terribly sorry that our efforts to save this beautiful, historic building failed miserably. It's a sad, sad reality especially after falling in love with the building but, we did everything we could.

It's upsetting to know that such beautiful structures are allowed to slowly deteriorate and vanish and that the city of Jax doesn't put any effort in punishing absentee landlords not just for letting the buildings crumble, but for keeping them empty! Everywhere you look there's an empty building and we went so far as contacting numerous real estate agencies inquiring about them, and we got the same answer from all of them: there are no available buildings left downtown! As for the empty ones, one agent said they practically beg the owners to consider selling, but except wanting to know how much money their properties can fetch, they show no interest in selling.

BUT .... we're not giving up yet! Now we're even more committed to finding something. I have to bring up the Hyonides name, Jax's beloved "developer" or as I call him "undeveloper" (what did he ever develop?). There is a number of his properties in LaVilla I can simply salivate over, but how do we make him sell? After the summer, we plan on approaching some people who we think might point us in the right direction and draw out a new attack plan. Again, we want to thank you for all your help, and I'm sure we'll be asking for some more.

Talk to you soon!