A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers

March 6, 2008 27 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

The title of tallest building in Florida changed hands twelve times over the past 100 years. Of the 13 buildings to hold the title, 6 of them are in Jacksonville. Today, Metro Jacksonville takes a look at Florida's Tallest Buildings throughout more than a century.

Dyal-Upchurch Building - Jacksonville

Year Completed: 1902

Height: 25 Meters/6 Stories

Jacksonville first "Skyscraper" after the 1901 fire was built at the corner of Main and E Bay St.  It was the first building to be built on wood pilings and also the first Jacksonville building designed by Henry J Klutho.  It now serves as home to an advertising agency.


Atlantic National Bank Building - Jacksonville

Year Completed: 1909

Height: 41 Meters/10 Stories

Built for the Atlantic National Bank, this building is the home to the only pedestrian tunnel in downtown still in use today - it connects this building to the BB&T Bank Building.  It remains an office building today.


Florida Life Building - Jacksonville

Year Completed: 1912

Height: 45 Meters/11 Stories

A part of the Laura Trio, this building was also designed by Henry Klutho.  It (and the rest of the Laura Trio) is owned by Cameron Kuhn, who was planning to turn the buildings into Office Condos and Retail Space.  In light of Kuhn's financial difficulties, we shall see what is in store for these landmarks.


Heard National Bank Building (AKA the Graham Building) - Jacksonville

Year Completed: 1913

Height: 55 Meters/15 Stories

The only of the tallest to be demolished, it met its maker in 1981.  It is now the site of the Bank of America Tower.


Feedom Tower - Miami

Year Completed:  1925

Height: 78 Meters (255 feet)

Originally completed in 1925 as the headquarters and printing facility of the Miami News & Metropolis newspaper, it is an example of Mediterranean Revival style with design elements borrowed from the Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain. Its cupola on a 255 foot (78 m) tower contained a decorative beacon. 


Miami-Dade Courthouse 


Year Completed: 1928 

Height: 110 Meters (340 feet) 

 The Dade County Courthouse is a historic U.S. courthouse in Miami, Florida. It is located at 73 West Flagler Street. Constructed over four years (1925-28), it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on January 4, 1989. The building is 360 feet (120 meters) tall with 28 floors. When built, it was the tallest building in Miami and in Florida.

Riverplace Tower - Jacksonville

Year Completed: 1967

Height: 127 Meters/28 Stories

Jacksonville's insurance headquarters era continued into the 1960's with the completion of the Gulf Life Tower.  Now officially named the Riverplace Tower, Wachovia's graces the top of the building.


Park Tower - Tampa

Year Completed: 1972

Height: 140 Meters/36 Stories

With the completion of the Park Tower, Jacksonville loses the title of Florida's Tallest.  The building has had several names in its history and is now known as the Colonial Bank Building.

Independent Square - Jacksonville

Year Completed: 1974

Height: 163 Meters/37 Stories

Two years later Jacksonville strikes back and reclaims the tallest building in Florida. Built for the Independent Life Insurance Company, this iconic building is the most prominent on the northbank skyline.  It is the worldwide headquarters for MPS Group, an international professional staffing company.


One Tampa City Center - Tampa

Year Completed: 1981

Height: 164 Meters/38 Stories

In 1984, Florida's tallest left Jacksonville for the last time.  This building serves as the Tampa office for the telecommunications company Verizon.


Wachovia Financial Center - Miami

Year Completed: 1984

Height: 233 Meters/55 Stories

Florida's tallest office building (and most spacious with 1.16 million leasable square feet).


Four Seasons Hotel & Tower - Miami

Year Completed: 2003

Height: 240 Meters/64 Stories

This is the first of Florida's Tallest that is not an office building - it is a mixed use building featuring the Four Seasons Hotel, condominium units, and hotel-condos.


UNDER CONSTRUCTION - Brickell Financial District II - Miami

Expected Completion: 2009

Height: 255 Meters/68 Stories

This landmark building under construction will be another mixed use property, featuring office space, and retail in Miami's Brickell District.


Will Jacksonville ever have a building reclaim the title of Florida's Tallest?  One day it may be possible, but for now we will have to take pride in the fact that the Florida Skyscraper boom began in Jacksonville.