Neighborhoods: Baymeadows

June 2, 2011 60 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Take a drive down Baymeadows Road, from Southside Boulevard to where it eventually meets with San Jose Boulevard. You'll pass through other major intersections - I-95, Philips Highway, Old Kings Road. Through a cluster of residences mixed with business parks mixed with shopping plazas and back again. Through tourist-catering restaurants and new and old hotels visitors can lie their head down in at night. But amidst the typical scenery of a road in a city with buildings and cars, pops out several eclectic store-front signs, advertising the worldly grocery food stores that sit behind them. It's in these ethnic enclaves along Baymeadows Road that Jacksonville's rich cultural diversity is revealed.

Baymeadows: Southside Boulevard to Interstate 95

FSCJ's Deerwood Center campus anchors the corner of Old Baymeadows Road and Southside Boulevard.

FSCJ Deerwood Center campus map.

Florida State College reaches out to the growing Southside area with the College’s Deerwood Center, located at Southside Boulevard and Old Baymeadows Road. The Center contains classrooms, computer and science labs, nursing extension program, digital media graphics lab, and offers credit classes of interest to both degree seeking and non-degree seeking students. Day, evening and Saturday classes are taught by certified faculty who enjoy teaching all students in this unique setting. Enrollment, counseling, academic and financial aid advising, business office, academic skills center and library services are also available at this center.

First opened in 1983, Grand Boulevard Mall was supposed to cater to Jacksonville's growing upscale population. The 225,000-square-foot, two-story center was originally anchored by an 80,000-square-foot Jacobson's Department Store. Over the next decade, Grand Boulevard Mall would fail and ownership sold the center to FCCJ for $4 million in 1994.

Deerwood Village Mall is an outdoor shopping center strategically located between Publix and Winn-Dixie, across the street from FSCJ's Deerwood Center.

An aerial of Deerwood Village Mall.

Baymeadows Place Office and Retail Center features 39,094 square feet of commercial space at the intersection of Baymeadows and Old Baymeadows Road.  Like many retail centers along this stretch of Baymeadows, tenants reflect the growing cultural diversity in this area of the Southside.

The Old Baymeadows Golf Club remains in ruins just east of I-95. Completed in 1969, the golf club closed its doors when D.R. Horton purchased the property for an infill development featuring 1,200 condominiums, 200 houses, 150,000 square feet of office space and 60,000 square feet of retail. With Baymeadows Road already over capacity, Mayor John Peyton vetoed the development's City Council approval, because he didn't agree to a development putting so much more traffic on the congested highway.

Baymeadows Golf Club in 1974. Photo courtesy of the Florida State Archives.

Businesses encompassing the former area of the course include physician and realtor offices.

Baymeadows: Interstate 95 to Philips Highway

The section of Baymeadows between I-95 and Philips Highway is dominated by major office parks to the north and south.  Major tenants and employers in this area include Citistreet, Convergys Corporation, State Farm, The Art Institute of Jacksonville, Florida Coastal School of Law and Chase Bank.  A significant portion of automobile gridlock in the corridor is a direct result of these major employment centers and their autocentric-dominated roadway network.

Baymeadows: Philips Highway to San Jose Boulevard

Situated at the corner of Baymeadows and Philips, along the FEC corridor, the Baymeadows Junction shopping center was originally a 170,330-square-foot General Motors parts distribution center.  After GM relocated to Flagler Center at Philips and St. Augustine Road, redevelopment plans called for converting the industrial facility into retail and office warehouse space.  Plans were then modified to create a project that better catered to the surrounding community.  An unused water tower that served GM was preserved on the site "as an added attraction" to draw attention to the center.  Once a future Southeast commuter rail project comes on line, Baymeadows Junction could become a retail, dining, and entertainment destination directly adjacent to a fixed rail transit station, connecting it to the rest of the city.

The General Motors parts distribution center in 1960.

A mixture of Indian, Spanish, Asian and European businesses can be found at the intersection of Baymeadows & Old Kings Road.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Baymeadows was a booming retail district.  Thirty years later after the newness has worn off, the area is in the midst of an organic makeover as affordable residential and commercial leasing rates have combined to make this corridor a potential epicenter for those looking for new opportunities in Jacksonville's Southside.

Baymeadows Road is located in Jacksonville's Southside, between JTB and the Avenues Mall area.

Article by Ennis Davis and Sarah Gojekian.