10 of Jax's Most Endangered Historic Places

December 10, 2015 19 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

5. The Laura Trio
NE corner of Laura and Forsyth Streets

The Bisbee, The Marble Bank and the Florida Life Buildings make up the Laura Trio site.  Completed in 1908, the "Chicago-style" Bisbee Building was Florida's first skyscraper. Just to the north, the Florida Life Building was completed in 1912 and has been called Jacksonville's purest statement of a "skyscraper." Built for the Florida Life Insurance company, the narrow structure included intricate ornamentation typically used by famed architect, Louis Sullivan. Both of these towers were designed by and are the last remaining local high rise designs of H.J. Klutho. The third building and the oldest, is the Marble Bank Building, which was completed in 1902. For many years, this Neo-Classical Revival style building has been named the crown jewel and only worth preserving.

This site has become ground zero in Jacksonville's struggles to inject life into the heart of the city. After a decade of proposals failing to get off the ground, the current redevelopment project may be this site's last chance at survival. However, the city will have to pour in millions to pull it off. Soon, we'll find out if Jax is ready to put its money where its mouth is.

6. The Ambassador Hotel
310 West Church Street

Constructed in 1923, 310 West Church Street Apartments (Ambassador Hotel), is the largest original-use historic residential structure remaining in the Northbank.  It's also the only one designed with large courtyards so that most of the 50 apartments could occupy corner locations.  It was believed the opening of the courthouse would lead to the restoration of the Ambassador. While redevelopment proposals have popped up from time to time, none have materialized. The longer Julia Street remains an abandoned moonscape, the stronger the chance this building comes down like others once standing in the immediate area.

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