Author Topic: On Top of the JEA Building  (Read 10219 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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On Top of the JEA Building
« on: September 13, 2011, 03:07:05 AM »
On Top of the JEA Building



Metro Jacksonville gets a view of Jacksonville from the top of the former Universal Marion Building, now in use as administrative offices for the Jacksonville Electric Authority.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2011-sep-on-top-of-the-universal-marion-building
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 06:39:33 AM by thelakelander »

Noone

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Re: On Top of the Universal Marion Building
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2011, 03:44:13 AM »
Nice article and pictures.
And just imagine that out of town guest that is capturing a glimpse of our river and says what are those orange, green, yellow, red, blue, dots on the river.

Those are kayaks using the river because we promote Public Access and economic opportunity on our St. Johns River our American Heritage River a Federal Initiative.

Unfortunately right now in Duval county Florida we don't promote that type of economic opportunity. Are you allowed in your county?
« Last Edit: October 14, 2011, 06:19:42 AM by Noone »

dougskiles

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Re: On Top of the JEA Building
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2011, 06:54:23 AM »
Quote
Despite only being 19 stories, the JEA Tower's conference room offers premium views of the city.  Considering JEA is a public entity, one can't help but hope that one day this space will be opened for the general public to enjoy.

I don't have much hope for that.  Getting in that building to see a plan reviewer is more difficult than getting in to City Hall to see the mayor.  I can understand security concerns regarding water plants and power plants, but I don't understand what is going on inside the JEA offices that is so top-secret.

thelakelander

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Re: On Top of the JEA Building
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2011, 06:56:26 AM »
^True.  It's pretty difficult accessing that elevator.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

simms3

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Re: On Top of the JEA Building
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2011, 07:22:25 AM »
That was quite a big city development when it was built, with 2 downtown department stores and that rotating restaurant open until 12:30 a.m. with live ME lobsters flown in!  I don't think Jacksonville has one restaurant open past midnight now...What happened?
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acme54321

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Re: On Top of the JEA Building
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2011, 08:02:26 AM »
Nice article and pictures.
And just imagine that out of town guest that is capturing a glimpse of our river and says what are those orange, green, yellow, red, blue, dots on the river.

Those are kayaks using the river because we promote Public Access and economic opportunity on our St. Johns River our American Heritage River.

Unfortunately right now in Duval county Florida we don't promote that type of economic opportunity. Are you allowed in your county?

Ok we get it, you love kayaking.  But do you have to make some vaguely connected post about our American heritage river in what seems like every other thread on these forums?

thelakelander

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Re: On Top of the JEA Building
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2011, 08:43:14 AM »
That was quite a big city development when it was built, with 2 downtown department stores and that rotating restaurant open until 12:30 a.m. with live ME lobsters flown in!  I don't think Jacksonville has one restaurant open past midnight now...What happened?

Good question.  A book worthy chain of disastrous events on how to destroy a vibrant downtown scene in less than 20 years.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

David

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Re: On Top of the JEA Building
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2011, 09:09:32 AM »
When I worked at JEA a few years ago, it was always hard paying attention during the meetings we had in the former revolving restaurant. It was torture actually, looking over the city seeing what everyone else is doing outside. It really made you NOT want to be at work.

During a meeting one day towards the end of my tenure there, we saw a small mushroom cloud rising up from the ground near the Northside Generating Station (pictured last). That was the T-2 lab explosion that rocked the area. It actually knocked one of the power turbines offline for a few seconds, the city was really close to a blackout that day.

Either way, that view is pretty sweet & I do agree that it should somehow be open for public access, maybe even converted back into a restaurant some day. Jacksonville's dining scene has matured over the past decade so it would be a nice addition, but you have your typical office security concerns that will prevent that as long as JEA's there. Especially with as many angry customers they have. They don't want just anyone walking into their offices....it might get ugly!

« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 11:19:59 AM by David »

duvaldude08

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Re: On Top of the JEA Building
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2011, 10:17:23 AM »
They should have left the rotating resturant as a it was. And It opened it up to the public.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 10:27:10 AM by duvaldude08 »
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simms3

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Re: On Top of the JEA Building
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2011, 11:15:07 AM »
Security concerns should not be a preventative measure for mixed uses and tourist attractions within a building.  I don't know the elevator capacity or how the bay is arranged, but it is a small building and fewer than 20 floors (so there is only a need for one elevator bay).  I don't see why it can't be done to convert one of the elevators to an express to shuttle between the lobby and the rotating restaurant space.  I don't think that rotating restaurant would do well as a restaurant any more, but I think it could make a great bar/lounge with small food options, open to the public from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. M-W, 11-Midnight on Thursday, and 11-2 Friday, 5 p.m. - 2 a.m. Sat, and customized for Sunday/ game day events.

Perhaps it could be arranged to put in turnstiles for the general elevators, provide a queu for the freight, thereby separating JEA offices from public space.  Also, by putting in RFID readers on exit stairwell doors, patrons won't be able to come "down" into the offices.  The elevator turnstiles would also prevent the general public from entering the elevators without checking in.  That's how most new office buildings where I am are, and office buildings where I am actually have a much greater need for security than that tiny little thing (so IOW no big deal, quick, cheap, and easy fixes).  If BOA and Modis and Riverplace can have public or semi-public space at the top of their much more iconic buildings filled with more sensitive firms (and law firms), JEA building has no excuse not to do something with the top.
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mbstout

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Re: On Top of the JEA Building
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2011, 01:39:16 PM »
It should be turned into a retro boutique hotel a la The Maritime Hotel in NYC, and the space upstairs should be used for events, a bar etc. like The Boom Boom Room and Le Bain at the top of the Standard Hotel in NYC's meatpacking district..
I just don't think Jacksonville has the 'cool' factor in attracting small boutique hotel chains like these (or the Ace Hotel) for them to consider entering our market..

KenFSU

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Re: On Top of the JEA Building
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2011, 01:59:46 PM »
During a meeting one day towards the end of my tenure there, we saw a small mushroom cloud rising up from the ground near the Northside Generating Station (pictured last). That was the T-2 lab explosion that rocked the area. It actually knocked one of the power turbines offline for a few seconds, the city was really close to a blackout that day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aGwSBXDzPg

dougsandiego

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Re: On Top of the JEA Building
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2011, 06:53:27 PM »
Is there no market at all for downtown shopping? That mall concept using existing buildings looks like it was a great idea. Combine it with a streetcar or trolley line that reaches out to some logical destinations and maybe also connects the trolley to your Skyway and  it might help jumpstart the area.

The revolving lounge, restored in a retro theme would be great fun.

Do you have a core group, besides Metro Jacksonville, that is also championing the revival of the area? It seems everything revolves around getting activists and at least a few political leaders on board. Every article I read here seems to hint at a vacuum on the political front. I think that you might need to focus on regime change. Lack of leadership seems to be the problem, because I also sense a strong civic pride amongst the citizens who post here.

San Diego is certainly not the best, but I will say that the numerous citizen groups here (too numerous to list)regularly kick political butt, and often resort to court action to keep the self anointed ones in check.

simms3

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Re: On Top of the JEA Building
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2011, 07:14:48 PM »
There is no market at all for downtown shopping.  That can change, but that is the current situation.

There is no demand for more hotels downtown, either.  Hotels in downtown Jax suffer from a lack of conventions and events and tourism.

There is no means for someone local to put in something with a cool factor.  Sometimes it requires major capital partners like Canyon-Johnson Funds or private funds with the experience based in other cities.  They don't seem to be coming to Jacksonville any time soon and nobody in our town has the experience or capital to risk that much money to put in a cool boutique hotel with major restaurant/bar/club/shops when there is no proven demand and only proven "non-demand" for such things in our city.

This is a single tenant office building, and as we can see there is demand for that in limited quantities downtown (not a huge government or HQ city).

Basically, JEA has no reason or incentive to do *anything* with the building.  They own it and occupy the entire thing.  It is only 220,000 SF, which is smaller than the 12 floor mid-rise apartment building about to go up next to me (325,000 SF), and it was last renovated 30 years ago (which would make it a C- property in the eyes of private landlords).

It would be a difficult building to convert to hospitality or residential use considering the elevator shaft is on one side, the back side, leaving a huge block of usable floor space.  And a renovation of the base to address the street better and for aesthetic purposes (basically no income producing purpose for our public utility that we pay for because they can't put rentable shops down there) would cost a couple million dollars, at our expense through fees or rate hikes (if the city does not foot that bill, and why should they?).  The building's floor plates are open, but not really large enough for huge servers, which tech/healthcare companies use.  Its uses are very limited.

BUT, something can be done about the thing at the top, and I think someone with political clout should start a campaign for it to garnish city/political support to do something there.  It will have to be run by the city, inadvertently, since JEA is a municipal institution, which happens to own that building and the land.  A private group can run the restaurant or bar and brand it, perhaps lease it from JEA, but a private group can't own that part of the building outright.  JEA, even if it leases it out, will have to fork over a good $75+/SF in tenant allowances to get that thing running again.
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mtraininjax

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Re: On Top of the JEA Building
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2011, 07:31:47 PM »
What did JEA do with their old building on Julia? I believe it has been empty for almost 10 years.
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