Author Topic: The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza  (Read 10368 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza
« on: April 10, 2013, 03:04:12 AM »
The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza



The story of Jacksonville's first enclosed shopping mall begins with Austrian-born architect Victor David Gruen. An advocate of prioritizing pedestrians over cars, Gruen is best known today for his pioneering design of shopping malls in the United States. Gruen, who described suburbia as being 'souless" and "in search of a heart," saw his mall concept as a method to create better versions of the American downtown in outlying areas.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2013-apr-the-story-of-phillips-highway-plaza

ben says

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Re: The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2013, 09:53:33 AM »
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In 1996, developers Charles Price and Craig Meek purchased the mall and converted it into a warehouse, office and distribution center called the 95 Central Business Center. Three years later, developers Price & Meek and ING Realty Partners announced their intentions to redevelop the property into a $26 million, 375,000 square foot office complex.

That's my dad (Charles Price) who, with his then partner, developed the property in '96.


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mbwright

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Re: The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2013, 10:16:34 AM »
I find it amazing how quickly developments lose their luster, from grand opening, to abandoned is 30 years or so, boom to bust.  It happens all over, and I am sure there are studies on the life cycle of a a shopping center.  It is good to see areas repurposed.  At some point, even SJTC may become old.

duvaldude08

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Re: The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2013, 10:58:52 AM »
Man, this really shows the life cycles of malls. Regency and OP killed this mall, and the town center and the venues killed Regency. It makes it even more amazing Regency is still open, even if its on life support. Speaking of Regency, does anybody know the plans about tearing down the west end of the mall? I remember that they were forcing stores to move closer to where the food court is because they were going to demolish that wing? And the food court is almost dead also so it seems that something is in the works.
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thelakelander

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Re: The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2013, 02:03:47 PM »
I find it amazing how quickly developments lose their luster, from grand opening, to abandoned is 30 years or so, boom to bust.  It happens all over, and I am sure there are studies on the life cycle of a a shopping center.  It is good to see areas repurposed.  At some point, even SJTC may become old.

Regency is an exception to the rule.  That mall will turn 50 in 2017. Most flame out after 20 years or so.  For Regency, where its at now should have happened back in the 1990s. At this point, SJTC's future remains to be determined. Retail trends will continue to evolve over time and SJTC will eventually become obsolete. At this point, it could either go the way of Philips and Grand Boulevard or evolve like Tampa's West Shore Plaza and Miami's Dadeland Malls. A lot will depend on the surrounding area's future demographics, future retail development trends and SJCT's ability to adapt to whatever the future may hold.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 02:05:28 PM by thelakelander »
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fieldafm

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Re: The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2013, 02:27:11 PM »
I find it amazing how quickly developments lose their luster, from grand opening, to abandoned is 30 years or so, boom to bust.  It happens all over, and I am sure there are studies on the life cycle of a a shopping center.  It is good to see areas repurposed.  At some point, even SJTC may become old.

Regency is an exception to the rule.  That mall will turn 50 in 2017. Most flame out after 20 years or so.  For Regency, where its at now should have happened back in the 1990s. At this point, SJTC's future remains to be determined. Retail trends will continue to evolve over time and SJTC will eventually become obsolete. At this point, it could either go the way of Philips and Grand Boulevard or evolve like Tampa's West Shore Plaza and Miami's Dadeland Malls. A lot will depend on the surrounding area's future demographics, future retail development trends and SJCT's ability to adapt to whatever the future may hold.

Regency is behind the 8 ball.  It could have repositioned itself as a lifestyle center drawing in a regional audience (specifically drawing from the South GA area), however over $300 million in public bond money later the River City Marketplace is up and running (and subsidized) drawing the kinds of tenants Regency could have attracted had it repositioned itself in the marketplace earlier.  The ironic thing is that the Dames Point helped Regency (and brought even more traffic it's way via 9A), but it certainly didn't help itself by keeping up with the market before RCP filled that niche instead.  Even more ironic is that Regency's neighbor (Toney Sleiman) recognized this about 12 years ago while General Growth kept their head in the sand trying to milk the cash cow instead of feeding it more corn.  I'm beginning to think that Regency may have lost it's opportunity as a major retail destination and would be best served by becoming an alternative to an office market a few miles up the road that has low vacancy rates amidst strong market demand.   
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 02:30:35 PM by fieldafm »

thelakelander

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Re: The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2013, 03:45:23 PM »
^Yeah, when you think about it, half of the retailers that could have been used to anchor a redeveloped Regency are already in strip center developments immediately to the mall's north and south. With traditional department stores retracting instead of expanding, Regency is in a pretty difficult position.
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Wacca Pilatka

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Re: The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2013, 04:17:09 PM »
Great job on the article and especially the historical photos.
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exnewsman

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Re: The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2013, 04:43:26 PM »
Too good of a location for it to die completely. Something will fill that space if/when Regency goes away. Redevelopment is not a bad thing. Regency served its purpose. now its time for another purpose either in the same building or tear it down and start over.

blizz01

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Re: The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2013, 09:18:56 PM »
Some malls seem to have bucked the whole life cycle trend - I think SJTC has substantial staying power.  Look at King of Prussia Mall in PA - ~40+ years and still growing/going strong.

thekillingwax

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Re: The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2013, 11:14:07 PM »
Very interesting article! I had no idea all those "historic" anchors were there. I started visiting probably around the time of Sam's being over there. My aunt had previously worked at the Bell tower downtown and was relocated across the street from the mall. Fond memories of Oshman's, even fonder memories of the small arcade, the pizza place (Renna's?) and the asian guy that ran the trinket/video store- got some very strange video tapes there.

duvaldude08

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Re: The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2013, 11:55:20 PM »
Too good of a location for it to die completely. Something will fill that space if/when Regency goes away. Redevelopment is not a bad thing. Regency served its purpose. now its time for another purpose either in the same building or tear it down and start over.

I agree. That is a prime location. It just needs to be redevloped. Something can be sucessful there, whether its a redeveloped Regency or something else.
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vicupstate

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Re: The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2013, 05:01:57 AM »
I find it amazing how quickly developments lose their luster, from grand opening, to abandoned is 30 years or so, boom to bust.  It happens all over, and I am sure there are studies on the life cycle of a a shopping center.  It is good to see areas repurposed.  At some point, even SJTC may become old.

Regency is an exception to the rule.  That mall will turn 50 in 2017. Most flame out after 20 years or so.  For Regency, where its at now should have happened back in the 1990s. At this point, SJTC's future remains to be determined. Retail trends will continue to evolve over time and SJTC will eventually become obsolete. At this point, it could either go the way of Philips and Grand Boulevard or evolve like Tampa's West Shore Plaza and Miami's Dadeland Malls. A lot will depend on the surrounding area's future demographics, future retail development trends and SJCT's ability to adapt to whatever the future may hold.

Regency is behind the 8 ball.  It could have repositioned itself as a lifestyle center drawing in a regional audience (specifically drawing from the South GA area), however over $300 million in public bond money later the River City Marketplace is up and running (and subsidized) drawing the kinds of tenants Regency could have attracted had it repositioned itself in the marketplace earlier.  The ironic thing is that the Dames Point helped Regency (and brought even more traffic it's way via 9A), but it certainly didn't help itself by keeping up with the market before RCP filled that niche instead.  Even more ironic is that Regency's neighbor (Toney Sleiman) recognized this about 12 years ago while General Growth kept their head in the sand trying to milk the cash cow instead of feeding it more corn.  I'm beginning to think that Regency may have lost it's opportunity as a major retail destination and would be best served by becoming an alternative to an office market a few miles up the road that has low vacancy rates amidst strong market demand.   

Not sure I agree totally.  RCP was long overdue, IMO.  That area had been underserved for a long time.  The population and I-95 exposure more than warranted it to be built.  I know the city put some incentives in initially, but did they continue even as the area grew? 

Regency would need to be on I-95 in order to have gotten the South GA folks in big numbers, unless the retailers were Bass Pro or something like that.

Nevertheless, you are  certainly right that the mall ownership totally dropped the ball.
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thelakelander

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Re: The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2013, 05:55:01 AM »
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I know the city put some incentives in initially, but did they continue even as the area grew?

^For all its success, the RCP area has not been able to generate the revenue needed to pay off the $300 million in bonds issued for its development.
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PATSY/AUTUMN

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Re: The Story of Phillips Highway Plaza
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2013, 03:54:16 PM »
What I find annoying about RCM, and the smaller Oak Leaf Plantation, is the layout.  I prefer everything together than being spread out all over where you have to drive from place to place to avoid getting run  down in the parking lots.  Some malls in other states are built in a circular fashion several stories high and with escalators and elevators and underground parking.  Wish they would do that in Jax.