Author Topic: Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown  (Read 5629 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown
« on: July 27, 2015, 03:00:01 AM »
Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown



Recently, a panel at the annual International Council of Shopping Centers offered a list of important points that cities like Jacksonville need to consider when trying to establish retail districts downtown.

Read More: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2015-jul-five-lessons-for-jacksonville-to-bring-retail-downtown

UNFurbanist

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Re: Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2015, 12:06:22 PM »
Good stuff. Downtown definitely needs retail but the fabric has the be there first. That store front next to Chomp Chomp and the tattoo place has a big strata sign sitting inside. Are they planning on opening a shop there?

fieldafm

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Re: Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2015, 12:14:46 PM »
No, they looked.. but ultimately decided to re-invest into their burgeoning mail order business.

pearldrums

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Re: Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2015, 12:24:21 PM »
As an Architect, I grew up in Jacksonville and lived in Jacksonville for most of my life. I saw Mandarin grow into what we have today and experienced the development codes change in order to adjust for growth and thought OK...Maybe... just maybe those lessons were learned. Now looking at Hodges, Kernan and San Pablo Area.... it seems like nothing was learned.

The #3 comments hits home the best.

3. Focus on Place making

Jacksonville and Duval country do a horrible job at place making. Look at the Proposed Plans for The Landing (while the current layout is not the best.. it functions as a central meeting place downtown), What happened with the Hyatt Development right next door (we got a square box...right on the river...OH YIPPY...wait they did through in a little ornament on the river elevation...
Louis Sullivan once wrote--“But the building’s identity resided in the ornament" and "It was the spirit animating the mass and flowing from it, and it expressed the individuality of the building."...and We get a big a-- square box on the river!!!!!!!!!!)

The older and well established communities are thriving. Why.. Place making......Just my observation after 38 years in Jacksonville...


UNFurbanist

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Re: Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2015, 12:28:09 PM »
Oh I see  :-\ Would have been a cool addition.

JeffreyS

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Re: Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2015, 12:44:33 PM »
For Downtown the best move would still be to figure out how to turn the 1st floor of the big buildings inside out to expose those mini malls inside to the street.
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Re: Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2015, 12:46:54 PM »
As an Architect, I grew up in Jacksonville and lived in Jacksonville for most of my life. I saw Mandarin grow into what we have today and experienced the development codes change in order to adjust for growth and thought OK...Maybe... just maybe those lessons were learned. Now looking at Hodges, Kernan and San Pablo Area.... it seems like nothing was learned.

The #3 comments hits home the best.

3. Focus on Place making

Jacksonville and Duval country do a horrible job at place making. Look at the Proposed Plans for The Landing (while the current layout is not the best.. it functions as a central meeting place downtown), What happened with the Hyatt Development right next door (we got a square box...right on the river...OH YIPPY...wait they did through in a little ornament on the river elevation...
Louis Sullivan once wrote--“But the building’s identity resided in the ornament" and "It was the spirit animating the mass and flowing from it, and it expressed the individuality of the building."...and We get a big a-- square box on the river!!!!!!!!!!)

The older and well established communities are thriving. Why.. Place making......Just my observation after 38 years in Jacksonville...

There is definitely a good sense of place in San Marco and Riverside/Avondale currently.  And great potential in places like Springfield, St. Nicholas, Murray Hill, Lakewood and even Arlington.  I think the infrastructure is set up decently in these older areas to build these centers up and create more attractive places.  The sprawling haphazard developments in other parts of the city particularly closer to the beach may actually fizzle out in my opinion.  The quick-return developers and lack of planning has created such unattractive developments that I think some people are just going to get tired of it and eventually look for areas with more substance.
"The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying 'This is mine,' and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society." - Jean Jacques Rousseau

JaxJersey-licious

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Re: Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2015, 03:12:48 PM »
These are all great points but point #5 really cracks me up when it comes to La Villa. Wasn't the idea of the Better Jacksonville Plan back in the 90's was to "clear the roadblock" that was what was left of that historic neighborhood that at the time was full of dilapidated housing owned by absentee landlords occupied by just as many squatters as opposed to actual tenants and old unsafe and unmaintained commercial and warehouse properties that were unable to be reused or repurposed. And what become of all those efforts a decade later…just a handful of companies that decided to relocate or expand there, a middle school for the arts, and attracting not a single hotel chain to prop up our humble, struggling convention center. Meanwhile, because of all the mergers, acquisitions, and relocation of banks, insurance companies, and health care companies there was now a glut of office space available in the core. And so people start waxing poetically about these old abandoned structures, poo-pooing city officials for being so swift and hasty with the bulldozer taking away a Jacksonville that once was (and many of those same people didn't necessarily shed the same tears for the equally historic Brooklyn neighborhood now that many things there are coming up roses).

There's that old saying "You don't really know what you want" applied to certain people who insist they know what they want which I think reflects the overall vibe of the area and is one of the most frustrating aspects of downtown development. That’s by far not the only thing hindering the urban core and recent years have shown some positive additions and glimmers of hope – then I think about La Villa and the politicians and developers plans and dreams envisioned for the area more than 20 years ago.

They really seemed to know what they wanted for La Villa…   

vicupstate

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Re: Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2015, 03:43:09 PM »
These are all great points but point #5 really cracks me up when it comes to La Villa. Wasn't the idea of the Better Jacksonville Plan back in the 90's was to "clear the roadblock" that was what was left of that historic neighborhood that at the time was full of dilapidated housing owned by absentee landlords occupied by just as many squatters as opposed to actual tenants and old unsafe and unmaintained commercial and warehouse properties that were unable to be reused or repurposed. And what become of all those efforts a decade later…just a handful of companies that decided to relocate or expand there, a middle school for the arts, and attracting not a single hotel chain to prop up our humble, struggling convention center. Meanwhile, because of all the mergers, acquisitions, and relocation of banks, insurance companies, and health care companies there was now a glut of office space available in the core. And so people start waxing poetically about these old abandoned structures, poo-pooing city officials for being so swift and hasty with the bulldozer taking away a Jacksonville that once was (and many of those same people didn't necessarily shed the same tears for the equally historic Brooklyn neighborhood now that many things there are coming up roses).

There's that old saying "You don't really know what you want" applied to certain people who insist they know what they want which I think reflects the overall vibe of the area and is one of the most frustrating aspects of downtown development. That’s by far not the only thing hindering the urban core and recent years have shown some positive additions and glimmers of hope – then I think about La Villa and the politicians and developers plans and dreams envisioned for the area more than 20 years ago.

They really seemed to know what they wanted for La Villa…   


Technically speaking it was the River City Renaissance that destroyed the vast majority of what was then in LaVilla. The damage was already done when the BJP came along in the early 2000's.  That doesn't change your basic premise however. 

The problem is that the same 'destroy it in order to save it' mentality is still alive and well. Springfield is probably the best current example. Kim Scott and the city have the perfect example of what can go wrong (LaVilla) with their strategy, yet they persist with reckless abandon. 
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vicupstate

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Re: Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2015, 03:52:47 PM »
Quote
Director of Economic Development in Greenville, Nancy Whitworth believes that you can’t simply just drop a shopping district in to the middle of downtown.  "When you begin the revitalization process, everyone wants retail […] they want to immediately jump to retail. You can make a place look good, but if the market can't support the activity, you won't be successful."

Very sage advise which certainly relates to the Landing as it originally opened in 1987, and also to the prospects for its redevelopment. 

"The problem with quotes on the internet is you can never be certain they're authentic." - Abraham Lincoln

ronchamblin

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Re: Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2015, 08:19:57 PM »
A city core will have achieved a revitalized condition only when, throughout each day and evening, it is reasonably alive with workers, residents, shoppers, and visitors.  The importance of encouraging new residents into the core cannot be overemphasized. 

Successful and vibrant outlying cores such as Five Points, San Marco, Park ‘n King, Avondale, and the St. John’s Town Center have evolved to vibrancy because these areas happen to possess infrastructures common to all vibrant cores. 

To expect our downtown core to achieve a self-sustaining vibrancy without introducing  into it the necessary infrastructure, is to expect a miracle.  In spite of what the bible says, miracles don’t happen.  Lacking the necessary infrastructure, the effort to revitalize downtown has been like trying to load mercury with a pitchfork .. as Brautigan would say.

Infrastructures?

SMALL TO MEDIUM SIDEWALK FACING LEASE SPACES:  Observe the many small sidewalk-facing spaces available for lease in the successful outlying cores; and the lack of same downtown.   Vibrancy cannot exist along city blocks of large concrete or granite structures facing the sidewalks.  The fact that there are many vacant small spaces in the downtown core does not prove that there are enough -- it suggests that the core is in a “fail” mode, lacking enough positive infrastructure, foot traffic, and momentum to support investors.

PARKING / STREETS / MASS TRANSIT / METER REMOVAL:  All these mutually affect each other.  Any system, institution, business, or environment … if it is to survive and succeed, must remove negatives and encourage positives.  Parking meters, with the inevitable tickets, represent a negative that must be removed when other changes make removal practical.

Every downtown must have perhaps three or four select streets designed for reasonably fast pass through, or to exit or enter the city.  If a downtown core is to become vibrant, it must set aside specific block environments safe and welcoming for walking, socializing, shopping, and entertainment.  Most successful outlying cores have high density angle parking, with only some parallel parking.  On some occasions, the streets are one-way, such as in the Town Center, and to some extent, in San Marco.

One method of achieving higher parking density and an enlarged walkability space in selected areas is to have one-way streets -- even one lane, which would allow angle parking on both sides, thereby slowing traffic, and creating four times the parking spaces per city block as compared to parallel parking.  Of course, the dense angle parking can exist only where appropriate to achieve the desired ambience and density. 

Again, if the goal is to have true energy and commerce … infill and revitalization … one must create an infrastructure to allow and encourage it.  What might seem radical, such as the single-lane, one-way streets, with angle parking on both sides -- in selected areas of course -- just might be a viable and necessary aspect of a revitalized downtown.

Mass transit systems such as the skyway, light rail, or streetcars, ease and invite travel from outlying areas to downtown; reducing congestion, pollution, and parking demand, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for metered parking.  .

Funds .. taxes … In the interest of using funds more productively, one might consider that crime is a problem not solved by more policemen, but by more jobs.  Therefore, we should divert funds from the sheriff’s budget to invest in mass transit and infrastructural projects -- thus creating much needed jobs, not only for the general population, but for the suffering minorities.  Jobs reduce the pressure to survive by acts of crime, reducing the need for more policemen and jail beds.  Its easy … the sign of a lazy mind ... to hire more policemen.  Its more difficult, and much more creative and productive, to work hard to educate workers and, by additional hard work, to make jobs for the newly trained workers. 

Dignity .. the will to work … and the determination to live properly … emerges when the focus is on education, training, and jobs.  Any group of mental mediocrities can, at each election cycle, campaign for increasing the police force to horrendous and wasteful levels to “fight crime” and “make the city safe” for the citizens.  Bullshit.  The sheriff’s department, by its nature, tends to  excesses of waste, as it is not held to efficiency by the laws of competition as would be the private firm. 

Similar to our burgeoning and wasteful military budget, where there is no limit to what the citizen must spend to protect themselves from the enemy nation or “terrorists” … enemies mostly created by our own policies; the sheriff’s department, in order to build its empire and budget, reaps budget approvals via the failure of our legislators to solve the “crime problem” with real solutions.

But .. back to subject.  Removal of metered parking would require a policy of enforcing a rule that core employees NOT park in customer parking spaces.  Employees must  park in garages and walk a block or two -- lose some goddamn weight.  It is hurtful to businesses and inconsiderate, when employees park all day in a valuable space that could be utilized by ten to twenty shoppers throughout the day.

The goal is to create a downtown environment wherein one would be surprised and confounded if revitalization did NOT happen.  When measuring true sustained vibrancy, it is unfair to count the people entering the core for special events -- Art Walk, the Jazz Fest, One Spark, etc.  A revitalized downtown must have a high “daily” energy level, as evidenced by lots of people living, working, socializing, and shopping.  Until we make the necessary infrastructure changes in our city core, we are going to continue wishing for, but never achieving, core renewal.  Just as the bird cannot fly without the wing, our city cannot achieve a vibrant self-sustaining core without the necessary infrastructure. 
« Last Edit: July 30, 2015, 06:58:35 PM by ronchamblin »

BennyKrik

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Re: Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2015, 08:34:44 PM »
As an entrepreneur, I've been complaining for years about unreasonably high rents downtown. Why are they so high on all those spaces which had been vacant for years?
There must be a few good landlords outhere who would take lower rent on a 5 year lease today rather than get nothing today and tomorrow in perpetuity.

simms3

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Re: Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2015, 01:59:25 AM »
Low basis, low taxes - the carry is probably minimal and the lack of vision in Jax definitely translates down to the landlord level.  Overall, from top down, there is an utter lack of creativity.  But slowly but surely maybe that will change.  There are a solid few landlords who are paving a way, but even as such,  I think complete financial success has often been minimal at best.  For instance, is the office space above Black Sheep leased/sold yet?  If so, it seems like that took a century and sat empty for years.  Other landlords have viewed the outsized struggles of the few who have attempted to get bolder projects off the ground, and have seen the pace at which some of these bolder projects end up playing out (many of them in bankruptcy when it comes to downtown projects of all shapes and sizes); this could be a huge deterrent.

Couple that with the fact that the market is not booming and these existing landlords are typically not well capitalized (or experienced) or able to seek appropriate financing to do anything - nor do they really see a market on the other side of any projects they can do to enhance their properties.

A booming economy and new wealth are really required.  Cities like Austin and Nashville and Charlotte have had the same situation, but they were able to create booming economies somehow, focus energy on the central core at the city level, and then watch as older, poorer landlords were able to sell their buildings to abundant new wealth entering the city, and this new wealth was then able to get creative and take advantage of the economic circumstances surrounding.

Jax needs to create some sort of economic engine for itself and these things will play out, one way or another.  Right now it's basically modest growth driven in large part by middle class families transplanting from more urban areas looking to literally just maintain their status quo in a cheaper, warmer environment that in their mind is gladly the opposite of wherever they are coming from.  This is not the growth or economic engine that will translate to a booming downtown and urban core.  You need a serious driver that will bring young people and energy, and either bring new wealth or create new wealth.
Bothering locals and trolling boards since 2005

ronchamblin

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Re: Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2015, 08:06:21 AM »
As an entrepreneur, I've been complaining for years about unreasonably high rents downtown. Why are they so high on all those spaces which had been vacant for years?
There must be a few good landlords out here who would take lower rent on a 5 year lease today rather than get nothing today and tomorrow in perpetuity.

BK.  The rent vs space availability scenario is out of balance now ... meandering in a core enduring semi-desolation.  Only when a genuine movement toward a sustained foot traffic buildup, will a sensible rent / space availability begin to emerge.

Gunnar

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Re: Five Lessons for Jacksonville to Bring Retail Downtown
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2015, 01:28:50 PM »
I think the question that needs to be asked is rather simple: Why would someone come downtown (to live, dine or work) rather than go somewhere else ?

This is not to say that there aren't reasons, but I feel that this is a starting point.

Or you could look at it just the other way around  why would someone go somewhere else rather than downtown ?
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