Author Topic: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown  (Read 22400 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« on: August 18, 2015, 03:00:02 AM »
Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown



During the late 20th century, changes in the nation's business policies and practices dramatically impacted our central business districts. Some, like Charlotte and Houston, came out as winners. Others like New Orleans and Jacksonville were dealt blows they're still working hard to overcome today. Ever wonder why Downtown Jacksonville has too much office space on its hands? Believe it or not, it has nothing to do with local leadership or the popularity of our rapidly growing suburbs.

Read More: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2015-aug-seven-decisions-that-killed-downtown

I-10east

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2015, 07:32:49 AM »
Three words; Woe is me.

vicupstate

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2015, 08:52:29 AM »
Jacksonville has probably been hurt by consolidation in the insurance and banking industry as much or more than any city.  Too bad some of those companies were not the acquirer instead of the one acquired.  Nothing to do in the wake of that but find new tenants and hopefully grow some new companies that will fill the old space and become the new pillars of business.

For decades Charlotte was the big winner in this aforementioned banking consolidation, but now there are legitimate fears that BofA will move it's HQ functions to NYC. Of course Wells is HQ'd in SF instead of Charlotte, although the Wells presence is still quite substantial. 
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thelakelander

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2015, 09:13:41 AM »
Three words; Woe is me.

No woe. Just an understanding on how we've arrived to where we are today. To accurately plan for your future, you have to understand the past.

Jacksonville has probably been hurt by consolidation in the insurance and banking industry as much or more than any city.  Too bad some of those companies were not the acquirer instead of the one acquired.  Nothing to do in the wake of that but find new tenants and hopefully grow some new companies that will fill the old space and become the new pillars of business.

Pretty much. However, as a community, we'll probably need to accept that we'll need to subsidize quite a few more EverBank-like deals to fill up available office space.
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Wacca Pilatka

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2015, 09:55:53 AM »
Excellent piece.  The impact of these corporate consolidations (or in the case of Charter, failures) on downtown's overall vitality is all too often overlooked.  I often think about how different downtown Jacksonville and Charlotte respectively would be had Barnett aggressively pursued interstate acquisitions in the early 1980s, as Guy Botts seemingly envisioned but Charlie Rice seemingly did not. 

Great to see some historic photos I had never seen before too.

AHL certainly was quick to bail on downtown after committing to its new tower.  I remember seeing a parking and travel cost justification for this, but it still seems bizarre to give up and go in to a new building project after only five years.
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thelakelander

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2015, 10:02:51 AM »
A few random shots from previous MJ articles of buildings once occupied or built by companies highlighted in this article:


Barnett Bank's headquarters(left) and Atlantic National Bank's Annex (middle) were built back in the 1920s.


When First Baptist no longer needed its Sunday School building (left) during the Great Depression, Gulf Life acquired it to use as their home office. As the company grew, they built additional offices behind it (see below).


An older image but it captures Gulf Life's headquarters prior to building what is now Riverplace Tower. When they moved, First Baptist purchased their old offices.


The offices of the Florida National Bank, prior to the 1960s completion of the Ed Ball Building.


This image captures the old headquarters of Atlantic National Bank (121 Forsyth), Barnett Bank (Jacksonville Bank Building), and the Florida National Bank (Laura Trio).
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jcjohnpaint

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2015, 10:14:40 AM »
Excellent article.  Very enlightening!

Captain Zissou

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2015, 10:14:58 AM »
While people may bemoan the corporate incentive packages the city doles out to encourage companies to relocate to Jax, this is very telling for what that could mean for downtown.  Companies invest in their hometown, so the more companies that call Jax their hometown the better.  We're still filling existing building stock, but at some point a relocation may require the construction of new office space.

vicupstate

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2015, 10:21:08 AM »
Quote
AHL certainly was quick to bail on downtown after committing to its new tower.  I remember seeing a parking and travel cost justification for this, but it still seems bizarre to give up and go in to a new building project after only five years.

I always thought it was odd too. Considering the new location was not at all in a primary office market, I wondered if the proximity to the CEO's golf course was the prime motivator.
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thelakelander

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2015, 10:24:03 AM »
To be honest, if the price to redevelop the Shipyards is going to run taxpayers upwards of $50 million in public cash, DT would be better off with it sitting vacant or being turned back over to heavy/maritime-oriented industry (assuming it pays taxes on waterfront property). That cash would be put to better use bribing a few more growing local companies like EverBank to move their corporate offices to downtown.  As they expand, they'll be more likely to make civic minded investments in the city than someplace coming to town to operate a regional call center.
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Captain Zissou

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2015, 10:43:50 AM »
To be honest, if the price to redevelop the Shipyards is going to run taxpayers upwards of $50 million in public cash, DT would be better off with it sitting vacant or being turned back over to heavy/maritime-oriented industry (assuming it pays taxes on waterfront property). That cash would be put to better use bribing a few more growing local companies like EverBank to move their corporate offices to downtown.  As they expand, they'll be more likely to make civic minded investments in the city than someplace coming to town to operate a regional call center.

With $10k per employee seemingly being the going rate for incentive packages, that translates to 5,000 more employees downtown.  At that point, we may see someone willing to develop the shipyards due to increased demand and rising rent prices.  They may even be willing to do it without incentives because at that point the market would be ready for it.

Tacachale

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2015, 11:19:04 AM »
^I wouldn't bet on that, especially since the city will be on the hook for the cleanup before anyone would buy it.
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krazeeboi

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2015, 11:20:25 AM »
Jacksonville has probably been hurt by consolidation in the insurance and banking industry as much or more than any city.

Certainly; Birmingham is another city that comes to mind.

thelakelander

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2015, 11:30:46 AM »
Yes, Birmingham took a big hit. New Orleans also suffered from consolidation in the oil industry.
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Wacca Pilatka

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2015, 11:54:50 AM »
Anyone know the occupancy on the 1951 Atlantic Bank building adjacent to 121 Atlantic Place on Forsyth?

Isn't that the building for which the old post office tower was torn down?
The tourist would realize at once that he had struck the Land of Flowers - the City Beautiful!

Henry J. Klutho