Author Topic: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown  (Read 873 times)

jaxlongtimer

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Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« on: May 23, 2019, 10:13:19 PM »


Study this image carefully and note the overhead pedestrian connectors shown to the Independent Life/Modis/Accustaff/Addeco/Wells Fargo building. The overhead connectors were part of a one time Downtown "master plan" to have buildings connect above street level.  It led to a number of towers built in the 1970's-1980's designing unfriendly street level elevated entrances and/or second floor accommodations for same.

Good, bad or indifferent, the City abandoned the plan.  What message or confidence does this give developers to hold out any hope of the City having a coherent and reliable plan for Downtown that they should invest in?

Add the bungled Skyway.  The original developer of the Omni/Enterprise Tower block actually sued, as I recall, to try and block placing a Skyway station on his development block as he correctly thought it was detrimental to exploiting the potential of the block.

Then there is the failed "rebuild" of Hemming Plaza, the bungled 7 city block courthouse project, the poorly located Osborn convention center, the failed redevelopment of LaVilla, the "urge to purge" historic structures without full consideration of what replaces them or their reuse, proliferation of poorly designed parking garages, the failed Landing, many false starts on the Shipyards, the blight of Berkman Plaza II, etc.

I would suggest this extensive history of failed and/or poorly planned projects has also contributed to Downtown's failure to replenish the building stock and empty spaces left by these companies.  In many ways, the recent development that has occurred owes mostly to Downtown's central location and changing millennial attitudes favoring urban living than anything the City has ever done to supercharge Downtown development.  However, this minor success is a small slice of what should have already occurred.  This can be seen in the differential between Jacksonville today and where comparable cities of yesteryear are now, proving how much City failures have deprived Downtown of its full potential.

Until this City adopts a thoughtful, coherent, long term and reliable master plan, I wonder how much longer it will take to see a real boom in Downtown.  The pursuit of the "mega projects" of Shad Khan, new convention center, jail relocation, Amazon HQ's, etc. are more likely to find success in a well planned Downtown than to propel it.  City leaders need to dramatically alter their approach to Downtown management.  Until then, expect the limited ""growth" of Downtown to continue to lag well behind other more progressive cities.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 10:16:58 PM by jaxlongtimer »

thelakelander

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2019, 11:03:38 PM »
^Ah, the good old 1971 Downtown Master Plan. Unfortunately for Jax's sake, you're dead on. I've always felt that DT Jax would likely be better off now if the city had taken its hands out of the cookie jar decades ago and left things up to the market.

I just had a meeting tonight in an Orlando co-working space that was a 1980s festival marketplace type mall (Church Street Station) that failed when Pleasure Island and Universal City Walk opened. The Landing is way more impressive than anything that Church Street Station ever was. Yet, for some reason that community didn't go the tear down and hope for something new to come along. Now it its a mixed use office, retail and entertainment complex with a Sunrail station next door. The Orlando people in the meeting didn't know anything about Church Street's Rosie O' Grady days, so being a 7th generation Floridian, I had to give them a history lesson.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 11:05:49 PM by thelakelander »
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

KenFSU

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2019, 09:30:17 AM »
The Landing is way more impressive than anything that Church Street Station ever was. Yet, for some reason that community didn't go the tear down and hope for something new to come along.

Demoltion party yesterday!

Potential contractors toured the facility to decide how they'd like to reduce it to rubble.

I hope refreshments were offered.




Contractors were not impressed by the professionalism on display in the RFP:

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/lack-of-jacksonville-landing-asbestos-survey-surprises-demolition-contractors

Tacachale

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2019, 10:46:35 AM »
The Landing is way more impressive than anything that Church Street Station ever was. Yet, for some reason that community didn't go the tear down and hope for something new to come along.

Demoltion party yesterday!

Potential contractors toured the facility to decide how they'd like to reduce it to rubble.

I hope refreshments were offered.




Contractors were not impressed by the professionalism on display in the RFP:

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/lack-of-jacksonville-landing-asbestos-survey-surprises-demolition-contractors

So the city half assed something in their rush to demolish the Landing before anyone stops them? What a shocker.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

thelakelander

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2019, 10:53:17 AM »
All of this seems half assed.....and for what? How did they come up with the $1.5 million demo estimate if they don't even have an asbestos survey? It feels like a lot of snake oil is flowing with this issue. Sounds like it will end up costing taxpayers more.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2019, 10:55:29 AM by thelakelander »
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

thelakelander

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2019, 10:59:45 AM »
Btw, the article makes it seems like we're getting a lawn....

"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Charles Hunter

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2019, 12:57:57 PM »
^ A "lawn" implies maintenance. I envision more of a "field" with random native species growing without cultivation (what your HOA would call "weeds").

bl8jaxnative

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2019, 12:09:54 PM »

I was shocked by the lack of prep for the demolition, too.  I wouldn't want to hire a contractor willing to given a demo estimate without all that already in place. 

That said, I enjoyed the article on the what killed downtown.  Maybe I'm missing something about it.  But I didn't get what the point of it was based on what was written in it.   Is it just the structure of the piece that needs work or is it lacking a claim, evidence and conclusion?  It seems to be a listicle, not a why.  I only mean this as some constructive feedback.  It feels like it's one thing and the headline fundamentally different.


thelakelander

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2019, 03:22:54 PM »
The opening statement basically tells the reader what the article is about:

Quote
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.

Quote
Throughout most of the 20th century, Downtown Jacksonville was arguably Florida’s most influential business district. A fact that time has washed away is that the skyline we see today was essentially built by seven companies that no longer exist. Here’s a look at seven corporate decisions made over a 15 year span that transformed a rapidly growing skyline into a district with a glut of hard-to-fill office space.

It's basically a story that explains why DT has a lot of vacant office space on its hands and why very little vertical construction has taken place since the 1990s.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

tufsu1

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2019, 09:41:06 PM »
you have little faith Lake....Captain Curry says downtown is going vertical!

thelakelander

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2019, 10:03:53 PM »
Devil is in the details! Are we talking Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale-style (actual highrises) or Lakeland, Kissimmee, Ocala mid-rise (ex. below 10 stories)? I saw Curry's tweets but I take them with a grain of salt. He has no experience and everything they've touched to date is general taking things down, not up. I'm not aware of any actual highrises (like the kind going up in Nashville, Charlotte, Austin, etc.) even being proposed at this point. Not Iguana, not the District, not JEA....
« Last Edit: May 27, 2019, 10:05:35 PM by thelakelander »
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

tufsu1

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Re: Seven Decisions That Killed Downtown
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2019, 06:02:21 PM »
Devil is in the details! Are we talking Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale-style (actual highrises) or Lakeland, Kissimmee, Ocala mid-rise (ex. below 10 stories)?

oh you are reaching far too high :)

Bermuda grass grows to a couple inches.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2019, 06:07:37 PM by Tacachale »