Author Topic: Demolition of Kartouche Building  (Read 3338 times)

thelakelander

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Re: Demolition of Kartouche Building
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2020, 11:04:51 AM »
Two issues:

1. Beggars can't be choosers. The Downtown core will basically take whatever it can get, regarding development. That's been the attitude. And in fairness, that's a rational perspective - noone with vision & money is beating down the door to acquire buildings like this.

Except that we're not really beggars and we are pretty choosy. Two examples.

A. Sleiman attempted to redo the Landing for years and even had a deal worked out with Alvin Brown for $12 million in public subsidies. That project would have been done by now. Brown lost his reelection bid, Curry blew up that deal and then paid Sleiman nearly twice as much to leave and raze the building. Now we have less foot traffic and business than ever in the Northbank, Sleiman is investing his profits restoring properties in San Marco and Lakewood and we're left hoping to give Khan +$200 million to build something similar a mile east.

B. We were going to give Vestcor three free blocks of land in LaVilla under the assumption that no one was interested in LaVilla. Turns out, developers were and came with two competiting proposals. One was clearly better for the taxpayer, LaVilla and downtown. Yet, we found a way to give that deal to Vestcor, and have Vestcor incorporate aspects of the superior proposal. Despite being "beggars", we still have not opened the door to RFP more properties.

C. One more....a few years back, the DIA did a RFP for a property on the 300 block of Broad Street that COJ had not maintained in 20 years. Multiple developers responded but were not willing to pay the price the DIA wanted (even $10k was more than Vestcor initially offered for the three blocks down the street that they wanted for free). All proposals were rejected and the property continues to fall in on itself.

The narrative that we're beggars is an incorrect one. On the other hand, we are way too choosy. If we were a bit more inclusive but also providing more guidance and direction to the private sector, we'd be way further along with revitalization than where we are right now.


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2. Talk is cheap. While there has been a fair amount of online discussion about how something should change regarding demos and renovation incentives, there's been little actual action or organizing around it. Steve Williams (Harbinger) has sort of been the face of the new effort to address these issues, via #mappingjax, but it's more of a passion hobby for him, not his fulltime focus.

Something as simple as:

- Calling a large meeting of like minded folks
- Identifying low hanging fruit
- Strategizing how to influence COJ

hasn't been done. These are easy steps. But, it takes someone with the time, energy and skill set to lead. I could do this, as I'm sure others associated with The Jaxson & beyond could, but it hasn't risen to be enough of a priority for X person yet. Is that person you? I'm down to be a lieutenant, just not the general.

There are some people working behind the scenes, including a few associated with Mapping Jax. Yet, the task is a monumental one and will take mounds of volunteer time to overcome paid lobbyiest time and political connections. With that in mind, expect a few buildings like Kartouche to be lost while some others like the Universal Marion building may be saved. It will be this way until there's enough momentum from the mayors office or council to change the way we do business downtown.
"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: Demolition of Kartouche Building
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2020, 11:20:39 AM »
While I'm at it, let me further explain what needs to immediately be done to save as much as possible until there's momentum for policy change or a leader emerges from the council or mayors office.

1. We need to landmark as many unprotected historic structures downtown as possible in the short term....before development proposals materialize. It's too late for the Doros, TU and Kartouche Buildings. All have active development projects associated with them and no one in city hall is going pull the rug from under them. Those three are 100% unprotected buildings. The FBC Sunday School building had policy on its side (being a contributing structure to the downtown national register historic district), triggering HPC review and the church simply hired a well known attorney to appeal straight to council, who overrode HPC altogether. The one way to stop what council did (or at least make it super difficult) would have been to landmark the building years before FBC went broke and proposed demolition.

2. I already have a list of buildings that are landmarked. In short, there aren't many. So focus should be on reaching out to supporting property owners and helping them get their properties landmarked while the support is there. Council is pretty reactive as opposed to proactive and they likely won't go against a property owner who desires to landmark their property.

3. More national register historic district designations are needed for older communities throughout town. This designation won't eliminate demolitions but it will trigger HPC review for demolition of contributing structures within their boundaries. It will also open the door to tax credits, grants and preservation incentives for various properties within the district's boundaries. It also paves the way for potential local historic districts.

None of these things are as sexy as starting threads, protests and polls online in opposition or showing up last minute at public meetings where decisions have already been decided, but they are quite effective at giving the community a larger voice and some political power in preserving its historic, culture and authenticity.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2020, 01:22:15 PM by thelakelander »
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bl8jaxnative

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Re: Demolition of Kartouche Building
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2020, 12:17:21 PM »

Thank you.

That sort of stuff is what's needed to help guide the process. 


MusicMan

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Re: Demolition of Kartouche Building
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2020, 11:00:32 PM »
I had been keeping an eye on this on through Loopnet and very recently it appeared to be 'Under Contract'. That being said on Loopnet sometimes a for sale property is suddenly NOT FOR SALE. Very curious what the status is. I don't think coj.net is up to date on this property.
I was hoping for a reuse. When these are for sale someone with a vision for reuse better step up or they will be gone.

itsfantastic1

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Re: Demolition of Kartouche Building
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2020, 11:22:38 PM »
Are there any changes to laws that need to be made? It seems like if the owner is against designation or just doesn't bother to designate; it will eventually fall to the full council who seem to fall back on the excuse that since the building was never landmarked before, it must not be important now.

Giving the historical society or the HPC power to begin researching (and filing if appropriate) historical designation of buildings they deem fit would be the way to go. This process always seems to happen when an owner wants to "develop", which leads to owners fighting the status and the council falling on the old excuse I mentioned above because we can't stop development.

thelakelander

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Re: Demolition of Kartouche Building
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2020, 12:43:34 AM »
^Yes, our preservation and incentives policies could use a bit more teeth to make adaptive reuse and historic preservation more financially feasible and equitable. I doubt that the historical society is the answer but HPC having more power would not hurt.
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MusicMan

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Re: Demolition of Kartouche Building
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2020, 09:27:53 AM »
It would also be helpful if a few more people (companies....) with resources and a passion for renovating these building lived (or wanted to do business) in Jacksonville.  It appears that the folks who want to demolish outnumber the folks who want to preserve. Get that flipped and you get better outcomes for restoration.

thelakelander

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Re: Demolition of Kartouche Building
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2020, 09:40:21 AM »
I think there are people and developers interested in preservation. The ultimate problem for the private sector has been the financial gap between what it cost to bring a place back online vs what you can make from the finished investment. As long as that outcome is financially unfeasible for the private sector, we'll have limited success. As long as the gap is there, the only projects that will bubble up will involve demolition and low density market rate replacements like gas stations. Most of the long vacant places demoed in recent years have had developers interested in them at some point. Even IAW looked at Kartouche years ago before opening in Riverside and ultimately in another historic building in downtown. So if we can figure out the gap situation, that would go a long way as well and help end the belief that no one is interested in restoring older buildings.
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Steve

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Re: Demolition of Kartouche Building
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2020, 09:46:55 AM »
I think there are people and developers interested in preservation. The ultimate problem for the private sector has been the financial gap between what it cost to bring a place back online vs what you can make from the finished investment. As long as that outcome is financially unfeasible for the private sector, we'll have limited success. As long as the gap is there, the only projects that will bubble up will involve demolition and low density market rate replacements like gas stations. Most of the long vacant places demoed in recent years have had developers interested in them at some point. Even IAW looked at Kartouche years ago before opening in Riverside and ultimately in another historic building in downtown. So if we can figure out the gap situation, that would go a long way as well and help end the belief that no one is interested in restoring older buildings.

We don't have the money to give to these developers. We're giving it all to the mega project pipe dreams.

Lean times lol

MusicMan

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Re: Demolition of Kartouche Building
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2020, 10:05:28 AM »
From the public record it appears personal injury attorney Mark Rosenberg will be the owner/developer. He owns all the parcels around it, not just the old drive through.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2020, 10:17:16 AM by MusicMan »

bl8jaxnative

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Re: Demolition of Kartouche Building
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2020, 11:09:50 AM »
The more force is used in regard to historical preservation w/out matching public funds, the more likely you are to chase away the rare developers interested in these projects.

Bill Hoff

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Re: Demolition of Kartouche Building
« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2020, 01:47:34 PM »
I think there are people and developers interested in preservation. The ultimate problem for the private sector has been the financial gap between what it cost to bring a place back online vs what you can make from the finished investment. As long as that outcome is financially unfeasible for the private sector, we'll have limited success. As long as the gap is there, the only projects that will bubble up will involve demolition and low density market rate replacements like gas stations. Most of the long vacant places demoed in recent years have had developers interested in them at some point. Even IAW looked at Kartouche years ago before opening in Riverside and ultimately in another historic building in downtown. So if we can figure out the gap situation, that would go a long way as well and help end the belief that no one is interested in restoring older buildings.

There's some degree of this happening already, via LISC. But far too little.

thelakelander

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Re: Demolition of Kartouche Building
« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2020, 01:50:59 PM »
Not sure LISC is allowed in DT. In that past, that's been the DIA's, JEDC's and DDA's area of control. Hopefully we can find a way to expand these resources.
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: Demolition of Kartouche Building
« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2020, 06:25:24 PM »
Not sure LISC is allowed in DT. In that past, that's been the DIA's, JEDC's and DDA's area of control. Hopefully we can find a way to expand these resources.

LISC financed FSCJ's 20 West dormitory restoration project and they are also supportive of the Cathedral District so it appears they do participate in DT.  As a non-profit, they would probably have to work only with another non-profit.  Like the Historical Society, maybe Downtown Vision or a newly created nonprofit entity.  And, it would have to further LISC's mission of community improvement.

thelakelander

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Re: Demolition of Kartouche Building
« Reply #29 on: July 10, 2020, 09:11:22 PM »
They sure did. Thanks for the reminder. Don't see them as a solution to Jax's preservation ills but definitely glad to have them around and helping where feasible to their mission.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali