Author Topic: Amkin Hill Street LLC wants to demolish the historic Ford Assembly Plant  (Read 897 times)

thelakelander

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The historic Ford assembly plant could either be razed or collapse into the river on its own soon. Reading the staff report, it sounds like the property could be used for a ship repair drydock if the building is removed.



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This application for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is for the demolition of the Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant, a locally designated landmark (LM-03-09, Ordinance 2003-1267). Per the designation report, the structure meets five (5) of the seven (7) designation criteria. The structure was built in 1924. Albert Kahn, one of America’s most notable industrial architects, designed both the original plant and the 1926 addition.

Two rail tracks entered the plant from the west to receive freight from ships or to deliver automobiles. The original plant was designed to produce 125 automobiles per day; by 1926 the plant was expanded to produce 200 cars per eight (8) hour day. Initially, the plant was used to make Model T’s but began production of the Model A in 1928. The plant was one of the largest in the Southeast and remained in operation until 1932. After that, it was used as a parts distribution center for the state. Henry Ford was directly involved with the planning and operation of the Jacksonville plant.


Highest and Best Use according to demolition applicant

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From a land planning and legal entitlements perspective the highest and best use of the 23.4-acre FAP site is a maritime-related industrial, manufacturing, or maintenance activity. The upland site is likely not large enough to achieve economies of scale in auto transport, bulk freight, or container operations. Skilled artisans and laborers working in large numbers on high-end or high-technology maritime vessels, such as mid-sized US Navy warships, research vessels, or mid-sized coastal cruise ships, is the ideal “fit” for this site and the best possible economic generator for the surrounding neighborhood, given the Industrial Sanctuary designation of the Comprehensive Plan.

Over 2200 lineal feet of existing deep-water bulkhead and the prospect for a future 400 foot drydock in the internal basin makes the FAP site a candidate for intermediate-to-advanced seagoing vessel maintenance, repair and re-work. The missing component for a state-of-the-art ships’ repair facility is the addition of rail-mounted cranes or dedicated heavy-lift craneways clear of horizontal and vertical obstructions. In the ship’s repair industry, there is no standard shipyard site design, but a highly desirable facility configuration such as found at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia incorporates a central craneway and adjacent horizontal clear zone of 80’ to 90’ (total) from the face of the working bulkhead to the nearest permanent structure or building. Separation distances from 100’ up to 200’ from the working bulkhead to the nearest building is ideal, allowing for maximum flexibility in the placement of portable shops, vans and CONEX boxes that are configured along the water’s edge to accommodate the workflow of a given, unique contract vessel. The available clear “work-zone” from any of three bulkheads to the FAP building exterior wall today ranges from only 45’ to 65’. This is not conducive to a modern or competitive shipyard operation.

In Conclusion

The owner has investigated the feasibility of designing a reuse for the existing 165,000 square foot building that would be consistent with recently permitted, large-building-footprint construction in the Jacksonville marketplace. Such projects include dock-height transportation logistics transfer facilities, local distribution/product warehouses, high-stack modular storage facilities, and “big-box” retailers and office buildings. However, the existing FAP is not a candidate for adaptive reuse to any of those contemporary indoor uses. Residential, retail commercial use, and office buildings are not permitted within the waterfront-dependent Industrial Sanctuary in any case. Proximity to the deep-water channel of the River demands a port-related use. As the building is not suitable for an adaptive reuse, it is the intent of the
owner to prepare the site for an appropriate marine industrial use.



See Full JHCP Staff Report here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5ote22080z9fgpr/COA-22-27456%201900%20Wambolt%20St%20-%20BOOK.pdf?dl=0&fbclid=IwAR2Q1aJTVGQ8mqWXWXTV4b-vGYjHzkGpttAIkj1QNA5K6WqG85G2if8OgaA
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Captain Zissou

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There's no question the riverfront portion of this building is in rough shape and a nearly 4 acre warehouse is an obstacle to the property owner's vision for the site.  Is it possible to save 40,000-60,000 square feet for indoor warehouse or fabrication space and restore the portions of the building that are farther from the river?  It's a beautiful building and very functionally designed.  It would be a shame to lose this to the wrecking ball.

fieldafm

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There's no question the riverfront portion of this building is in rough shape and a nearly 4 acre warehouse is an obstacle to the property owner's vision for the site.  Is it possible to save 40,000-60,000 square feet for indoor warehouse or fabrication space and restore the portions of the building that are farther from the river?  It's a beautiful building and very functionally designed.  It would be a shame to lose this to the wrecking ball.

There is a section of the building that is located on land (not on the failing piers). Given the potential new use of the property (dry docking operations for naval ship repairs), it doesn't appear that the potential new user wants that portion of the building in their way so as to provide clear pathways for equipment to serve the dry docking operation.

I'm of the opinion that the time to save that building was when the piers first started to fall in the river.  I know of at least two, well-funded users who have looked at that space in the last couple-three years, and didn't find it economically feasible to do the type of repairs needed to lift the current over-water decking and repair the failing pilings (if doing so would even be possible without damaging the building).  In fact, both of those groups have since built something new from the ground up and spared no expense doing so. 
« Last Edit: May 25, 2022, 01:57:30 PM by fieldafm »

acme54321

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The city should disassemble and move this monster to the shipyards to as a convention center :o 

It's a beautiful building but it's straight up collapsing into the river so no surprise here. 
« Last Edit: May 25, 2022, 02:58:33 PM by acme54321 »

thelakelander

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It seems like realistic preservation solutions were never truly vetted years prior. It's been either save the full building or demo the entire thing. You could probably easily save the 1/3rd of the structure on land and throw incentives at it to overcome any financing feasibility gaps. I even wonder if the auto museum would have been feasible there if there was a focus on the land portion of the building, along with public incentives to help with the restoration costs? It's likely still feasible to save but now there's a use proposed where having a building makes no sense.
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fsu813

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The demo COA application was denied by HPC.

Of course, the owner can appeal to City Council LUZ now, who aren't as keen on historic preservation/adaptive reuse.

thelakelander

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Jacksonville's Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant



In danger of demolition to pave way for a ship repair project, here is a comprehensive story of the rise and fall of Jacksonville's historic Ford Motor Company assembly plant.

Read More: https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/jacksonvilles-ford-motor-company-assembly-plant/
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali