Author Topic: Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center  (Read 12132 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center
« on: January 19, 2009, 04:00:00 AM »
Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center



“There are many pressing priorities in the community.  Right now, those don't include a new convention center.” Former Peyton spokeswoman Susie Wiles - 07/30/05

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/988

ProjectMaximus

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Re: Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2009, 05:32:34 AM »
Editorial Note: The first quote from the Jax Daily Record includes a lot of repeated sentences.

As for the article, this thoroughly sums up the issue that upsets me most about the current administration. Building a new and separate transportation center would be a greater boondoggle than the county courthouse. This would leave us with both a poor "inter-modal" transit center and a very sub-par convention center.

tufsu1

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Re: Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2009, 08:01:59 AM »
I'm still not convinced that the Prime Osborn shouldn't remain the Convention Center....there is room to expand it and having the JRTC right next door would be an advantage.

That said, I've come to like the idea of a new center on the site of the current Courthouse complex more over the last year....if it can be built with minimal public investment (maybe a partnership with the Hyatt), then I say go for it.

Obviously if the Convention Center were to relocate to the river, construction could not start before 2012 anyway.....and now the JRTC has been pushed back by FDOT due to funding shortfalls.....so it might all work out in the end.

thelakelander

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Re: Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2009, 08:34:39 AM »
ProjectMaximus - That was strange, but I fixed it.

Quote
I'm still not convinced that the Prime Osborn shouldn't remain the Convention Center....there is room to expand it and having the JRTC right next door would be an advantage.

Here's why I'm convinced that it needs to go.

1. It results in an inefficient transportation center design.  Not only does transferring between modes become difficult, it wastes several blocks of what should be set aside for transit oriented development uses.

2. To become a workable convention center, it requires us to invest money in building duplicate complementing uses (convention center hotel, restaurants, entertainment, etc.).  This ultimately ends up in a battle of competition between existing and new businesses (if we can actually attract the new uses).  So in the end, we could end up paying more if forced into keeping the isolated Prime Osborn site and providing incentives to encourage new private sector uses in a market that can't support them.

3. Isolation - shifting the complex to where complementing uses currently exist, allows us to better support what's already in place.   Expansion at the current site leaves us wishing on pie in the sky proposals like Bay Street Station and Brooklyn Park.  If they never happen, an expanded convention center will still fail.  Instead of investing millions and still relying on dreams for success, stick it closer to where the uses already are, thus creating instant synergy.

4. Master Plan - finally, regardless of where it ends up, the solution should be settled and made a part of the DT master plan.  By keeping things in limbo, an entire section of the core is frozen in inaction.  Someone, whether its the council, JEDC or the Mayor's Office, needs to man up and settle this thing, once and for all.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2009, 08:37:32 AM by thelakelander »
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zoo

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Re: Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2009, 08:59:38 AM »
Why would an expanded Prime-Osborn and a JTA Transit center need to be two different facilities? Because JTA wants to move forward and can't get the city to commit to a future update of P-O? Or because JTA went ahead and paid an architectural firm to design a stand-alone facility already? Why can't the two uses be designed into a single, massive, multi-use complex -- transit center AND convention center? Combining uses may result in a smaller budget than designing and funding two separate complexes...

thelakelander

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Re: Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2009, 09:13:51 AM »
Because the city has been non-committal to this point.  Nevertheless, even a single complex would still have to overcome these issues:

Quote
2. To become a workable convention center, it requires us to invest money in building duplicate complementing uses (convention center hotel, restaurants, entertainment, etc.).  This ultimately ends up in a battle of competition between existing and new businesses (if we can actually attract the new uses).  So in the end, we could end up paying more if forced into keeping the isolated Prime Osborn site and providing incentives to encourage new private sector uses in a market that can't support them.

3. Isolation - shifting the complex to where complementing uses currently exist, allows us to better support what's already in place.   Expansion at the current site leaves us wishing on pie in the sky proposals like Bay Street Station and Brooklyn Park.  If they never happen, an expanded convention center will still fail.  Instead of investing millions and still relying on dreams for success, stick it closer to where the uses already are, thus creating instant synergy.

If you're planning a convention, what's more attractive?  Orlando's International Drive, Nashville's Music Row, Daytona's Beach, Louisville's 4th Street Live or Jacksonville's Greyhound bus station?

Imo, this convention center issue is more than about finding a site with ample space for expansion.  Proper urban integration and connectivity is key as well.  Can DT really support another hotel the size of Hyatt?  If the Landing can't stay full, is it reasonable to expect someone else to come in and build a similar center in LaVilla with their own cash?  Is it ideal to create a competitor DT nightlife district instead of focusing resources of filling in East Bay?  If expanded at the Prime Osborn, do we really believe all of these things will just flock to LaVilla on their own?  It didn't happen in the mid 1980s, so why expect it now?
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brainstormer

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Re: Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2009, 09:48:09 AM »
The city already owns the land to the old courthouse, so right there, the cost of purchasing land for a new convention center is diminished.  The city already owns the Prime Osborn, so turning that into the transportation center reduces the amount of land the city would have to purchase for an efficient center.  Plus, moving the convention center into the urban core helps the established hotels and restaurants already in business and reduces the need for building new hotels and restaurants by the current center.  Is it just me, or is this common sense?

I believe I have stated my vision for a new convention center in the past, but as the topic has been renewed, here goes.  The city needs to start partnering on its projects.  There is no need to always have to do everything by ourselves.  My vision includes a new hotel on the corner of Bay and Liberty Streets with a restaurant at street level.  The Bay Street side would also include a 2nd floor skyway stop built into the entrance to the convention center.  Auto parking would be underground as well as in the center of the building (we don't need more ugly parking ramps facing Bay Street).  Part of the glass enclosed grand entrance, on the corner of Market and Bay, would include 1st and 2nd floor space for a few small retail stores/coffee shops, etc.  These shops are open to the public.  Once inside the actual convention center, there would be one huge exhibition floor with a river view at the end.  Smaller rooms would also be built on different levels including more of a reception hall with beautiful views of the river.  A nice reception space for weddings guarantees rental revenue almost every single weekend of the year.  Along the riverwalk on the ground level would be leasing space for more restaurants and shops, maybe even space for the Maritime Museum or something else the city desperately needs. ;)

What I'm getting at is this.  Build something that is a destination not just for people attending a convention but for all citizens.  It embraces mass transit and the surrounding businesses.  It utilizes the beauty of the river and it also guarantees the city revenue 365 days of the year, thus allowing the city to pay off debt and reduce the ultimate taxpayer investment.  It is time to break the tradition of investing in buildings with only one purpose. (stadium, arena, new courthouse, etc)  All of these built away from any other businesses and the majority of people, not at all walkable, and only accessible by car.  We go there for only one reason and the rest of the time it sits empty.

I'm not an architect, but I think my vision is at least a start to what could be.  And that is more than Peyton and crew have been able to come up with in the past 6 years.  I guess the "we don't have money, except for what I want" is getting a little old.  Jacksonville deserves better.

thelakelander

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Re: Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2009, 10:20:55 AM »
Great vision!  Centers that incorporate a mix of uses are increasing in popularity.
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triclops i

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Re: Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2009, 02:39:57 PM »
Convention center or not, it seems pretty clear to me that JTA, Amtrak, Greyhound, cabs, ect. should all run from the Prime Osborn like (I think) they used to. We need a "Grand Central Station" where they all tie together.

What year and why did they stop running transport from there?

i

Matt

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Re: Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2009, 03:25:49 PM »
did the alternative plan have the whole structure intact? i can't tell.
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GatorShane

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Re: Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2009, 03:49:14 PM »
IMO, after a lot of going back and forth. I now like the idea of expanding the current site. With the JTC, Bay  Street Station, and possible Drooklyn redevelopment, this area could provide enough things around the center that are currently missing, The main things being adjacent hotels, which would be helped by Bay Street project. This project also includes a movie theater. If I am not mistaken, the JTC also includes some retail. You could also run trolley or streetcar down Park Street to connect center with 5 points.         

brainstormer

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Re: Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2009, 04:20:03 PM »
From an historical buildings perspective, wouldn't trying to expand the Prime Osborn into a larger convention center significantly alter the beauty and uniqueness of the architecture?  I think turning it into a transportation hub would allow the building's size to remain as is, thus preserving the original outside structure.  Ock or Lake, am I right or wrong on this? 

Charles Hunter

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Re: Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2009, 04:28:03 PM »
The concepts I've heard of for expanding the Convention Center extends the building west, over the existing parking lot between the current building and I-95.  So it wouldn't affect the view of the historic front from down Water Street.

thelakelander

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Re: Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2009, 05:51:43 PM »
What year and why did they stop running transport from there?

1974.  I'm sure Ock can provide better detail but I would not be suprised if they left so they would not have to continue to maintain the building.
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thelakelander

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Re: Peyton's Struggles: The Convention Center
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2009, 05:54:09 PM »
did the alternative plan have the whole structure intact? i can't tell.

The historic structure was left intact and converted back into its original use.  A portion of the exhibition space was removed to accomodate Greyhound and the rest was saved to be converted into retail space (similar to DC's Union Station) and offices.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali