Author Topic: Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square  (Read 17482 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square
« on: February 04, 2009, 05:00:00 AM »
Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square



Known as the MODIS Building, Independent Square was completed in 1974 by Jacksonville-based Independent Life and Accident Insurance Company.  Once Florida's tallest building, the structure still stands as one of the Southeast's most distinctive office towers.

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http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/999

Charles Hunter

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Re: Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2009, 05:58:00 AM »
Another unique facet of the building ... those vertical window frames served as tracks for robots that ran up and down the building washing the windows.  Was strange to watch these little things crawling up or down the sides.  I also seem to recall (but without certainty) that they used one of these little guys as sort of a reverse "Times Square Ball Drop" on New Year's Eve - taking lights up to the top of the building.  I hope someone else can confirm that, because my memory on that is really shaky.

I also remember they had Morrison's cafeteria on the ground floor, and up one floor was a table service restaurant, with tables either against the glass outer wall (which was starting to slope inward) or overlooking the atrium.

Keith-N-Jax

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Re: Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2009, 06:46:08 AM »
Look at where now the Landing sits. As you can see Jacksonville practices of doing bad have been around for a long time.

Jason

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Re: Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2009, 08:55:09 AM »
Great article!  I have some neat shots of the building I'll have to dig up and post.

Jason

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Re: Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2009, 09:00:19 AM »
Here are a few.


See the window washer?   ;D








hanjin1

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Re: Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2009, 09:10:54 AM »
I guess those robot window washers don't work anymore

reednavy

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Re: Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2009, 09:58:17 AM »
I guess those robot window washers don't work anymore

A few weeks ago, I saw it actually working, instead of 3 guys hanging from practically swings with a bucket and squeegie.

Now, if only we can get some of the tinting that is peeling replaced, a few cracked windows fixed, and a nice pressure washing from top to bottom, it'll look spankin new.

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stjr

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Re: Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2009, 12:07:31 PM »
Quote
I also remember they had Morrison's cafeteria on the ground floor, and up one floor was a table service restaurant, with tables either against the glass outer wall (which was starting to slope inward) or overlooking the atrium.

The table service restaurant was called "Tree Tops" as I recall.  Used to eat there and at Morrison's all the time when I worked downtown.  I don't know what the actual numbers are, but it seems that downtown had a lot more office workers in the early 80's, and correspondingly more restaurants, than they do now.  Another downtown favorite was Mugs (it had thousands of mugs handing on the walls).

By the way, the River Club was originally at the top of the Prudential (now Aetna) building before moving to the Independent Life/Modis building.  For most of its life, it was all male at lunch and women could only attend at dinner with a male member (no jokes here folks :D !).

It seems to me that JEA did a land swap with Independent Life, giving them the land where the parking garage on Bay Street is for the old Independent Life tower that became JEA's HQ's before JEA moved to the Universal Marion Building.

I liked the old lobby better.  They removed too much vegetation when they remodeled.  You used to feel you were in an indoor "forest".  I guess the trees got too big.
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!

heights unknown

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Re: Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2009, 05:10:03 PM »
1) I still want to call it "Independent Life." As a kid, whenever I looked at this building, the music from "Phantom of the Opera" would always play within my head.

2) I remember seeing it being built in 1973 when I was 16 years old; at the time, it was the "center of attention" in the skyline and the only "true" tall building in the Jax skyline; therefore it looked extremely big and tall back then and could have been, or probably was, mistaken for a supertall (thought to be taller than it really is).

3) Though it is not a supertall, it's appearance and tallness is indeed misleading; you think it is taller than what it is when viewing it from afar or "in your face."

4) I was kind of sad two times for this building; 1) when Tampa City Center took away the tallest in the state title away from it; 2) When the new BOA Building took away the tallest in the City from it. Tampa City Center is only 2 or 3 feet taller than MODIS; and to this day I believe that Tampa did this on purpose so that they would have the "tallest in the state" title.

5) I always dream of them one day completely reconstructing and/or refurbishing this building by adding at least 30 more floors and making it over 900 feet tall instead of 535 feet tall; technological ingenuity would have to be at it's top uppermost in order for a feat of this magnitude to be accomplished.

6) MODIS, (Independent Life) is still the grandest building, in my mind and in my opinion, in the Jacksonville Skyline.  Even if they build four or more buildings taller than it, it will still maintain it's grip and awe on the Jacksonville skyline.  In my opinion, none other can compare.

7) Though BOA is taller, and more modern, this is my most favorite building in our skyline; I truly adore and love this building. :D  I hope I am dead and gone when the wrecking ball, or some other freak of nature or natural disaster destroys it.

Heights Unknown :)
« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 05:22:03 PM by heights unknown »
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Steve

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Re: Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2009, 05:59:12 PM »
I just wish it had better access from the street - it's kind of a mess to walk past.  If the shops opened out, it would help a bit.

thelakelander

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Re: Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2009, 06:07:42 PM »
After paying attention while walking through it, most of the ground level retail spaces are now empty.
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stjr

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Re: Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2009, 07:09:20 PM »
I just wish it had better access from the street - it's kind of a mess to walk past.  If the shops opened out, it would help a bit.

I think the street frontage was planned to fit in with that 1971 city master plan or some other version like it where there were supposed to be elevated sidewalks connecting to the block.  Obviously, that never happened and now, it, like some other buildings designed around the same standard (e.g. the Atlantic Bank/Sun Trust/BB&T tower), look a bit awkward at ground level.

As I recall, the BofA tower, originally built by Barnett Banks as their executive offices, is supposed to be a "duplicate" or slightly modified version, albeit a different height, of a tower in New York.
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!

billy

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Re: Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2009, 07:29:36 PM »
Helmut Jahn architect, out of Chicago

stjr

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Re: Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2009, 07:51:53 PM »
You gotta love the internet.  Look at this nifty page featuring Jax skycrapers in height order.  You can click and it will rearrange them in order of date built.  Very nice reference site for downtown building and history lovers!

http://skyscraperpage.com/diagrams/?cityID=135

27 Jax buildings are featured.
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!

heights unknown

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Re: Unique Jacksonville: Independent Square
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2009, 08:59:33 PM »
BOA in jax is supposed to be a duplicate of the slightly shorter 561 Foot tall "Park Avenue Tower" in New York City; they don't resemble each other all that much to me except for the pyramid shape at the top, and even the pyramid on Park Avenue is much smaller than Jax BOA's.

Please access http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=114550 to see for yourself.

Heights Unknown
« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 09:09:27 PM by heights unknown »
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