The Jaxson

Jacksonville by Neighborhood => Downtown => Topic started by: sandyshoes on October 31, 2019, 05:28:44 PM

Title: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: sandyshoes on October 31, 2019, 05:28:44 PM
Rather than hijack the last thread any further, where I cried in my long-gone Fat Tuesday B-52 Slurpee, what say we start a new thread for that purpose...a little group therapy.  Share your favorite memories of The Landing here? ( I also miss that fudge, the real Christmas trees, and the view.  And Silver Spoons restaurant. And Flamer's Hamburgers - okay, being near the water made me hungry, apparently. 
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Adam White on October 31, 2019, 07:01:34 PM
I have two memories that stand out:

1) Going to the Landing shortly after it opened and buying the newest REM tape (Dead Letter Office) at the record store (I can't remember the name - Musicland, maybe?) and then reading the inside of the tape cover over and over when I was at the food court with my sister. I couldn't wait to get home to listen to it.

2) Seeing Steppenwolf perform live - I think this was probably 1989 or so. Maybe 1990. They sucked, but it was a fun night out. I met up with some friends from school and it was just great to hang out at the mall at night. Wasting time at a shopping mall on a friday night was one of my favorite things to do as a teenager in the 80s.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: heights unknown on October 31, 2019, 08:29:47 PM
This is going waaaaay back when the landing was only about 2 to 3 years old (late 80's, and I was in the Navy based at Cecil Field); I loved the food court...it was a hit when the landing first opened. Also, the chocolate and fudge shop at the entrance with them ringing the bell at certain times and singing about fudge. On the second floor right in front of the food court, they used to have karaoke. I am a musician and vocalist and when I got off from work from the Navy, I would rush downtown to the landing to sing karaoke and sing in the karaoke contests they had back then. These are my most fondest memories because when you get into the 90's and beyond, not much to really gloat about unless you were a young whipper snapper back then. Hell, when the landing first opened I was 30 years old (giving my old fartdom away!). But hey, I am very mad, angry, and incensed that they did not find another super use for the landing!
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: I-10east on October 31, 2019, 08:48:13 PM
I had way too many good memories as a kid at just the Tilt arcade alone. The height of the arcade era; Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter II, the shooting gallery etc etc.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Snaketoz on October 31, 2019, 09:00:50 PM
I liked the vibe of the place, it's location on the river, the lighting, and some of the early shops.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Bativac on October 31, 2019, 09:46:37 PM
My dad was in a couple local bands (and had his own band) in the 80s and 90s so I have memories of being there when they would program events that would fill the place with people. That and riding my bike down the southbank Riverwalk, over the Main St bridge, and into the Landing.

The arcade, the food court...typical mall stuff, but right on the river.

The Christmas tree lightings. New Years fireworks. Boat Parade.

I remember taking my grandma to Southend once, and how beside herself she was that they served her wine in a plastic cup! But all was forgiven when that apple tart came out.

Good times. Wish the city would get its act together but that will never, ever happen in my lifetime.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: marcuscnelson on October 31, 2019, 10:57:57 PM
I remember the first or second year of One Spark, back when that was a thing, and I was with my Dad. We'd been spending the day wandering through downtown and seeing all of the different ideas, and we ended up going to the Landing for lunch. I don't remember what we ate, but from the food court we had this just gorgeous view of the river, and in the eyes of little me, the whole place felt so nice. It was great.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Charles Hunter on November 01, 2019, 07:57:51 AM
Wandering through Sharper Image and looking at all the cool, and unusual, stuff.
Going to Johnny Rockets for lunch - burger, fries, cherry coke, and playing the nickel juke box.
Crab cakes at the seafood restaurant than used to be by Hooters and J. Rockets - don't remember the name of the place.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Wacca Pilatka on November 01, 2019, 08:41:23 AM
^ L&N Seafood Grill

I'll never forget stopping at the Landing (after years of cajoling) in 1993 as a 15-year old who loved Jacksonville from afar, and spending all my saved money on Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage and a print of the city from Picture Perfect.  It was the summer leading up to NFL expansion and a TD Jax rally was going on in the courtyard.

I was unnaturally beside myself that the pushcart market was named Dawson & Buckles after an early Jacksonville store, and at the silhouettes of figures from city history in the food court.  I was not a particularly normal child or teen.

Adam - yes, it was Musicland
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: sanmarcomatt on November 01, 2019, 08:57:10 AM
I didn’t think much of the landing but I will always remember stopping there when we first arrived in Jax nearly 20 years ago.No clue the name but it was some Seafood place and we were sitting outside. Outside in February! This was a big deal to us at the time as we had just moved/driven(and scraped my windshield for the last f’ing time)from Connecticut.

I remember just looking at the River and my wife(future at the time)and I had that “what have we done” look on our faces. A couple of youngsters with no jobs( wife was supposed to transfer but her company pissed her off so she quit too) and no clue what the future held. And we just started laughing. Just looking at the river and laughing.

That is a very fond memory of mine and pretty much the only reason I will miss the Landing.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Josh on November 01, 2019, 09:23:24 AM
Favorite memories probably all involve playing in The Tilt. My best friend's mom in early elementary school worked at the Italian Restaurant that faced the fountains, and she would give us money to go upstairs and play games from time to time.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Traveller on November 01, 2019, 10:03:00 AM
My favorite memory of the Landing is actually my now-wife's story.  The day before our rehearsal dinner, her friends took her "out on the town" for her bachelorette party.  Since everyone was staying downtown, and none of them knew anything about Jax nightlife, they took her to the newest club in the city: Club Paris.

The next day she tells me about their evening, about how there were maybe ten people in the whole club, and how she spent part of the evening talking with a large African American man who claimed to play for the Jaguars.  I asked her if he gave a name, and she said John Henderson, having no idea who he was.  I tried to explain to her that he was one of the greatest defensive lineman to ever play the game, but I don't think she was impressed.  She did say he was a really nice guy who gave her some good advice on faith and marriage.

She also took a picture with him, which was hilarious considering my wife is 5'2".
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Captain Zissou on November 01, 2019, 10:19:34 AM
I loved the toy store and the shooting gallery at the arcade.  When I had enough allowance saved up, my mom would let me go to the toy store and buy a Playmobil toy and then we'd go eat at Johnny rockets and play in the arcade.  Great memories.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Tacachale on November 01, 2019, 11:05:12 AM
All together it was the small things that stand out the most. Tilt arcade loomed large for me and my sisters as kids. When GLHF opened, it felt like the Landing had finally gotten an updated version of something that had been lost, and that felt really good.

Meeting my dad for lunch in the food court. Attending the Christmas tree lighting and the light parade every year. Checking out the toy store, grabbing a Coastal Cookie and just walking around enjoying a place on the river. When I was 9 or 10, my mom and I watching helplessly from the Landing as two young men ran up the Main Street Bridge to rescue a suicidal man. Around the same time, seeing my dad and mayor Austin in the background on TV when George H.W. Bush was giving a speech.  A few years later, seeing the Landing as an establishing shot during the first Jaguars season and feeling like others were finally able to see the city like I did. In college, meeting friends for lunch or a beer after work when I interned at City Hall. Overwhelming Florida-Georgia celebrations. Watching the 2012 Presidential debates at Chicago Pizza when we didn't have a working TV. Even simpler things like walking the dog on the Riverwalk and pausing to hear a band in the courtyard.

It wasn't perfect, but it was ours, and I'll never forget it.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: ProjectMaximus on November 01, 2019, 11:53:23 AM
Ha y'all are getting me a little misty! Some of these posts make me feel young and then Marcus comes along and makes me feel super old!

I honestly don't have a standout memory. Lots of pretty average times but they add up to something I guess. Discovering pasta jambalaya at the Nola-themed restaurant was life-changing (this was cuisine that I never got to eat in my household so don't judge). The toy store was definitely cool. As was TILT. Pretty sure there are tokens and tickets from the TILT still in my drawer at my parents' house. For the first one spark I had a tent near the courtyard. Remember getting beer spilled on me on NYE one night when I was still underage, by some drunk fans of one of the bowl teams that year. Oh, and how awesome it was one year, I'm thinking this was circa 2012, when they had some free rock concerts in the courtyard that had the entire place packed. Jazzfest and a few other random concerts were also cool on that stage, at least from the standpoint of having the whole area hopping.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: sandyshoes on November 01, 2019, 12:29:19 PM
Tacachale, you brought a very interesting point to light - the opening shots of our downtown area during the Jags home games and Georgia/Florida games.  NOW what are they going to feature?    BTW, I was getting a little ferklempt, too, reading people's favorite memories of The Landing.  Thanks for sharing such special times and emotions.  I know there are lots more out there and I think it does all of us good to read them and nod our heads in agreement and 'oh, I remember that too' moments.  Keep 'em coming.   
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: thelakelander on November 01, 2019, 12:51:38 PM
This thread suggest the Landing was an iconic and culturally significant site for Jacksonville.

I didn't grow in Jax but as a child, we visited Jax quite often but 90% of our trips were to NW Jax and we never went outside of NW Jax except to church in New Springfield and Main or I-95 south and right out of town. One trip, we went to the Landing and it must have been around 1989, 1990 or so. I remember the fudge place, B. Dalton, Spencer Gifts and a host of other retailers that were in the festival marketplaces we had already visited in Toledo, Miami and Tampa. I just remember the Landing really being lively and the big sign on the top of the building really standing out. As a kid of serial shoppers during the mall era, it also felt pretty unique with the horseshoe shape. Curry is a shortsighted fool for destroying it. The vibrancy of the Northbank core could have been completely different if they just for once, embraced inclusion and community. Some may consider it an old 1980s mall.....but whatever, it was uniquely Jax in terms of the architecture, cultural and social experiences generated there.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Non-RedNeck Westsider on November 01, 2019, 02:39:15 PM
I was a bartender at Jocks and Jills for almost 2 years, my (then) wife was working at Southend and just the sheer amount of 20-somethings that worked around there and would hang out and party on their nights off is unimaginable to think about now.

Such good times.

It's weird thinking about it now... did the club scene just completely die or did I completely outgrow it?  Because I remember meeting up at the Landing for drinks before we would go see one of any big-named DJs or band that were coming through. I guess the heydays of Club 5 / 618 / Milkbar / Evo....   



Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Tacachale on November 01, 2019, 03:02:22 PM
It's weird thinking about it now... did the club scene just completely die or did I completely outgrow it?  Because I remember meeting up at the Landing for drinks before we would go see one of any big-named DJs or band that were coming through. I guess the heydays of Club 5 / 618 / Milkbar / Evo....

Couldn't tell you, I've always been too old for the club scene.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: vicupstate on November 01, 2019, 03:15:52 PM
I visited JAX for the first time in 1995, I believe it was. I don't count driving thru to get to Orlando. I remember being truly blown away, and the Landing was definitely part of that. I ate at the American Cafe, I think it was called. The ambiance of the warm summer breeze and the lights reflecting off the river seemed pretty unique. DT was dead except for the Landing but that was more than most cities could say at the time.     
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Adam White on November 01, 2019, 03:40:25 PM
When the Landing first opened, it had a Banana Republic shop. It was the first time I had ever seen one of those. And they sold a lot of safari-looking clothing. Nothing like what it became.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Wacca Pilatka on November 01, 2019, 05:17:04 PM
This thread suggest the Landing was an iconic and culturally significant site for Jacksonville.
Curry is a shortsighted fool for destroying it. The vibrancy of the Northbank core could have been completely different if they just for once, embraced inclusion and community. Some may consider it an old 1980s mall.....but whatever, it was uniquely Jax in terms of the architecture, cultural and social experiences generated there.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

Echoing many previous poster's comments, always loved Fun and Games/Toy Factory, both as a kid and with kids.  Still have collectible planes and an early 90s Jax-opoly board from there.  They had a ventriloquist's dummy when my nephew wanted one.

The River City Gourmet Shoppe was a nice memory from the Sleiman era.  No one ever had better balsamic vinegar, and the owner graciously replaced the bottle I dropped on the floor at no charge, even as I caused an oil slick through the Landing.  The lady who made the peach Melba flavored cupcakes, the painter by mouth, James Pontal's photography, and Adrian Pickett's charcoal drawings are missed too.

Apple A Day had some good fruit; it and Coastal Cookies were endearingly always there in the same location through much transition.  Always enjoyed the American Café, though it changed its name repeatedly over the years; I think it was Mozzarella's, Silver Spoon, and American Grill at various times.  Twisted Martini always seemed to have its fans.

Loved going to Sports Mania and its predecessor (Raggz?) for Jaguar gear in the early years of the franchise.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Keith-N-Jax on November 01, 2019, 05:27:09 PM
American Cafe and the skyline views of the sign. Big mistake by the city
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: sandyshoes on November 04, 2019, 05:26:29 PM
Agreed, KNJ, it was a big mistake by the City.  Just remembered a couple other things I enjoyed;  seeing the fireworks 'waterfall' off the Main St. Bridge at boat parades and pep rallies...The Accessory Lady store with all their big '80s jewelry and headbands...Cuco's Mexican Restaurant right there on the right when you first walked into the Landing.  I had forgotten L&N Seafood, it was delicious too.  Got a great hat at the clothing store somebody else mentioned, with the 'safari' type clothing.  Partying at various class reunions...we took a cruise on the Annabelle Lee the first night, and about a handful of us straggled over to Hooters and just sat and talked for another 2 hours or so.  Tears are coming now, gotta go. 
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: JaxJersey-licious on November 04, 2019, 08:06:53 PM
I've had many fond memories as a teen and young adult but there was one moment at the Landing that was especially poignant. I brought my then-girlfriend to the Landing on New Year's eve because she never seen fireworks in person on New Year's Day before. She was so surprised to see the Landing so alive with all the New Year's revelers and fans of the teams playing the Gator Bowl later that day because when friends always brought her there it was always so dead.

And as we kissed under the lights of the fireworks going off that balmy night, as precious as those moments were, I also had a tinge of sadness - with all the fits and starts the Landing had gone through I thought this place, and Downtown in general, was starting to turn the corner into being what it truly can be. After the city hosted the Super Bowl there seemed to be real momentum to start putting hotels, residences, and office space to an area that was ripe for a shot in the arm of urban vitality and it was finally going to get it...

...and I was not going to be a part of any of that. My mind had long been made up I was leaving the region I've called home for all these years to start a new chapter of my life. Looking back at that moment to what has become now as well as all seeing these other charming posts of  memories of events and hangouts that have come and gone, my feelings of anger and frustration at the whole handling of the Landing have turned more into abject disappointment.

Disappointment in what could have been.   
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: heights unknown on November 05, 2019, 06:39:21 AM
This thread suggest the Landing was an iconic and culturally significant site for Jacksonville.

I didn't grow in Jax but as a child, we visited Jax quite often but 90% of our trips were to NW Jax and we never went outside of NW Jax except to church in New Springfield and Main or I-95 south and right out of town. One trip, we went to the Landing and it must have been around 1989, 1990 or so. I remember the fudge place, B. Dalton, Spencer Gifts and a host of other retailers that were in the festival marketplaces we had already visited in Toledo, Miami and Tampa. I just remember the Landing really being lively and the big sign on the top of the building really standing out. As a kid of serial shoppers during the mall era, it also felt pretty unique with the horseshoe shape. Curry is a shortsighted fool for destroying it. The vibrancy of the Northbank core could have been completely different if they just for once, embraced inclusion and community. Some may consider it an old 1980s mall.....but whatever, it was uniquely Jax in terms of the architecture, cultural and social experiences generated there.
I agree Lake. A lot of history and of course ingrained and learned Jax Culture grew, in time, into the Landing making it an integral part of downtown Jacksonville and the city as a whole. Yes, huge mistake by Curry and Company.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: MusicMan on November 08, 2019, 10:33:21 AM
Being able to get a Starbucks coffee while on break from Jacksonville Symphony services.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Kerry on November 08, 2019, 01:39:49 PM
Reading through these memories makes me wonder, what the hell happened?  In 20 years if you ask this same question to today's teenagers their memories would be of vacant stores, shootings, and homeless people.

My first (and only positive) memory of The Landing is from a textbook during college in the early 90's.  We moved to Jax in 2003 and it wasn't anything close to what has been described in this thread.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: pierre on November 08, 2019, 02:32:02 PM
I remember always going there during school field trips to MOSH, the Florida Theater or anywhere downtown. This is early-mid 90's when I was elementary-middle school age.

It involved grabbing lunch at what seemed like a thriving food court and heading to the Ostrich Landing to spend some money my parents gave me.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: thelakelander on November 08, 2019, 02:56:36 PM
Reading through these memories makes me wonder, what the hell happened?

Same thing that happened to most malls that were popular in the 1980s. The market and retailing trends change with times and additional investment in your facilities and strategies to adapt with changes times are needed to remain relevant in the market place. In the case of the Landing, you not only have that to deal with and overcome, COJ has never been a great partner in what was supposed to be a public private relationship. Relationships involving partners that don't get along or can't trust each other tend to ultimately fail.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: vicupstate on November 08, 2019, 03:10:21 PM
^^ You have to wonder if the promised parking had been provided from the start, how would things have happened differently.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Tacachale on November 08, 2019, 03:46:42 PM
^^ You have to wonder if the promised parking had been provided from the start, how would things have happened differently.

My old man told me recently that both he and Ed Austin made several offers to build the garage for the Landing per the agreement, and Rouse turned them down. As it wasn't immediately adjacent (it would have been up the street a bit, a la the Parador garage) Rouse didn't feel it would have enough of an impact to be worth the investment. And so the city focused on other things around the Landing like programming and the Northbank Riverwalk.

I still hold that the only thing wrong with the Landing is that it never got updated over 32 years to get ready for changes in retail and what the downtown market could realistically support. The architecture, parking issues, etc. may have been pieces of the puzzle, but the real clincher is it didn't adapt with the times.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Wacca Pilatka on November 08, 2019, 04:06:18 PM
^ Does that mean Rouse would have only settled for a garage on the spot where the surface lot is presently?
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Tacachale on November 08, 2019, 04:33:22 PM
^ Does that mean Rouse would have only settled for a garage on the spot where the surface lot is presently?

I don't know.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: thelakelander on November 08, 2019, 07:04:50 PM
Rouse's position on not wanting a garage 2 to 3 dark blocks away makes sense. I can't think of one festival marketplace they built in a smaller city like Jax that did not have adjacent dedicated parking. IMO, it's surprising that the Landing was built without the parking component already worked into the original plan.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Non-RedNeck Westsider on November 08, 2019, 08:36:19 PM
^^ You have to wonder if the promised parking had been provided from the start, how would things have happened differently.

My old man told me recently that both he and Ed Austin made several offers to build the garage for the Landing per the agreement, and Rouse turned them down. As it wasn't immediately adjacent (it would have been up the street a bit, a la the Parador garage) Rouse didn't feel it would have enough of an impact to be worth the investment. And so the city focused on other things around the Landing like programming and the Northbank Riverwalk.

I still hold that the only thing wrong with the Landing is that it never got updated over 32 years to get ready for changes in retail and what the downtown market could realistically support. The architecture, parking issues, etc. may have been pieces of the puzzle, but the real clincher is it didn't adapt with the times.

So when the Adam's Mark was building their garage, couldn't there have been an agreement to kick in some additional $$$ to add a few floors of parking?

I mean, I don't know what the magic number would be for parking, but after your comment, it makes me wonder if it was even discussed.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Steve on November 08, 2019, 10:19:16 PM
^^ You have to wonder if the promised parking had been provided from the start, how would things have happened differently.

My old man told me recently that both he and Ed Austin made several offers to build the garage for the Landing per the agreement, and Rouse turned them down. As it wasn't immediately adjacent (it would have been up the street a bit, a la the Parador garage) Rouse didn't feel it would have enough of an impact to be worth the investment. And so the city focused on other things around the Landing like programming and the Northbank Riverwalk.

I still hold that the only thing wrong with the Landing is that it never got updated over 32 years to get ready for changes in retail and what the downtown market could realistically support. The architecture, parking issues, etc. may have been pieces of the puzzle, but the real clincher is it didn't adapt with the times.

So when the Adam's Mark was building their garage, couldn't there have been an agreement to kick in some additional $$$ to add a few floors of parking?

I mean, I don't know what the magic number would be for parking, but after your comment, it makes me wonder if it was even discussed.


Adam’s Mark didn’t build their garage. That’s the former Daniel building.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Adam White on November 09, 2019, 03:16:20 AM

I still hold that the only thing wrong with the Landing is that it never got updated over 32 years to get ready for changes in retail and what the downtown market could realistically support. The architecture, parking issues, etc. may have been pieces of the puzzle, but the real clincher is it didn't adapt with the times.

That sounds pretty reasonable.

I think that, combined with the fact that it was essentially an isolated development with nothing around it, meant people wouldn't drive in from the suburbs to shop there when the novelty wore off.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: sandyshoes on November 11, 2019, 09:44:16 AM
Kerry, (re: Reply #27)...to try to come up with an answer for your 'what the hell happened' to The Landing by the time you arrived here in 2003 and found nothing resembling the memories shared in this thread, my own theory is that the arrival of the NFL could have started the ball rolling.  We were awarded the NFL franchise for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1993, and I think for one, the crazy euphoria of having a real NFL team in our little Podunk hometown overrode everything else.  Plus the fact that we immediately started receiving warnings from other NFL towns that along with the NFL would come more crime, drugs, violence...and now look what we've got today.  It might have started way back then and this might have had a little to do with the Landing 'not keeping up' as another observer put it.  With the number of stores that have come and gone, though, I'm not sure I would call that not having kept up if they were trying to bring better and better merch in.  Just my theory.  But yeah, Kerry, it was an awesome place.  And I still don't know anyplace today where we're going to be able to get those million-dollar views of the river with the ambience, lights, events. 
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: vicupstate on November 11, 2019, 11:33:24 AM
You guys are overthinking it. The Landing never turned a profit. The business model just doesn't work, except where there is a large presence of tourists and office workers.  Festival Marketplaces work in Miami and Boston and Baltimore. JAX and all the second tier cities that got a Rouse F.M. never made it.   
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: thelakelander on November 11, 2019, 11:38:20 AM

I still hold that the only thing wrong with the Landing is that it never got updated over 32 years to get ready for changes in retail and what the downtown market could realistically support. The architecture, parking issues, etc. may have been pieces of the puzzle, but the real clincher is it didn't adapt with the times.

That sounds pretty reasonable.

I think that, combined with the fact that it was essentially an isolated development with nothing around it, meant people wouldn't drive in from the suburbs to shop there when the novelty wore off.
It's more than this. Rouse was sold a bill of goods. Based off the archived material in the JPL special collections department,  they came because they got a ton of incentives and was sold that DT Jax would be the next Baltimore Inner Harbor. Without these things, it never would have been built because the market at the time wasn't large enough to support the concept. The other stuff never materialized and many of the initital retailers were already out by 1995.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: thelakelander on November 11, 2019, 11:41:13 AM
You guys are overthinking it. The Landing never turned a profit. The business model just doesn't work, except where there is a large presence of tourists and office workers.  Festival Marketplaces work in Miami and Boston and Baltimore. JAX and all the second tier cities that got a Rouse F.M. never made it.   
When you think about it, the Landing fared well despite 30 years of continuous obstacles.  It would be around right now if the remaining profitable businesses weren't kicked out by COJ. You can't say that about similar centers in Flint, Toledo, Norfolk, Richmond, Battle Creek, etc. They failed quick and were repurposed years ago
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: vicupstate on November 11, 2019, 12:56:58 PM
It's certainly true that the Landing fared better than most, but it also was propped up not only with the incentives but also by never having to pay rent or property taxes on the land.   
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: thelakelander on November 11, 2019, 01:29:21 PM
Of course. Many of the other failed festival marketplaces had similar deals but they didn't matter because their retail deaths were swift. In Flint, the Water Street Pavilion opened in 1985 and closed for good in 1990. Portside opened in DT Toledo in 1984 and closed in 1990. If it had taken the path of Rouse's other festival marketplaces in smaller cities, the Landing should have shut down by 1993 or so, a full decade before Sleiman purchased it.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Kerry on November 11, 2019, 02:19:06 PM
Kerry, (re: Reply #27)...to try to come up with an answer for your 'what the hell happened' to The Landing by the time you arrived here in 2003 and found nothing resembling the memories shared in this thread, my own theory is that the arrival of the NFL could have started the ball rolling.  We were awarded the NFL franchise for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1993, and I think for one, the crazy euphoria of having a real NFL team in our little Podunk hometown overrode everything else.  Plus the fact that we immediately started receiving warnings from other NFL towns that along with the NFL would come more crime, drugs, violence...and now look what we've got today.  It might have started way back then and this might have had a little to do with the Landing 'not keeping up' as another observer put it.  With the number of stores that have come and gone, though, I'm not sure I would call that not having kept up if they were trying to bring better and better merch in.  Just my theory.  But yeah, Kerry, it was an awesome place.  And I still don't know anyplace today where we're going to be able to get those million-dollar views of the river with the ambience, lights, events.

I tend to agree with you.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: jaxlongtimer on November 11, 2019, 07:03:46 PM
I would suggest much of what plagued the Landing mirrors that which has plagued Downtown and, to some extent, still does.  And, its not one thing but the combination of many.

(1) No master plan/vision to integrate all that Downtown has or could offer into an unified experience.

(2) Lack of clustering and/or synergy with surrounding retail, attractions and events (e.g. eat/shop at the Landing and go to a concert, game, or museum downtown with a low cost or free shuttle service), etc.  Aggravated by the "walled off" effect of the building.

(3) Lack of quality mass transit connectivity and/or convenient parking (Question: was valet parking ever offered at the Landing?).  Running a free shuttle up and down Laura Street from the Landing would have been helpful.  I recall working downtown when the Landing opened and on a nice day, it was a good walk.  If not, good luck getting many office workers to make the trek.  Such a shuttle would have also opened up many more parking options.  Add failure to optimize the water taxi service to bring customers from other urban core areas to it (e.g. eat/shop at Landing and get a discounted/free water taxi ride with a validated voucher).

(4) Decline of surrounding employment base and other retail for much of its life.

(5) Lack of surrounding residential for most of its life.

(6) Opened with too high of a retail to eating/entertainment ratio. By the time it shifted it was too little too late.

(7) Failure of Downtown to consistently and significantly generate tourism traffic (Not reliably marketing Downtown to tourists:  e.g. witness no Downtown "attraction signs" on I-95 or I-10).  Question: Did they ever offer incentives to area hotel guests to visit with coupons or other incentives?

(8.) To the comment about the NFL, I believe many suburbanites have a subliminal "quota" for visits to Downtown and the home Jags games pretty much take that up.

(9) With the opening of Town Center, the concept of the Landing was effectively replaced with a more accessible and much upgraded variation on it's festival them.  [Will be interesting to see the competition between Lot J and Town Center.  Jax seems to still be a one-horse town for now so I wonder if there is room for both - plus Durbin Park in Northern St. Johns.  As to the Downtown core competing, we better address much of what's on this list or watch out!]

(10) Not placing blame here, but the failure of the City and the Landing management to partner together for the good of Downtown sure didn't help the Landing's public image.  It came across as a dying mall on life support which became a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Not very attractive to visitors.

(11) The final nail in the coffin was the more recent reputation many declining malls have acquired and which can be hard to shake once afflicted, that crime and patron safety is a major concern.  The Madden game shooting reinforced the perception that this was not a family venue anymore.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Adam White on November 12, 2019, 05:10:34 AM

I still hold that the only thing wrong with the Landing is that it never got updated over 32 years to get ready for changes in retail and what the downtown market could realistically support. The architecture, parking issues, etc. may have been pieces of the puzzle, but the real clincher is it didn't adapt with the times.

That sounds pretty reasonable.

I think that, combined with the fact that it was essentially an isolated development with nothing around it, meant people wouldn't drive in from the suburbs to shop there when the novelty wore off.
It's more than this. Rouse was sold a bill of goods. Based off the archived material in the JPL special collections department,  they came because they got a ton of incentives and was sold that DT Jax would be the next Baltimore Inner Harbor. Without these things, it never would have been built because the market at the time wasn't large enough to support the concept. The other stuff never materialized and many of the initital retailers were already out by 1995.

Obviously, I don't know the ins and outs of what was or wasn't promised to Rouse. But you are basically confirming what I posted. The Landing was in a barren no-man's land due to lack of any other development (and the death of existing development) and wasn't enough to draw people downtown once the novelty wore off.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: thelakelander on November 12, 2019, 07:22:40 AM
(9) With the opening of Town Center, the concept of the Landing was effectively replaced with a more accessible and much upgraded variation on it's festival them.  [Will be interesting to see the competition between Lot J and Town Center.  Jax seems to still be a one-horse town for now so I wonder if there is room for both - plus Durbin Park in Northern St. Johns.  As to the Downtown core competing, we better address much of what's on this list or watch out!]

I don't believe DT/The Landing/Lot J, etc. are true competitors with SJTC. SJTC is a regional mall. Its true competition is more Avenues, Orange Park Mall, River City Marketplace, Oakleaf Town Center, etc. moreso than any thing downtown. DT as a real regional retail competitor ended back in the 1980s. DT is/should be its own authentic animal in that it is a place for government, arts, entertainment, history, access to the river, etc. However, to take advantage of its authenticity we'll have to focus on the things it has that suburban shopping centers of the world will never offer.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: vicupstate on November 12, 2019, 08:06:13 AM
Quote
However, to take advantage of its authenticity we'll have to focus on the things it has that suburban shopping centers of the world will never offer.

Having multiple large vacant lots on the river is unique.  Oh, you meant unique in a good way.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: thelakelander on November 12, 2019, 09:00:17 AM
Hahahaha....Let me explain that comment in a bit more detail. I just spent a few days in Charlotte and came away very unimpressed from a historic building stock, culinary and local culture perspective. I could just be getting older, so the experiences I seek could be changing but this is the first time the place came off like an urban Disney (excluding the old mill buildings/areas outside of Uptown) to me. While there's a lot to learn, not much came across as authentic or something I couldn't find in Orlando, Tampa, Austin, Raleigh, Houston or just about any city with a MSA of more than 1 million that's rapidly grown since 1970.

So little things like having your own historic architectural style still in existence, dishes historically tied to the local community still around, places like the Eastside and or even the handful of historically significant buildings still standing in LaVilla (good gawd what Charlotte did to the 2nd Ward/Brooklyn was outright horrible) all offer potential for something special that can't be replicated if Jax can get its head out of the sand.  These are the types of things that can't be replicated at SJTC. They aren't building a Laura Trio. They don't have an old Richmond or Armory to retrofit into something special. They aren't walkable, bike friendly and mass transit is virtually non-existent there and will be for the foreseeable future.

I think worry about SJTC and its impact on DT Jax is something not worth worrying much about, unless the dream is for DT to have a Dillards, Target, Ross Dress for Less and Cheesecake Factory. Nationally, what excites people with vibrant central business districts is more centered on authentic experiences and sense of place than what's being offered at malls and lifestyle centers. Thus, more focus should be on building up what makes DT Jax special and authentic to this particular region.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: vicupstate on November 12, 2019, 10:01:37 AM
Charlotte was for years the poster child of what NOT to do in urban revitalization. Tear everything down and build urban surburban office parks. Starting about 1999, they finally hit on the right path and have been rebuilding the urban fabric they previously destroyed. With only a few exceptions (Latta Arcade, Ratcliffe Florist), the historic architecture is 90-95% gone, never to return. It is a shame but its water under the bridge now.

JAX does indeed have a lot of local and authentic culture and architecture. And while there is more appreciation for it now, still too many treasures still get taken down.     
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: thelakelander on November 12, 2019, 11:24:36 AM
^Yes, IMO that needs to change asap. It's about all Jax has in decent supply that can't be replicated elsewhere.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: sandyshoes on November 12, 2019, 02:21:46 PM
ooo, ooo, ooo!!  [raising my hand in class, excitedly] - Lake, Vic, you two just gave me an idea.  On the former Landing site, I'm picturing a new building which is a central "museum/trolley/ticket office" that was divided into sections; each section detailing a particular area of town, our history, our architecture of which we are proud.  Each section would feature a little 'teaser' exhibit to generate some interest in purchasing a trolley ticket to go see the area in person.  Ticket and trolley could be accessed from this building also.  One trolley would be dedicated for each particular tour, for about a half hour, 45 minutes or so, complete with a tour guide and a microphone.  People could get off and walk around a little bit or not, and this would detail stuff like where the Great Fire began, traveled, ended and buildings that survived.  Then the Reconstruction with Klutho, showing some of his buildings in the area.  The Cathedral District...Springfield...Historic Cemeteries...others?  If there are enough others, it could be a destination visit for school field trips or visitors just wanting something more relaxing than fighting traffic on their first day in Jacksonville.  Just a thought.  A nice, open and airy building (like the food court was) where people could also sit outside and just enjoy seeing the river for a little while.  It would not be a huge building, so would provide ample parking for the museum/restrooms/trolley tickets.  Maybe have a few food trucks show up at peak times...?  I know it's pie in the sky thinking right now, but we don't have anything like that currently - do we?  There could be a trolley to run to the Ritz Theatre Museum exhibit, which is something else that could be featured in a little exhibit at the 'hall'.   
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: sandyshoes on November 12, 2019, 02:32:00 PM
Here you go - this was sort of the same thing in Jacksonville, Oregon.  But sans the building on the river serving as a museum/et al.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g51920-d3226686-Reviews-Historic_Jacksonville_Trolley_Tour-Jacksonville_Oregon.html
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Florida Power And Light on November 13, 2019, 09:28:50 PM
I recall, fondly, when the Landing opened.So thrilled. Took photos of construction phase.
Many restaurant and clothing retail adventures, including boat access, dock.
Most recently my fondest thoughts are of a certain, riveting Vision;the entire place bulldozed, public Open Space, open views down Mainstreet and from the River,land far too valuable to “ develop”, open space, a promenade, Jacksonville’s Gracious Front Porch,an anchor for surrounding “ world class” development, or at least something that might compete with a Lake at Nocatee.
Title: Re: What are YOUR favorite memories of The Landing?
Post by: Florida Power And Light on November 16, 2019, 06:59:42 PM
I recall, fondly, when the Landing opened.So thrilled. Took photos of construction phase.
Many restaurant and clothing retail adventures, including boat access, dock.
Most recently my fondest thoughts are of a certain, riveting Vision;the entire place bulldozed, public Open Space, open views down Mainstreet and from the River,land far too valuable to “ develop”, open space, a promenade, Jacksonville’s Gracious Front Porch,an anchor for surrounding “ world class” development, or at least something that might compete with a Lake at Nocatee.
One week later, same Vision.