Author Topic: A Look At Brooklyn's Proposed Unity Plaza  (Read 14942 times)

Scrub Palmetto

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Re: A Look At Brooklyn's Proposed Unity Plaza
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2013, 04:20:49 PM »
Well, I half expected another building further beating all the meaning out of the word plaza! *cough* Berkman

(If the above isn't warning enough, this post contains an uncharacteristic amount of cynicism. My apologies ... It's just one of those days!)

It looks really nice, but to be honest ... I don't really "get" it. It feels like the way we do things now is build massive roads that lead to massive retention ponds, and then putting lipstick on them is supposed to excite us. Inwardly, there are some good features. Outwardly, I would say it's not even close to making the best of an already awkward location. It's like a side yard to a single place rather than something central to several. I think it will only remain that way for the foreseeable future because of the way connections seem like an afterthought rather than smooth-as-butter, as should be expected when the word "plaza" is adopted. Forest serves as a wall, and that's whether there were anything immediately across it to begin with. The design seems to be giving a great deal of attention to the Magnolia and Forest corner, but Magnolia doesn't even at least offer a crossing at Forest of any legal sort. At the same time, the design appears to be directly ignoring its most "duh" pedestrian connection at Riverside & Forest in favor of a park entrance further up Riverside oriented towards its parking spaces. Ever heard of a drive-to "plaza"?

When does the pond at Forest and Park get its lipstick? (Like I said ... one of those days! Please forgive me!)

Tacachale

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Re: A Look At Brooklyn's Proposed Unity Plaza
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2013, 04:45:00 PM »
^Scrub, I think you make some very good points, but as we often do on this site there's a risk of letting the perfect become the enemy of the good.

Is a big retention pond awesome? No, but it's better than a bunch of small retention ponds at every development, which we easily could have gotten. What I see here is some badly needed infill that turns one of its more "pragmatic" design elements into a major focus instead of a something to be kept out back where the drivers can't see it. I see an attempt at including a public space in a private development, which we've missed out on repeatedly in the past. And I see a commitment to maintain and program this space, which is something that's sorely lacking. All in all a big net positive for the Old City and especially for Brooklyn.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

Scrub Palmetto

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Re: A Look At Brooklyn's Proposed Unity Plaza
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2013, 05:31:05 PM »
Tacachale, you gave me a phrase I need to say repeatedly in my head: "public space in a private development... public space in a private development..." I'm very picky about public spaces, but I do have to remember this is part of a private development, and as such, it has a variation of goals and should be critiqued with a variation of standards. I agree, it's definitely a net positive for Jax. (I'll let my cynicism resurface just to say, "Heck, almost anything is.")

That said, I think we should take the perfect-as-enemy-of-the-good "danger" with a grain of salt. Neither have much real meaning, as perfect doesn't exist, and good is what everyone thinks they're building, so it's essentially the status quo. There's a greater beauty in the word better, because it's not so black and white, and it really doesn't have enemies. For instance, this project is better than it could be, and that's worth acknowledging, but it also could be better, and that's worth acknowledging, too. I see no problems in this site having a reputation of striving for this 6-letter B-word; I think it's a big part of MJ's worth, really.

tufsu1

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Re: A Look At Brooklyn's Proposed Unity Plaza
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2013, 07:53:53 PM »
I sure hope all the boosters are right

Bill Hoff

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Re: A Look At Brooklyn's Proposed Unity Plaza
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2013, 10:09:55 PM »
One small example of competing interests would be the Christmas Tree.

The Landing has traditionally had the big tree Downtown. I believe Unity Plaza has said that they plan on having a bigger tree.

We may have an arms race. : )

spuwho

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Re: A Look At Brooklyn's Proposed Unity Plaza
« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2013, 11:08:45 PM »
Unity Plaza will create new vibe for Brooklyn

http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=540977

Wednesday, November 6, 11:10 AM EST

By Carole Hawkins, Contributing Writer

An outdoor amphitheater and entertainment hub under construction in Jacksonville's Brooklyn neighborhood goes way beyond what's normally expected of an amenity for an apartment-retail complex.
But the purpose behind Unity Plaza, being built next to a new mixed-use development at 220 Riverside goes way beyond selling apartments. 

Jacksonville native Alex Coley, a principal at Hallmark Partners and the site's developer, calls Unity Plaza a community service project disguised as a real estate deal. 

"I believe real estate in the new millennium will be one of conscious capitalism, where you will do well by doing good," he said.

When finished, the private nonprofit urban park will feature an amphitheater that seats 2,000 and an amenity deck the size of a football field.

It will host events 260 days a year.

City leaders say the development fits into Downtown revitalization plans by making the city more appealing to a new kind of residential consumer, one that values quality of life.

"Right now, a lot of people don't see Jacksonville as a first-tier market," said Ted Carter, executive director of Jacksonville's Office of Economic Development.

"But national demographic trends show people are moving out of high-cost, dense, high-traffic cities and coming to the Southeast, where there are low taxes and a great quality of life, where you can really have a family life," Carter added.

Some of those people are already in Jacksonville, according to Coley.

Almost 8,000 employees work within six blocks of the site, at such places as Florida Blue, EverBank and Halcrow.

He cited a Forbes article that said 90,000 people have moved to Jacksonville in the last decade to work in the technology and professional services area.

"These are a highly compensated, highly skilled pool we call cultural creatives, and when they move into a community, they demand a certain level of services," he said. "Unity Plaza is designed to meet that level of service. It creates a cool place for them to work and play."

Riverside-Brooklyn is one of about a half-dozen areas the Downtown Investment Authority has identified as potential catalyst sites for revitalization. 

"There's great momentum going on in Riverside-Brooklyn," said Aundra Wallace, the authority's CEO.

One of the things Downtown Jacksonville real estate lacks now is financial comparables that make it attractive for capital markets to underwrite projects, Wallace said.

Successful projects in Riverside and Brooklyn will give Jacksonville those market-rate comps.

"If we do that, financial markets will not view Downtown as a risk, because we can show them they can get a great rate of return on an investment," he said.

Hallmark Partners donated 2.5 acres from its 11-acre site for Unity Plaza and plans to fund the nonprofit entity from a portion of its retail rents.

Coley said he hopes the project will set a standard the city can use with other Downtown developers.

"We wanted to deliver best-in-class real estate property that also makes a serious contribution to the community," he said. "With this we're building a community our kids can come home to."

ProjectMaximus

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Re: A Look At Brooklyn's Proposed Unity Plaza
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2013, 12:03:20 AM »
^^yeah it's definitely far better than what we often end up with. 260 events per year is ambitious, but without a doubt adds life to the neighborhood.

tufsu1

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Re: A Look At Brooklyn's Proposed Unity Plaza
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2013, 08:42:53 AM »
One small example of competing interests would be the Christmas Tree.

The Landing has traditionally had the big tree Downtown. I believe Unity Plaza has said that they plan on having a bigger tree.

We may have an arms race. : )

just like the Town Center is having a Vetereans Day parade....which is co-sponsored by COJ even though there's a parade downtown

fieldafm

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Re: A Look At Brooklyn's Proposed Unity Plaza
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2013, 08:51:05 AM »
Town Center is having a Veterans Day Parade?  That's news to me.

Far be it for me to miss an opportunity to bash Special Events... but I think you may be confused.  The new Microsoft Store at the SJTC is sponsoring COJ's Veterans Day Parade downtown.

tufsu1

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Re: A Look At Brooklyn's Proposed Unity Plaza
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2013, 09:11:57 AM »
Town Center is having a Veterans Day Parade?  That's news to me.

Far be it for me to miss an opportunity to bash Special Events... but I think you may be confused.  The new Microsoft Store at the SJTC is sponsoring COJ's Veterans Day Parade downtown.

ah..maybe that's what it is...just saw something about Town Center and Veterans Day parade...and was co-sponsored by COJ

I-10east

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Re: A Look At Brooklyn's Proposed Unity Plaza
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2013, 11:25:00 AM »
The developer is upset over the delay in approval. I'm no real estate wiz by no means, but that doesn't sound good. Ongoing issues like this makes city seem indefensible when people say "Jax will find a way to screw it up". Hopefully everything goes according to plan ASAP.

www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=541007

Bill Hoff

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Re: A Look At Brooklyn's Proposed Unity Plaza
« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2013, 11:57:37 AM »
System dysfunction, making the process friendlier, and a developer-COJ liaison all came up in the recent downtown improvement meetings held last week.

icarus

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Re: A Look At Brooklyn's Proposed Unity Plaza
« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2013, 12:38:35 PM »
Law requires notice of pending action before hearing.  The department was trying to accommodate the developer by scheduling both the conceptual and final approval for the same hearing rather than two separate hearings.

Unfortunately, someone in the department only noticed the conceptual approval for the hearing which would have been the normal course of events in the process.

I hardly see this is an issue at all.  The developer is forced to wait for a second hearing which is what he would have normally had to do anyway.  Miscommunication .. nothing more.

thelakelander

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Re: A Look At Brooklyn's Proposed Unity Plaza
« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2013, 12:54:01 PM »
So they have to wait until next month? What's the impact on the construction process or project completion date? Time is money. Especially, if they are already in a rush to be available for an event by a certain date.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Tacachale

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Re: A Look At Brooklyn's Proposed Unity Plaza
« Reply #29 on: November 09, 2013, 01:01:06 PM »
The article makes it sound like they just have to wait for Tuesday. But yes, this was an easily avoidable error on the city's part.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?