Author Topic: Doro Fixture Site to be demolished, replaced with Apartments/Retail  (Read 1196 times)


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Re: Doro Fixture Site to be demolished, replaced with Apartments/Retail
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2019, 03:40:28 PM »
Yeah, the Doro building catty corner to the baseball stadium is certainly worth saving and could really be a showpiece of a new development.


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Re: Doro Fixture Site to be demolished, replaced with Apartments/Retail
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2019, 03:51:25 PM »
It's a hodge podge of buildings, not one.    None of them are historically significant.


I understand the sentiment in certain instances, but sometimes an old building is just an old building.

The Landing was built in '87, not historically significant. It never lived up to its original sales pitch of "revitalizing downtown" nor did ANY Roush Festival Marketplace. Yet people complain that it's coming down

The old firehouse on Riverside is nondescript and doesn't look like ANYTHING cool, yet people are complaining that a new office building is going in there.  (The firestation downtown, on the other hand, is gorgeous!)

It's OK to let old buildings go, in my opinion. Not every old structure has to be reused. Building new, modern, useful buildings in the footprints of old disused buildings allows modern amenities to come to the area rather than sprawling out to the suburbs, which is a benefit. More apartments and retail downtown is what we're all hoping for, and this project has just that!

It's always best to move away from opinions regarding what is historically significant and deal with what the actual determining factors are on the books legally. You can find everything you need in Chapter 307 - Historic Preservation and Protection in the city's Code of Ordinances. Weeding through the text, here's what things actually boil down to in Sec. 307.104, assuming a landmarking application was submitted:

In the event the owner of the property expresses an objection in writing to the Commission regarding local landmark status, at least four of the following seven criteria must be met.

If the owner of the subject property does not express such objection, only two of the following criteria must be met.

(1)Its value as a significant reminder of the cultural, historical, architectural, or archaeological heritage of the City, state or nation.

(2)Its location is the site of a significant local, state or national event.

(3)It is identified with a person or persons who significantly contributed to the development of the City, state or nation.

(4)It is identified as the work of a master builder, designer, or architect whose individual work has influenced the development of the City, state or nation.

(5)Its value as a building is recognized for the quality of its architecture, and it retains sufficient elements showing its architectural significance.

(6)It has distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style valuable for the study of a period, method of construction, or use of indigenous materials.

(7)Its suitability for preservation or restoration.


While it takes a lot of research in a city that has long forgotten its past, either a case can be made or not. Everything else from opinions of if old buildings should/should not be saved to development proformas, etc. are noise.

With that said, being familiar with the general area's history and having experience doing this process, I doubt the case could be made for all of the structures on that block. However, it would be pretty easy to meet the criteria under (1), (5), (6), and (7). 

(1) - Built in 1904, it's definitely a significant (hell it's about the last thing left over there) reminder of the maritime industrial district that literally built the city.

(5) - We don't build retail and industrial buildings with those type of architectural details any more. The building appears to retain much of its original architectural integrity as well.

(6) - It's a great example of late 19th century/early 20th century industrial vernacular architecture. The last one left in the Sports District built in the post Great Fire of 1901 building boom.

(7) - It's structurally sound. It ain't falling down on its own any time soon.

Cast iron storefronts? That's rare in Jax and literally non-existent in the Sports District.

Old freight elevator

Love the doors

The old machinery is priceless

Original growth columns, joists and truss system. They don't build them like this anymore.

This is the type of spaces rapidly growing sunbelt cities like Charlotte still wish they had to work with. Once it's gone, it's gone.

Now (2), (3), and (4) would require a bit more in depth research.

(2) - Maybe it was the site of something significant or maybe it was not. This would involve taking a deep dive into the history of Doro Fixtures, the people associated with it and the history of the long erased Italian immigrant community in East Jacksonville.

(3) (4) - I don't know who was the architect or builder. More in depth research on that individual or firm would be needed to see what type of influence they may have had on the city, state or nation. Another avenue to look into is the history of George Doro himself. As a millwork business that lasted more than a century, there could be an argument that he himself is significant in the development of the region or area where his products were used in the building industry.

To wrap this up, here are two examples:

Under normal circumstances, this shotgun house would not be considered worth preserving to many. However, it is landmarked because this is where Zora Neale Hurston lived during her time in Jacksonville. It met at least two of the 7 criteria identified above.

Here is another building. It's a random warehouse in Springfield. It could be a tear down that no one would lose any sleep over because it's not locally landmarked or on the national register.

However, the owner is in the process of removing the decades old siding, revealing a majority glass wall warehouse. Dig into its history, it's associated with Albert Kahn, an internationally known industrial architect and significantly more influential on the development of the country than someone like Henry J. Klutho. While Detroit would be full of old early 20th century examples, it's certainly not something that comes in large supply in Florida. If an application to designate it as a local historic landmark were submitted, it would not take much to get it approved.

All this is to say, there are parts of this site that are certainly historically significant, if meeting the criteria is the determining factor and not personal opinions. My hope would be that as much of what is significantly unique can be worked into a plan going forward that would benefit the seller, buyer, downtown and the community. I do believe with creativity, viable solutions can materialize.

I haven't seen much but I think a case could easily be made for #3 based on the long standing of the business founded by George Doro and continued by his descendants. That gets up to at least 5 of 7 that could be argued. I really hope something can be done that would save this building or at least its facade.
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?


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Re: Doro Fixture Site to be demolished, replaced with Apartments/Retail
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2019, 05:48:39 PM »
Well stated Lake.  You make a strong case that it is indeed historic.  From the pictures it is quite obvious that the 'low ceilings' comment does not apply at all. 

It seems the buildings fronting A P. Randolph are of more architectural significance and quality. Saving those and letting the others be demoed might be a reasonable compromise.

I would dare say very few cities that would let these buildings go without a fight. 

They also make a good compliment to Intuition and the other building next to the Coliseum garage.  Speaking of Intuition, couldn't all or most of the arguments against preserving Doro have been said of the Intuition building?
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Re: Doro Fixture Site to be demolished, replaced with Apartments/Retail
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2019, 06:55:32 PM »

Demolishing 100 year old buildings full of character -

It's a hodge podge of buildings, not one.    None of them are historically significant.  They're sitting empty, the floors lack height for modern amenities, etc.

The place generated less than $10k in property tax revenue.

Just one of those buildings w/ 60 units - 1/4th what is being built at Doro - paid a million dollars in property tax.

It would be insane not to demolish that rat trap for something modern, effecient and _____400_____ times times more valuable.

I'm glad you are not in charge. Jacksonville would be nothing but weed-filled empty lots.


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Re: Doro Fixture Site to be demolished, replaced with Apartments/Retail
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2019, 08:00:37 PM »
IMO Jax will be batting .500 if this Doro demo goes through concerning recent demos

City Hall Annex (even though I liked that bldg, I get it)
Old Duval County Courthouse (a totally legit demo)

Landing (may not be 'historic' but iconic, and a significant amount of infrastructure)
Doro Furniture (the more I look at pics, I love it more; a sh*tload of historical charm within it)

Circa 2017 or so, I thought that Jax was unfairly getting labelled as 'demo happy' as nothing of significance (IMO) hasn't been scheduled for demolition in a long time. In the present day, we are starting to totally earn that 'demo happy' label unfortunately.