Author Topic: A weekend walk at the Jacksonville Landing site  (Read 3976 times)

thelakelander

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A weekend walk at the Jacksonville Landing site
« on: August 13, 2020, 11:00:51 AM »
Quote

 
A before and after look at the evolution of the Jacksonville Landing from a publicly owned asset available for adaptive reuse to a seldom used riverfront lawn.


Read More:  https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/a-weekend-walk-at-the-jacksonville-landing-site/
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: A weekend walk at the Jacksonville Landing site
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2020, 11:15:45 AM »
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Your pictures make it clear.

I reexamined pictures of the Landing from the Super Bowl and it was packed.  Plus, there were dozens of boats triple docked or better in front of it and others milling about in the river cementing its role as a center-point for Downtown during the festivities.

Interestingly, I don't hear the Mayor even discussing its future.  Did he put any dollars in the new budget for its next life?

thelakelander

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Re: A weekend walk at the Jacksonville Landing site
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2020, 11:34:15 AM »
I'd have to go back and check but I believe some money has been allocated to do a study. The ramp from Independent Drive to the Main Street Bridge will also come down. No word on if that will include a new pedestrian connection from the bridge to the Northbank Riverwalk, or if pedestrians will then be required to come down at Bay and circle back around.
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thelakelander

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Re: A weekend walk at the Jacksonville Landing site
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2020, 11:43:39 AM »
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Your pictures make it clear.

Whenever I'm in my Downtown office on the weekend, it's basically me and homeless people out there. Whatever the case, it definitely isn't what I've seen the last month in several other Florida cities in the heart of their downtown cores.





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jaxlongtimer

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Re: A weekend walk at the Jacksonville Landing site
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2020, 11:46:38 AM »
I'd have to go back and check but I believe some money has been allocated to do a study. The ramp from Independent Drive to the Main Street Bridge will also come down. No word on if that will include a new pedestrian connection from the bridge to the Northbank Riverwalk, or if pedestrians will then be required to come down at Bay and circle back around.

I walked the Main Street bridge several times when it was totally closed to vehicles during the Super Bowl.  It was amazing to see thousands of people crowding across it all day long between the North and South Banks.  We need to replicate this permanently with a dedicated lane and/or bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists.  To your point, they definitely should create bilateral connections directly from the North and South Bank river walks to the Main Street bridge as the next best thing.

Ken_FSU

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Re: A weekend walk at the Jacksonville Landing site
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2020, 11:59:01 AM »
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Your pictures make it clear.

Interestingly, I don't hear the Mayor even discussing its future.  Did he put any dollars in the new budget for its next life?

$2.2 million in the budget for 2020-2022 for site preparation, pre-engineering, landscaping work, and a $250k market analysis.

Gonna be looking at that grass field for years to come.

Walking past that lawn makes me appreciate how well designed and densely built the Landing property was. The grass lot feels much smaller than the Landing did.

Quote
I reexamined pictures of the Landing from the Super Bowl and it was packed.  Plus, there were dozens of boats triple docked or better in front of it and others milling about in the river cementing its role as a center-point for Downtown during the festivities.

It was an amazing, iconic, historic spot for Jacksonville that we'll never get back.

All it needed was a pressure wash, some fresh paint, and Curry to drop the petty grudges and be a better partner to Sleiman.

Will prove to be the single worst downtown decision of our generation.

Just astounding and infuriating that it takes years and years and years to negotiate historic rehabs and slight bumps to the historic preservation fund, but just months to get the City to unanimously (minus one vote) approve a $20 million+ buyout of a huge valuable downtown asset and just a few months more to tear it to the ground.

Mayor and DIA want something "iconic" in that space.

We had something iconic already.






















« Last Edit: August 13, 2020, 12:01:54 PM by Ken_FSU »

Peter Griffin

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Re: A weekend walk at the Jacksonville Landing site
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2020, 12:46:05 PM »

All it needed was a pressure wash, some fresh paint, and Curry to drop the petty grudges and be a better partner to Sleiman.


I think it's really easy to speculatively envision the revitalization of the Landing posthumously, but I think  it's wildly optimistic and completely ignores the reality of the decline of indoor shopping malls, the prevalence of homeless people in the area, and the lack of draw to the building in recent years.

A pressure wash and a paint job wouldn't reopen the food court, or bring back the brewery, or refill the long-vacant retail spaces inside. It was a heavily dated building, and to date none of the Roush Festival Marketplaces stand or function as they did when they were built. Not one. To say that we, a sparsely populated mid-size city, would be the one to finally make the Landing shine like it did in the late 90's and early new millennium, is a dream and nothing more. Cherry-picking the best pics of a packed landing does not reflect the reality for 90+% of the time in the past decade or so.

It's a shame it wasn't reconfigured or better accommodated with the parking it deserved, but don't kid yourself in thinking that we had a gem that just needed a little polish to shine again like it did in the boom times.

Ken_FSU

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Re: A weekend walk at the Jacksonville Landing site
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2020, 01:55:29 PM »

All it needed was a pressure wash, some fresh paint, and Curry to drop the petty grudges and be a better partner to Sleiman.


I think it's really easy to speculatively envision the revitalization of the Landing posthumously, but I think  it's wildly optimistic and completely ignores the reality of the decline of indoor shopping malls, the prevalence of homeless people in the area, and the lack of draw to the building in recent years.

A pressure wash and a paint job wouldn't reopen the food court, or bring back the brewery, or refill the long-vacant retail spaces inside. It was a heavily dated building, and to date none of the Roush Festival Marketplaces stand or function as they did when they were built. Not one. To say that we, a sparsely populated mid-size city, would be the one to finally make the Landing shine like it did in the late 90's and early new millennium, is a dream and nothing more. Cherry-picking the best pics of a packed landing does not reflect the reality for 90+% of the time in the past decade or so.

It's a shame it wasn't reconfigured or better accommodated with the parking it deserved, but don't kid yourself in thinking that we had a gem that just needed a little polish to shine again like it did in the boom times.

Putting aside its function as a perfectly serviceable retail center, even up to the end when it still had 30 businesses - including full-scale restaurants - operating within it, I think what these pictures really show is how iconic and important the Landing was a civic space for Jacksonville. For the last 30 years, it's served as the equivalent of our town square. It's where national politicians go to speak. It's where we light our Christmas tree, and watch fireworks, and celebrate big news (like the Jags landing in Jacksonville). It's where we send visitors to gather for events like Florida-Georgia and the Super Bowl.

What replaces that for the next 10 years while we figure out the Landing 2.0 or Lot J?

The "prevalence of homeless people" in the area has nothing to do with whether or not the Landing should have been demolished. It's a fixable problem, and as someone who works right down Laura Street from the Landing, it's an overblown problem (I get solicited more in a lunch-time visit to Five Points than I do in a month downtown). Just like the vacant retail space is a fixable problem. An easy fix? Probably not. But that doesn't mean you blow the entire thing to the ground and replace it with an empty lot for a decade.

Never needed to shine like it did in the 90s. Just needed to provide utility for a downtown population that's slowly growing and could have really benefited from the restaurants, gathering space, retail offerings, bank etc. that even a depressed Landing was still providing when the city made everyone leave.

The rush to demolish the Landing because it was somehow a blight on downtown Jacksonville is the same straw man horseshit that nearly led to JEA being privatized because it was a dying utility.

We fix all of our bruises and scrapes with nuclear options.

It's maddening.

thelakelander

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Re: A weekend walk at the Jacksonville Landing site
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2020, 02:12:02 PM »

All it needed was a pressure wash, some fresh paint, and Curry to drop the petty grudges and be a better partner to Sleiman.


I think it's really easy to speculatively envision the revitalization of the Landing posthumously, but I think  it's wildly optimistic and completely ignores the reality of the decline of indoor shopping malls, the prevalence of homeless people in the area, and the lack of draw to the building in recent years.

A pressure wash and a paint job wouldn't reopen the food court, or bring back the brewery, or refill the long-vacant retail spaces inside. It was a heavily dated building, and to date none of the Roush Festival Marketplaces stand or function as they did when they were built. Not one. To say that we, a sparsely populated mid-size city, would be the one to finally make the Landing shine like it did in the late 90's and early new millennium, is a dream and nothing more. Cherry-picking the best pics of a packed landing does not reflect the reality for 90+% of the time in the past decade or so.

It's a shame it wasn't reconfigured or better accommodated with the parking it deserved, but don't kid yourself in thinking that we had a gem that just needed a little polish to shine again like it did in the boom times.

I disagree because we have a variety of things right now we're trying to pull off locally that could have taken up empty space along with keeping the existing tenants. Just the fact of having an existing, structurally sound building that is centrally located with things like air conditioning and public restrooms in place would have been godsend. These include a music museum that we're looking out for the casket factory and a visitors center that Lori Boyer wanted in the TU center next door. Those two things alone could have easily took up an additional 15,000 to 30,000 square feet of empty space. A public market is something else that could have easily consumed another chunk without having to modify structural components.

I also disagree because I can directly point to several old Rouse Festival Marketplaces that have been repurposed to other uses. It was a building that we owned. It didn't have to be a traditional mall with chain stores. Some former marketplaces have been revamped into everything from office space to urban collages and museums. All of that could have been possible without $25 million in tax money being spent to get us to the lawn we have today. If fact, I'd argue that a better use of the $25 million would have been using 1/2 of it to add the three things I just mentioned above. The other half could have been used to spruce up the place or as incentives to attract additional businesses and restaurants.

Now we have nothing and will have nothing at least for five years at a minimum.....if we're lucky with this pandemic thing. I hope I'm wrong but I also believe the extra lack of foot traffic could even challenge the ultimate success of the things that VyStar is bringing. Especially with many of downtown's workers now working from home.
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sandyshoes

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Re: A weekend walk at the Jacksonville Landing site
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2020, 03:16:35 PM »
[sighing] I've been nostalgic about The Landing all day, ever since I put on my big, wide, black shiny hairband from The Accessory Lady, circa 1988.  Even got my hair bobbed again last week.  Too bad (well - maybe not) I didn't save any geometric plastic earrings. 

bl8jaxnative

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Re: A weekend walk at the Jacksonville Landing site
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2020, 08:48:48 AM »


I reexamined pictures of the Landing from the Super Bowl and it was packed. 

With all due respect, turning to an extreme  extreme, once in a lifetime edge case, is not that action of someone interested in everyday reality.


As for the tenants of The Landing, spare us the Trump-esque rhetoric.  The landing was 83% vacant.    Half the tennants in there so far behind in rent that had Sleiman chosen to, they would've been evicted.   The problem for Slei & Co. was that eviction was more expensive than letting them stay. 

Businesses that can't pay rent ain't getting paying customers.

Retail space is empty cuz businesses won't move in cuz they know they won't get paying customers.

The city botched the thing from day one. And they repeated the botching several times.  Removing that giant turdish wart was the only half-way smart thing they ever did.

Downtown is overflowing with potential retail space.  The last thing downtown needs is some isolated mall siphoning off 38% of the sparse customers they have.   That wretched orange roid ring was a leach, killing off what chance there was for some small scale clustering downtown. 

thelakelander

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Re: A weekend walk at the Jacksonville Landing site
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2020, 09:05:32 AM »
My downtown office is across the street. It was not 83% vacant before the squeeze to shut down businesses the last 12 months. Neverthless, it could have been 100% vacant and that's still not a good reason to spend $25 million in tax money to raze, leaving us with what we have today. That's just completely fiscally irresponsible.
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fieldafm

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Re: A weekend walk at the Jacksonville Landing site
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2020, 09:55:39 AM »


I reexamined pictures of the Landing from the Super Bowl and it was packed. 

As for the tenants of The Landing, spare us the Trump-esque rhetoric.  The landing was 83% vacant.    Half the tennants in there so far behind in rent that had Sleiman chosen to, they would've been evicted.   The problem for Slei & Co. was that eviction was more expensive than letting them stay. 


Wrong... as usual.

The Landing was about 30% vacant. Were some of those tenants paying reduced rent schedules? Yes. Were some paying more rent than other comparable restaurant spaces Downtown (like Bellwether)?  Also, yes. But were the Landing tenants paying a discounted rent schedule able to do so because the infrastructure was also in place for many of them to move in to ready-to-lease space (most of the 'available' downtown retail spaces you reference are not even in a shell condition, nor have access to a $2 million chilled air compressor, existing grease traps and sewer hookups, and dumpster access, as the Landing had)? Also, 100% yes.  There is a huge opportunity cost associated with leveling ready-to-lease space.. versus heavily incentivizing most of the 'not ready for primetime' retail spaces available Downtown.  Bread and Board, for example, got almost as much incentives from COJ.. then they actually paid for the buildout of their Riverside space, just to level the playing field to make leasing a space downtown financially feasible.

All but three tenants had 30 day outs in their lease agreements... so 'evicting' them was as 'expensive' as the cost of a sheet of paper with some ink notifying them of their duty to vacate the space in 30 days. The going rate for such a sheet of paper with ink is about 3 cents these days.

Four, as in (4), were delinquent on their rent at the time the City and JLI entered into a buyout agreement. Two spaces were rent-free as donations to two non-profit/museum organizations.  The Landing took in more rent, even in its last few years, as the building Lakelander works in (Enterprise Center Tower) or the BB&T Tower... as a frame of comparison.

Quote
With all due respect, turning to an extreme  extreme, once in a lifetime edge case, is not that action of someone interested in everyday reality.

With all due respect, the Landing hosted about 200 events a year. None as big as the Super Bowl... but a Thursday night concert in conjunction with 99.9 Gator Country which drew in a few thousand people, Harley Davidson bike night which routinely drew in 400-600 people on a weeknight once a month, or a Saturday/Sunday event in conjunction with a non-profit (like Earth Day, Filipino Fest, Puerto Rican Pride, etc) drawing in a few thousand people... are hard to dismiss as not contributing to the foot traffic Downtown.  I hosted about three dozen events at the Landing over the past decade. All of which benefitted Downtown businesses... and I have the sales figures to back that up. 
For another comparison, the Landing's event programming budget, paid for via rents collected, was more than COJ's Special Events budget on an annual basis.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2020, 11:48:57 AM by fieldafm »

Adam White

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Re: A weekend walk at the Jacksonville Landing site
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2020, 11:24:28 AM »


I reexamined pictures of the Landing from the Super Bowl and it was packed. 

As for the tenants of The Landing, spare us the Trump-esque rhetoric.  The landing was 83% vacant.    Half the tennants in there so far behind in rent that had Sleiman chosen to, they would've been evicted.   The problem for Slei & Co. was that eviction was more expensive than letting them stay. 


Wrong... as usual.

The Landing was about 30% vacant.

All but three tenants had 30 day outs in their lease agreements... so 'evicting' them was as 'expensive' as the cost of a sheet of paper with some ink notifying them of their duty to vacate the space in 30 days. The going rate for such a sheet of paper with ink is about 3 cents these days.

Four, as in (4), were delinquent on their rent at the time the City and JLI entered into a buyout agreement. Two spaces were rent-free as donations to two non-profit/museum organizations.  The Landing took in more rent, even in its last few years, as the building Lakelander works in (Enterprise Center Tower) or the BB&T Tower... as a frame of comparison.

Quote
With all due respect, turning to an extreme  extreme, once in a lifetime edge case, is not that action of someone interested in everyday reality.

With all due respect, the Landing hosted about 200 events a year. None as big as the Super Bowl... but a Thursday night concert in conjunction with 99.9 Gator Country which drew in a few thousand people, Harley Davidson bike night which routinely drew in 400-600 people on a weeknight once a month, or a Saturday/Sunday event in conjunction with a non-profit (like Earth Day, Filipino Fest, Puerto Rican Pride, etc) drawing in a few thousand people... are hard to dismiss as not contributing to the foot traffic Downtown.  I hosted about three dozen events at the Landing over the past decade. All of which benefitted Downtown businesses... and I have the sales figures to back that up. 
For another comparison, the Landing's event programming budget, paid for via rents collected, was more than COJ's Special Events budget on an annual basis.

Great, informative reply. Thanks for the info.

Maybe the Landing wasn't quite "working" as it should've been - but it's pretty hard to argue that what's there now is an improvement. This seems like a massive missed opportunity for Jax.
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Steve

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Re: A weekend walk at the Jacksonville Landing site
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2020, 11:36:56 AM »
Maybe the Landing wasn't quite "working" as it should've been - but it's pretty hard to argue that what's there now is an improvement. This seems like a massive missed opportunity for Jax.

THIS. THIS. THIS.

This is the #1 takeaway from the entire fiasco.

There were a ton of ways to handle this better than the city did.