Author Topic: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel  (Read 32445 times)

stjr

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Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #105 on: July 31, 2010, 10:56:54 AM »
Uptown, its all about commitment, creativity, and vision.  We sadly lack enough of all of these heretofore.  Where is our white knight to organize the troops?
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!

civil42806

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Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #106 on: August 01, 2010, 06:34:36 PM »
Uptown, its all about commitment, creativity, and vision.  We sadly lack enough of all of these heretofore.  Where is our white knight to organize the troops?

I do believe money and profit enter into it as well

Ocklawaha

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Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #107 on: August 01, 2010, 06:38:52 PM »
Uptown, its all about commitment, creativity, and vision.  We sadly lack enough of all of these heretofore.  Where is our white knight to organize the troops?

We don't need him on MJ, when it comes to Urban and Urbanist ideals we are led by the BLACK KNIGHT!

RIGHT ON LAKELANDER!


OCKLAWAHA

Timkin

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Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #108 on: August 01, 2010, 06:46:06 PM »
:)

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Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #109 on: August 01, 2010, 06:49:41 PM »
Another Prime example is the Whole Foods (I think this is mid-town, but on the edge,within blocks of the Garden District) Whole Foods reused the old city trolly garage for the entire store.Truth be told, most of the building is new, the original brick walls were used (much prettier the the cinder block/stucco these places use now) and a new roof, windows, etc was all added. It is fantastic.

That would be a "TrollEy Barn*" Uptowngirl... (smile)   Which one? They have two in current use, St. Augustine had two and I strongly suspect Jacksonville HAD about 7, at least one of which I believe is still standing! (Sucks to be you JTA Skyway guys, you missed one and I ain't tellin')

In OKC Big-K did the same thing in a typical UGLY era shopping plaza that had a Southwestern regional department store in it that bellied up. They actually used the WHOLE store but knocked out the back and extended it, and tacked a big garden center on the side. I think they did the same thing in Edmond OK but I believe that one had a garage converted into a K-Mart Tire Center.  These stores were rather small like the local "Fred's" chain here and I couldn't figure out how in the hell, but they pulled it off nicely.


* Before the little wheel went trolling behind a streetcar on those electric wires in Richmond and St. Joseph, and became a troll-ey. They were called "Horse Cars" and at the end of the day, where does the horse go? BARN. The expression never changed even in modern Light Rail LRT the term remains with us.

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laforge

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Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #110 on: August 02, 2010, 09:19:15 AM »
I would also love to see a nicely renovated Ambassador Hotel. As already mentioned it is located in a relatively quiet and peaceful part of town, so a rehabilitation would make sense to me. Seems like you have to invest a lot but it's worth the money in my opinion. It's somehow sad that there are so many "ruins" thread in this forum, wouldn't have thought that we have so many sites that are considered as "ruins".

Timkin

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Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #111 on: August 03, 2010, 02:49:47 AM »
I think by "Ruins" they depict the buildings in their present state...in ruins.  The Ambassador , though I have not walked through it, certainly shows no signs of buckling and crumbling structure wise,, even though "Gentry" a poster on here seems to think the building is condemned and therefore automaticly will be demolished.   I do not get his reasoning or know if he ever walked through the building ( Im thinking just reading his postings , probably not)  but he seems adamate that the building will come down.

 It is no secret that too many historic buildings have ended up in a landfill.. I , for one want this STOPPED and STOPPED FOREVER.   This includes Ambassador, the Remains of Genovar's, Annie Lytle , Fire Station 5, The Laura Trio ( hopefully that group is about to undergo restoration) ,Jones Bros Furniture, etc etc etc..

Enough!! Enough Razing of old buildings!  Any future Government in Jacksonville worth holding their seat, including City Council, needs to respect the relatively few remaining pieces of what remains, REGARDLESS of their respective present conditions, and work toward goals to bring these great pieces back to life.. IT CAN BE DONE.. IT GETS DONE in lots of other cites, and it should be done in Jacksonville.

johncb

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Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #112 on: August 23, 2010, 02:31:11 AM »
I just stumbled across this forum,and Id like to add my 2 cents if I may? I worked in the ambassador until a year before they were shut down,and I knew every inch of that place well.And I'm here to tell you that as much as Id like to see it restored,I assure you that 8,10,or even 12 million wouldn't do it! There are whole floors that are literally eaten by termites,we got to where we would simply nail doors shut when something collapsed.I doubt there is one original feature left,it was pretty much stripped when i worked there,even the furniture was gone,most furniture in there came from other hotels the last owner had bought(heart of jax,robert meyer etc).Whole floors didn't have plumbing anymore,the basement had 3 feet of water in it for DECADES,the main elevator was closed because of frayed cables,and the elevator people told my boss it would cost 100s of 1000s to upgrade,we used the old freight elevator when I left.The picture that shows the main desk(from the robert meyer fyi)was where the main staircase used to be,I found the original plans in an old safe,it looked NOTHING like it did when built! Youd have to replace literally everything from the basement up,after you started by having the main plumbing redone in the basement! I'm talking wiring,plumbing,floors,windows,walls,probably even the foundation,wich again,has been sitting in water for decades.Theres simply no way you could do anything with the place for less than 30 or 40 million,trust me,there is simply nothing left.

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Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #113 on: August 23, 2010, 07:00:59 AM »
So they would have to strip out everything, gut out everything, renovate, reconstruct and virtually rebuild the Ambassador.  I am not a contractor, construction ace, or a developer but based on what John CB stated in his post, a lot of money (millions and millions, upward to 100 million possibly) would have to be poured into this beast.  Probably in the best interests of the Owner to demolish it and sell the property and for someone else to construct some type of new development on it.

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thelakelander

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Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #114 on: August 23, 2010, 07:12:19 AM »
I seriously doubt it will take $100 million to bring this place back to life.  However, historic preservation is expensive, which is why there are grants and tax credits at the local, state and federal levels for projects such as this. 
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vicupstate

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Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #115 on: August 23, 2010, 07:38:58 AM »
The fact that much of the plumbing, etc. is gone is actually a GOOD thing.  Normally, you would have to PAY someone to remove those very same things. $125-150 a ft ought to do the job.  Nearly every major renovation job takes the building down to the iron studs and concrete anyway. The furniture is totally irrelevant.  The only thing that sounds troubling is the flooded basement. 

The Carling, which was in very bad shape as well cost $20mm and it is much bigger in sq. footage.  $100 mm or even a third of that is preposterous.
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johncb

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Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #116 on: August 24, 2010, 04:48:12 PM »
I brought up the furniture as an aside to how completely devoid of character the place is,there is literally nothing,not a molding or a light fixture to be had.So really we are talking about saving the shell,and while I think thats great,I dont see how turning it into expensive lofts is going to benefit the community as a whole.

acme54321

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Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #117 on: August 24, 2010, 05:02:40 PM »
I brought up the furniture as an aside to how completely devoid of character the place is,there is literally nothing,not a molding or a light fixture to be had.So really we are talking about saving the shell,and while I think thats great,I dont see how turning it into expensive lofts is going to benefit the community as a whole.

And exactly how does demolishing it benefit the community?

Lunican

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Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #118 on: August 24, 2010, 05:02:57 PM »
That's how it should be before a complete renovation. Take a look at the Barnett and Laura Trio.



http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-jun-inside-the-barnett-bank-and-laura-trio

ChriswUfGator

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Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #119 on: September 05, 2010, 08:03:03 PM »
I just stumbled across this forum,and Id like to add my 2 cents if I may? I worked in the ambassador until a year before they were shut down,and I knew every inch of that place well.And I'm here to tell you that as much as Id like to see it restored,I assure you that 8,10,or even 12 million wouldn't do it! There are whole floors that are literally eaten by termites,we got to where we would simply nail doors shut when something collapsed.I doubt there is one original feature left,it was pretty much stripped when i worked there,even the furniture was gone,most furniture in there came from other hotels the last owner had bought(heart of jax,robert meyer etc).Whole floors didn't have plumbing anymore,the basement had 3 feet of water in it for DECADES,the main elevator was closed because of frayed cables,and the elevator people told my boss it would cost 100s of 1000s to upgrade,we used the old freight elevator when I left.The picture that shows the main desk(from the robert meyer fyi)was where the main staircase used to be,I found the original plans in an old safe,it looked NOTHING like it did when built! Youd have to replace literally everything from the basement up,after you started by having the main plumbing redone in the basement! I'm talking wiring,plumbing,floors,windows,walls,probably even the foundation,wich again,has been sitting in water for decades.Theres simply no way you could do anything with the place for less than 30 or 40 million,trust me,there is simply nothing left.

But the whole building is concrete and brick. The only thing that was wood were the fixtures, e.g. doorframes, ballisters, that kind of thing. The building is probably structurally fine, despite how ragged the owners were running it when you worked there. It will be an expensive renovation, obviously in the multi-millions, but $40mm is vastly overstating things don't you think?