Author Topic: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel  (Read 32533 times)

vicupstate

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3866
Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #90 on: November 17, 2009, 07:47:48 PM »
Quote
I am an Architectural Engineer for the city of Jacksonville, FL


Well that certainly explains why so many old buildings get torn down in Jacksonville.  

Have you seen or taken part in a detailed examination of the Ambassador Hotel?  Are you basing your opinion on exposure to the building more recent than your short visit in the early '90's?  I do know that the building was occupied into the late '90's, so it must have been habitable at the time, unless codes enforcement was seriously derelict in their duties.     
"The problem with quotes on the internet is you can never be certain they're authentic." - Abraham Lincoln

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 35034
    • Modern Cities
Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #91 on: November 17, 2009, 09:57:54 PM »
Quote
I am an Architectural Engineer for the city of Jacksonville, FL

Well that certainly explains why so many old buildings get torn down in Jacksonville.

Its been my experience in the industry that Jax is roughly around a decade behind its peers on issues like this.  Creativity is definitely lacking, which in turn, leads to a heavier emphasis on continued demolition and surface parking lot expansion.  As more and more people from outside of this area relocate to this city, things will eventually change for the better.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Dog Walker

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3937
Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #92 on: November 18, 2009, 09:00:15 AM »
Come on, Stephen!  Saying that someone is "too dense to understand" is coming close to the name calling that none of us like here.  Them's not fighting words, pardner, but maybe squabbling words. :D
When all else fails hug the dog.

jason_contentdg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 502
Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #93 on: November 18, 2009, 09:55:49 AM »
Quote
I am an Architectural Engineer for the city of Jacksonville, FL

Well that certainly explains why so many old buildings get torn down in Jacksonville.

Its been my experience in the industry that Jax is roughly around a decade behind its peers on issues like this.  Creativity is definitely lacking, which in turn, leads to a heavier emphasis on continued demolition and surface parking lot expansion.  As more and more people from outside of this area relocate to this city, things will eventually change for the better.

Well, that was a very polite and well said response. 

I am certainly a little frustrated that an architectural engineer for the City of Jacksonville does not think any condemned building should be saved and should only be demolished.  Its obviously this mode of thinking that has given us so many beautiful empty lots and parking lots in our downtown core.  I wish we could hit rewind where we thought Gentry's main claim to being in the know was his 13 years of downtown living, now I'm depressed.

Although, this sounds like it may be shaping up to be a pretty good potential article for you "bloggers."
« Last Edit: November 18, 2009, 09:58:04 AM by jason_contentdg »

Ocklawaha

  • Phd. Ferroequinology
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10442
  • Monster of Mobility! Ocklawaha is Robert Mann
    • LIGHT RAIL JACKSONVILLE
Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #94 on: November 18, 2009, 11:14:19 AM »
Come on, Stephen!  Saying that someone is "too dense to understand" is coming close to the name calling that none of us like here.  Them's not fighting words, pardner, but maybe squabbling words. :D

I don't know about that Dog Walker, after all, isn't all talk of Jacksonville, another lesson in DENSITY?

Hee Hee!


OCKLAWAHA

Dog Walker

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3937
Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #95 on: November 18, 2009, 02:13:49 PM »
Missed the first use of the pejorative by someone else, Stephen.  Apologies.

GENTRY, it's OK to say that someone is wrong or misinformed.  To say that they are dense is getting borderline insulting and doesn't advance the argument.  Also, Stephen will always needle back so it's a zero sum game.

Back on thread:

In general, on what basis can a building be said to be beyond rehabilitation?  My first though would be that it is when it would cost more to rehabilitate the building and "retrofit" it for a new purpose than it would be to tear it down and build a new building of equal quality.  Second would be when the location is much more valuable than a rehabilitated building would be worth.  An  old house on a half acre in Manhattan would be such a thing as an extreme example.

What other criteria are used by an architect/planner for the city to evaluate a building?  I am sure that significant architectural detail and general attractiveness comes into play somewhere.  The old Barnett Bank building is certainly more appealing to the eye than the Federal Reserve Building for example.  Is there some sort of point system that has been developed?
When all else fails hug the dog.

Ocklawaha

  • Phd. Ferroequinology
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10442
  • Monster of Mobility! Ocklawaha is Robert Mann
    • LIGHT RAIL JACKSONVILLE
Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #96 on: November 18, 2009, 07:59:57 PM »
I know what it was referring to, dork.  :D  For the record I dont. strawberry blondes never go grey.  its a blessing of our fine scottish genome.

Guess that depends on what side of Scotland ones family is from Stephen. Being related both to Wallace and my Grandmother BRUCE, would suggest I might be a Scot too. Having to use my mothers maiden name as my last name in Colombia, Robert Scott, I guess would also suggest a bit of highlander blood. Trouble is, even with my fat round Scottish face, I'm as GREY as it gets!

OCKLAWAHA
Got to admit, ST. ANDREWS CROSS seems ingrained, either in Blue sans stars or RED with stars.

Paradox

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 13
    • My Pix
Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #97 on: November 19, 2009, 08:33:42 AM »
I doubt the city of jax has even had architects or engineers inside this hotel considering it is privately owned and all the doors are padlocked and or welded shut.

I still think the structure is sound on this hotel from walking every floor and every room inside it multiple times. The cost of demolition and then building an equivalent structure would far outweigh the cost of rehabbing this one and would not look near as nice. Any contractor, architect, and engineer team worth their salt would have foreseen the majority of work needed which is a complete interior stripping and added that into the costs. Also the unforeseen additions usually come from partial restorations. There is not much that can be unforeseen when you expect to redo the entire interior. As long as the foundations or supports or walls are not damaged only minor costs like a rain delay or the price of a product going up or something like that would drive costs up and that would be minor.

Also sportmotor stop being such a furry

I would say from talking to stephendare irl long ago aging is like a fine wine for him so far :P

urbaknight

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 830
Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #98 on: December 04, 2009, 01:44:37 AM »
I can imagine that staircase being restored to its former glory. I hope they can get this done.
  This staircase design is typical in major cities, such as Philadelphia and New York. They're a bitch when you're bringing furniture up. But, in this particular place, I saw an elevator shaft. So, hopefully, people can move their stuff in with a minim of problems.

braeburn

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 218
    • Sinful Gadgets
Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #99 on: December 04, 2009, 03:27:08 AM »
I fail to see where this "area" has any crime. I've lived one block away from the Ambassador hotel since May of 2007, and the ONLY incident I ever heard of or encountered was a guy taking a hooker inside of the building, when it was easy to get inside until they put the plexiglass walls over the windows that are level with the ground/sidewalk. The police arrived within 2 minutes, immediately apprehended them and hauled them away. The residents in this section of the city don't tolerate this type of behavior.

The Fire & Safety building is practically right across the street. The KBJ Architect Firms' mansion is right there and very well secured. The Metropolitan Lofts (easily renting for $1200-2000/mo, and being completely full) are a block down the street, in full view of the Ambassador. City Place (where I live) is one block's distance from this place, and FBC is RIGHT around the corner. Additionally, the ugly "Ultima"esque AT&T tower is right there, with security guards. We have security. FBC has security. The Metropolitan has a 24 hr concierge (read:guard). There are high end cars parked in all of the surrounding parking lots all through the night - no problems. This section is as lit as a Christmas tree. The only exception would be the old JEA building, but you'd sooner get killed by an old window or piece of debris falling on you than any kind of "crime" around here.

You'd have to be one dumb criminal to do any hanky-panky in this section of town. And with the new courthouse being right around the next corner, this renovation project also happens to make perfect sense. A HUGE chunk of the W/NW quadrant has been fenced off due to the construction, so there really is no room for crime here. I walk through here 3-4 nights a week, late at night, and it's very quiet.

Timkin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3635
Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #100 on: July 07, 2010, 12:55:46 AM »
While the building looks pretty ransacked inside, and im not sure about the 8 million dollar figure, id say its probably structurally sound enough to be spared,,, and when its only one of two of the older Hotels left in the downtown area, I of course would favor saving it.   I do not see how 9 million would even be close. Supposedly the price tag to renovate Annie Lytle in January 2006  "approached" 8 to 9 million dollars.. That would be a 2 story School House being made into 33 units. I thought that was pretty steep for a project like this.. and obviously I do not claim to be any expert on renovation costs, but I tend to think the 20-25 Million dollar area is something more realistic to a building of this size.  It has some really sweet features I would hope would be preserved.  AND only having been out of use since the late 90s , probably has had better maintenance... but still , its pretty clear that a total renovation would be necessary..so I kind of doubt 8 million would cover the costs on a building of this size.  The Cleanout alone would be staggering cost-wise. Something I do find amazing is that most of the windows and doors seem to be still intact and not ripped out and busted out, even though they would probably have to undergo , as with the rest of the building, a re-do.

 I wish I could have gone on that tour. :)
« Last Edit: July 07, 2010, 12:57:51 AM by Timkin »

billy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 956
Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #101 on: July 07, 2010, 08:20:02 AM »
There's an almost identical building, same architect, in Atlanta.

Timkin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3635
Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #102 on: July 31, 2010, 01:11:27 AM »


 What is the Status of this building??  Is it on a demolition track or is there ANY possibility of saving it... Getting HPC / City Council on board to possibly give it some time.?

billy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 956
Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #103 on: July 31, 2010, 03:09:11 AM »
Someone bought it, is my understanding.

uptowngirl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2299
Re: Ruins of Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel
« Reply #104 on: July 31, 2010, 07:46:39 AM »
In general, on what basis can a building be said to be beyond rehabilitation? 
What other criteria are used by an architect/planner for the city to evaluate a building?

I would put forth a common practice in some of the more history loving cities, where in one standing wall is still viable. Take as an example the walmart built in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans. The building on the site was in critical condition, but one solid brick wall was still standing and Walmart was made to (and from my understanding not upset about) incorporating that wall into their design. The original brick wall was stabilized, and acts as a facade to the parking lot for the Walmart, in fact you could not even really see the Walmart until you turned into the drive.

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.
 The city of New Orleans also demanded funding from a developer wanting to build new apartments to save a historic structure across the street from the planned apartments, they then secured three standing walls of the original Lower Garden District firehouse.They strapped and shored those walls up and sure enough a developer came along and used those three walls to creat a fantastic little mall with a coffee shop, cafe, and lofts.

So if  a building cannot be totally saved and reused, I still feel strongly pieces can. Save the facade, a wall, three walls, incorporate the doors or windows, something. AND Jacksonville needs to force builders, retail to build according to the surroundings in Historic Districts. I never thought a Walmart in the Garden District would work, but by God it does, all because of one standing wall of the original building that was saved.