Author Topic: Is Demolition Imminent? Act Now!  (Read 3047 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Is Demolition Imminent? Act Now!
« on: July 16, 2007, 12:00:00 AM »
Is Demolition Imminent? Act Now!



The rumblings within the local online community have been growing louder and should have every Jacksonville preservationist trembling with fear. Two key historical landmarks may soon face the wrecking ball.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/501

thelakelander

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Re: Is Demolition Imminent? Act Now!
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2007, 07:34:51 AM »
It also appears that the Mayor's Office and some on the council are looking for ways to eliminate the Historic Preservation Commission, thus making the path easier for future demolitions.  This will be a good opportunity to find out in more detail, if you can attend this meeting tomorrow.

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The Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission

Has scheduled a special meeting to review Demolition Standards Per Chapter 307
Tuesday July 17, 2007
3:00P.M.

Renaissance Room, 1st Floor City Hall 117 W. Duval Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202
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hightowerlover

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Re: Is Demolition Imminent? Act Now!
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2007, 11:24:29 AM »
that school is trashed but at least it has some interesting architectural details...the firehouse on the other hand is pretty bland and not really worth saving if you ask me.

thelakelander

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Re: Is Demolition Imminent? Act Now!
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2007, 11:51:47 AM »
Preservation is much more complex than what a structure looks like architecturally.  This post by Bruin Brain in the Endangered buildings series, is lengthy, but insightful.

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I'd like to clear up some basic misconceptions about a building's historical significance or value as best I can. I'm very wordy, and I'm going to be unapologetic about it today! To summarize the following mindnumbing sludge: a building doesn't have to be unique or special to warrant preservation.



1) If you look at the national register, state registers, and local registers of historic sites, each have similar criteria for evaluation of importance that are more complex than simply "architectural" or "historical."

Jacksonville's Local Historic Designation Process

National Register Criteria for Evaluation


And though preservation isn't just putting a site on a list, similar considerations should be used for evaluating the significance of any historic structure or site before action is to alter the site, be that nat'l/state/local register nomination, demolition, preservation/restoration/rehabilitation/reconstruction, and my biggest pet peeve: neglect! Economics should NOT be the only determining factor in every case. And by default, in our capitalist society, significance surely never is the only determining factor.



2) A building's significance is about connections and context, not merely popularity, general public knowledge/opinion/values at a given time (such as the present). Whether the general local public at a given time knows anything about a certain building or site is really separate from its connections to historical figures, events, trends, cultures, the contextual landscape, and the language of architecture, as well as its popularity and prominence in light of differing public values in the past and/or future.




For a broader, more philosophical view, the following are excerpts from a presentation by Marc Laenen, director of the Provincial Center of Cultural Heritage in Limburg, Belgium, in March, 2007 at the second conference of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) International Scientific Committee on Theory and Philosophy of Conservation and Restoration, good grief this is a long name! in Florence, Italy. Keep in mind parts of this suffer from poor translation or transcription. Also keep in mind that while we say "historic" and "preservation," Europeans tend to use the words "heritage" and "conservation" with the same basic meanings. Go here to read the full article: http://www.fondazione-delbianco.org/seminari/progetti_prof/progview.asp?id=258

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Author : Mr Marc Laenen

‘Considerations about criteria for heritage values continuity’

Most of the charters, recommendations and publications consider heritage values as the core for the understanding of the ‘significance of the place’ and as the basis for conservation concepts and practice. It is commonly accepted that conservation in living heritage areas is to be understood as the management of creative change of values within a process of continuity.

In several publications heritage values are identified and clustered into substantive qualities (historic, aesthetic, environmental, social, associative …. values) and use-values (monetary, functional … values). They are categories, results from human thought, defined within cultural contexts in time and space attributed to heritage resources and adopted or to be adopted by the members of the living communities. They are complex, interwoven with other values, present in the fabric of historic towns villages and landscapes and shape the identity, the specific character of the place that we intend to preserve. Methods to identify and assess heritage values leading to statements of significance and management plans exist. They are not confined to immovable heritage but apply as well for movable and intangible heritage. These values and their appraisal change over time We experienced in the last decades value shifts, expansions, new interpretations, re – valuation and ‘de-valuation’.

Immovable heritage appraisal was based on artistic or historic values in the XIXth century. Only in the seventies of the XXth centuries environmental, social and associative values where included. The notion ‘heritage’ has been expanded in time, thematic areas (vernacular architecture, historic towns and villages, cultural landscape, intangible heritage) and approaches such as integrated conservation..

Analyses of the fabric heritage sites reveals, the reasons why changes where introduced and the substantial social cultural and spatial consequences they caused. This way a lot of heritage was lost

In the province we develop Masterplans for unlocking heritage values for the local population and their visitors. In the fertile region of Haspengouw a first Actionplan has been drafted. Haspengouw is an open field landscape still reflecting the feudal social systems in the structure of landscape , the settlements, the fields, the castles and manor houses with their dependences .They still structure the landscape today. The main objective of the programme is to strengthen and ensure the continuity of the character of this cultural landscape trough the dynamic conservation or development and unlocking of its heritage values for the local population in the first, and to their visitors in the second place within regional development. By unlocking we understand offering a broad heritage experience in several fields of development: economy ( tourism ),cultural development , education, environmental care and planning ….

While dealing with this regional programme we where confronted with the question whether absolute universal objective and therefore ever lasting values exist or heritage valuing is in principle a relative assessment, relative in time and space, relative to other values and interests and is a social attribution of qualities to heritage resources that gives them a value for us today and here and maybe for others tomorrow. We understood that we had to focus and that value judgement had to be based on knowledge, supported by authoritative documentation by multidisciplinary research and that the experience of heritage values needed a strategy for communication. .

Using criteria in value judgment seemed helpful to identify relative importance and the power of heritage resources for unlocking policies but that it was exclusive for less sexy heritage issues. In addition to that the sum of positive points does not offer a comprehensive understanding of the significance of the site, which is much more complex due to interests sensitivities and values of different stake holders.

Therefore a prudent, respectful, sensitive attitude with as little as possible drastic and with reversible interventions on the resources seemed a more appropriate approach. It is based on the consciousness of our shared responsibility as temporary owners or ‘managers’ of heritage and on solidarity with mankind: future generations as well as our predecessors. All input is to be considered within global ethics.

Unfortunately we don’t have qualitative criteria yet to measure heritage conservation impact in sustainable human development which would guide us in our value judgements as our colleagues in environmental care have. This is in my view one of the priorities for research in heritage conservation for the next years.


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...the local population, which is our first target audience, experiences its heritage globally as a something holistic, not segmented into objects, buildings, customs and stories as some administrations in Europe still do. Hence the need for all heritage sectors to forge synergies in development programmes.

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...all heritage, including immaterial heritage, is situated somewhere. Cultural landscapes are heritage context and have become heritage themselves, subject to development. In this contextual approach, we meet our partners from environment, culture, economy, education and planning, who are working in the same cultural or heritage landscapes

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Again, the full article is here: http://www.fondazione-delbianco.org/seminari/progetti_prof/progview.asp?id=258




Basically, I think what many people recognize but don't express in so many words is that a building is not simply isolated in time and space and must not be ignored in the context of the heritage of the district or city as a whole, therefor its individual significance can be almost nil and people are nonetheless justified in calling for its preservation. People seem to understand that it's ethically questionable to demolish a whole district or town or city and replace it with something entirely new, even if the context - the heritage of the nation or globe - is barely scathed. This is because a district, town, or city has a heritage, a history, that is worth preserving in and of itself. Yet, when it comes to individual buildings in the context of the city, people are too quick to write off their destruction as no intangible loss at all! However, it is the very loss of numerous individual buildings that amount to the destruction or near destruction of a district, town, or city and thus the heritage of not just the individual buildings, but the context from which they are inseparable.

[/soapbox]  ;D
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thelakelander

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Re: Is Demolition Imminent? Act Now!
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2007, 12:02:12 PM »
This same bland fire station can easily be retrofitted to become Riverside Avenue's hottest dining or cultural spot, while structurally preserving the last element from Riverside Avenue's past.




with creativity, even the most bland structures can become recreated with unique uses.

Jax isn't Tokyo for crying out loud.  Our urban landscape has more holes in it than swiss cheese.  We should be worried about getting the riverwalk repaired and properly lighting streets instead of trying to find loopholes to allow the demolition of the strip's last historic building.
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Steve

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Re: Is Demolition Imminent? Act Now!
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2007, 12:25:05 PM »
We need to get out of the habit of looking at history as one building here and one building there.  People don't go to Charleston or Savannah to see a particular building, they go to see the collection of buildings, some of which Jacksonville Officials would classify as "second tier historic structures".  That is a load of crap.

hightowerlover

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Re: Is Demolition Imminent? Act Now!
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2007, 03:54:21 PM »
umm im not about to read all that copied and pasted crap.

i never even wouldve noticed that building if it werent for this site.  if it's gone tomorrow i probably still wont notice the hole.  its not like you've got this huge cluster of buildings bringing some livelyhood to this corridor...yet.  but if a large scale development ends up consuming the firehouse so be it.  just dont pave it over for another parking lot.

what's the next "historic building" the InCahoots gay bar?

i think we're focusing on saving everything that's left to salvage is just too little too late.  we dont have a huge historic stock of buildings especially on this side of town.  and i dont think anyone comes to jacksonville to see our old firehouse in the middle of the sand pit.

might as well have a clean slate over there so brooklyn can flourish into a modern urban landscape.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 04:00:42 PM by hightowerlover »

vicupstate

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Re: Is Demolition Imminent? Act Now!
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2007, 04:36:06 PM »

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might as well have a clean slate over there so brooklyn can flourish into a modern urban landscape.



Sounds like La Villa all over again.   

No thanks. Having the original is bad enough.

Riverside Avenue USE to be a row of 50 mansions that if it still existed, would be a significant tourist draw.  Of course they weren't all leveled at once.  It was one at at time, bit by bit.  That's the way it always happens.  That is except in cities that VALUE their history like New Orleans, Savannah and Charleston.  The citizenry fights ALL attempts at destroying the historic fabric, not just the most visible/famous/massive ones.

The folks in such places take pride in their city, and don't have the inferiority complex so prevalent in Jax.  I guess if you think your city has things worth saving, worth holding onto, then by extention you feel it must be a special place.   

The best looking cities are those that accomplish a blend of all styles and time periods.   What is to keep Riverside Ave from looking like Southpoint, if all it is is modern glass-sided buildings.   

Why couldn't this fire station be turned into a funky bar/live performance space that got people to walk from the Landing (via the Riverwalk).   Maybe that might get some people on the Riverwalk, that is so deserted at night.     After all, how many millions was spent on it, just to be under-utilized?   

I guess that is more 'vision' than Jax is capable of.
 

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thelakelander

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Re: Is Demolition Imminent? Act Now!
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2007, 04:37:46 PM »
Quote
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
umm im not about to read all that copied and pasted crap.

i never even wouldve noticed that building if it werent for this site.  if it's gone tomorrow i probably still wont notice the hole.  its not like you've got this huge cluster of buildings bringing some livelyhood to this corridor...yet.  but if a large scale development ends up consuming the firehouse so be it.  just dont pave it over for another parking lot.

what's the next "historic building" the InCahoots gay bar?

i think we're focusing on saving everything that's left to salvage is just too little too late.  we dont have a huge historic stock of buildings especially on this side of town.  and i dont think anyone comes to jacksonville to see our old firehouse in the middle of the sand pit.

might as well have a clean slate over there so brooklyn can flourish into a modern urban landscape.


Your reasons for demolition only strengthen the case for preservation.

1. There aren't many historic buildings left in this historic community, thus increasing the importance of the remaining.  Does that mean you can't have new modern development?  No.  It just means new development is designed to be more urban and integrated within the existing landscape instead of suburban and horizontal, like the "new" Fidelity office building and garage.

2. There is no large scale development proposed.  If there is, then lets discuss.  Other than that it really doesn't make much sense to demolish such an important structure on the history of this specific community, without making future intentions of the site known.  Let's not forget this is Jax.  Take a look around at the buildings that have been demolished over the past few years and see what has replaced them in downtown.  Other than the Main Library site (which is a reduction in architectural significance of what was there before), the rest of the building sites are dirt lots.  That's a pretty bad track record.
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vicupstate

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Re: Is Demolition Imminent? Act Now!
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2007, 06:21:14 PM »
The Fire station on the corner of Adams and Ocean diagonally across form the London Bridge, is an awesome looking loft (on the market for almost $2mm currently).  The downstairs could easily be made into a restaurant or other commercial/retail space.   Doing so would make a nice complement for the 22 Ocean project as well as the existing Burrito Gallery/London Bridge cluster.     

Is it so hard to imagine the same thing for Station 5 ??
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Ocklawaha

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Let's Tear it ALL down
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2007, 08:07:04 PM »
"Ladies and Gentlemen, This is Your Mayor Speaking..."



"Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Mayor Speaking, We regret any inconvenience the sudden building disappearance might have caused, this is due to periodic historic ignorance we encountered. There's no reason to be alarmed and we hope you enjoy the rest of your life in whatever is left of Jacksonville. By the way, is there anyone on on this place who knows how to run a City?"

I've got it, since we don't give a damn about our own heritage, let's trash MLK, NB Forrest, knock down Jacksonville Terminal, the Main Street bridge is old too, who needs that. Oh and that funky old fountain on the South-bank, let's build a new 7-11 store there! I also have a plan to close all the churches, after all who needs them? They just teach about a God that lived among men a couple thousand years ago and we KNOW we don't care about that either. We could build a new cruise terminal at Fort Caroline, and drag the old May port ferry up on the beach and sell tee-shirts and fried shrimp off it's decks! Hey, I'm on a roll. All those downtown museums just waste space too, let's get rid of all of them, who needs to see the past, heck, if I drive by tomorrow and see a hole in the ground how would I know there was ever a City called Jacksonville, in the first place. Who cares? History is only everything we were, everything our parents became, making us what we are today... Who in their right mind would want to pass THAT to their children, God forbid, they might learn something.

Don't these Bozo's (apologies to the clown) at City Hall THINK? Look at Mobile, Underground Atlanta, Charleston, St. Augustine, Miami's Art Deco district. So what does the "Bold New City of the South," do about it? Back room politics and quiet deals. "Spsssst: I know the old part of the Terminal isn't in the plans for the convention center, but we can't tear it down! We'll just allow the storage of highly flammable chemicals in there and open the door so the homeless can build campfires!" Don't think for a moment some of us don't suspect that IS what happened!
I can just see it now:

Political Aide: "Excuse me Mr. Mayor, there's been a little problem in the Historic Preservation Office . . ."
Peyton : "The Historic Preservation Office . . . what is it?"
Political Aide : "Its the little room in next to your office where the City Historians sit, but that's not important now."

So we again go to the webs, forums and blogs to try and knock some sense into these poor blind mis-leaders, we find ourselves continuously asking the same questions of the same people over and over:

Metro-Jacksonville : "Can you run this City?"
Peyton : "Surely you can't be serious?"
Metro-Jacksonville : "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley!"

So now I learn the fabulous old School and Firehouse are on the road to the wrecking ball. Anyone want to bet with me that some politico is buying a few more quarter-horses for that ranch down in Ocala? You all know the drill, The building has problems, asbestos (I'm sure), lead based paint, bad plumbing, the electric is not up to code, oh the humanity!

"Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines."

Lately the old Times-Union, once considered the North Florida Mullet Wrapper, has been flexing it's muscle and getting under the skin of the dirty games at City Hall. Well Mr. Editor, I'm declaring open season on these bungling fools. Tear it ALL DOWN, rip it up, sell it off, and well all meet in the "gold" room out at Ponte Vedra for cocktails. Business Journal, where are you on this? Television, radio? Why isn't the activist community suggesting other uses for these grand old buildings? Oh, my bad, I forgot, we already have a historic commission and you can bet your sweet bippy that they are doing their job. FYI, that's that kissing sound one hears when walking past the St. James building downtown.

Reporter : "Who's running the City historic sites program?"
Mayor Peyton's Aide : "One of the Mayors preservationists. But, their experienced historians with BA's, MA's, PHD'S and at least one BMF besides, and have worked on many building projects before, so there's no cause for alarm..."
"here take over."
Reporter: "What kind of firehouse is it?"
Mayors Preservation Expert: "Oh its a big pretty white firehouse with red stripes, curtains in the window and wheels on the trucks. It looks like a big Tylenol."

Just imagine if the old 60 minutes show came to town and did a story on this deceit and dirt, they'd have a field day with those of you that think nothing matters.

The other day, I watched a New Yorker in his hot convertible waiting for a bridge (which was raised). He was in front of me eating his BK lunch. Funny, when he got done, he tossed the whole thing into the street! Now I've been warned about dangerous drivers in South Florida, but I come from a long line of Rebel Blood, and it boiled. You see HE might not care, but I taught every one of my children, they didn't just live in Florida, they learned "THIS IS YOUR FLORIDA!" I walked up and dumped his trash right back in the back seat and walked back to my car. He was horrified (I'm no longer a skinny little guy) and he did nothing! I made my point... Jacksonville it's time to make yours! Use the firehouse as a museum, build a Skyway TOD out of the old School, get some imagination flowing... Don't let it end on TV's Point-Counterpoint.

Point: "Jacksonville has demolished so much of it's history, what legacy does this leave for their children?"
Count-point : "They bought their houses in Jacksonville, they knew what they were getting into. I say let em wreck it."

I'll agree, only if our political leadership is inside when it comes down! Besides, if we can create a big enough sand pile where the City once stood, we could host the Worlds largest Volleyball games! Now THAT'S PRO SPORTS!


Ocklawaha
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 09:13:41 PM by Ocklawaha »

Bruin Brain

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Re: Is Demolition Imminent? Act Now!
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2007, 08:30:04 PM »
 I really don't know what to say. I've honestly re-written this post several times, and each version felt more and more meaningless. Jacksonville is such an epic tug-of-war these days. I'm still holding the rope, but I think I'm going to get muddy.

decider

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Re: Is Demolition Imminent? Act Now!
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2007, 03:03:49 PM »
Steve- so true!

Seraphs

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Re: Is Demolition Imminent? Act Now!
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2007, 10:01:24 PM »
The fire station should stay and I agree that future developement should inhance and be intergrated with existing structures in the area.  Once these historic structures are gone it's forever.  I can remember so many wonderful buildings destroyed for no reason.

jbm32206

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Re: Is Demolition Imminent? Act Now!
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2007, 09:12:35 AM »
[quote author=thelakelander
1. There aren't many historic buildings left in this historic community, thus increasing the importance of the remaining.  Does that mean you can't have new modern development?  No.  It just means new development is designed to be more urban and integrated within the existing landscape instead of suburban and horizontal, like the "new" Fidelity office building and garage.

2. There is no large scale development proposed.  If there is, then lets discuss.  Other than that it really doesn't make much sense to demolish such an important structure on the history of this specific community, without making future intentions of the site known.  Let's not forget this is Jax.  Take a look around at the buildings that have been demolished over the past few years and see what has replaced them in downtown.  Other than the Main Library site (which is a reduction in architectural significance of what was there before), the rest of the building sites are dirt lots.  That's a pretty bad track record.[/quote]

I totally agree with you on this issue, in that it's without sound reason to simply demolish historic buildings, as proposed. There's plenty of readily available lots, etc. in which new structures can be built. This city and is clueless when it comes to preserving it's heritage and history. Most major cities utilize and preserve their historic buildings...many remain preserved as tourist sites of interest, where others have maitained the outward integrity of historical value and the inside used by a wide range of uses (places to eat, hotels, businesses, etc.)  There's so much that can be done with the existing historic structures.