Changing the Urban Landscape in 2015

In 2014, the redevelopment in and around downtown finally kicked into an extra gear. Looking forward to 2015, here are five projects and points of discussion that have the potential Mayor Alvin Brown would say... "take Jacksonville to the next level".

Published January 1, 2015 in Urban Issues -

5. The Return of the Tower Crane

Beacon Riverside

Years have past since the urban skyline was littered with multiple tower cranes. With proposed projects such as Beacon Riverside, 200 Riverside, Courtyard by Marriott at the Laura Trio and Baptist Health's Southbank Cancer Center possibly moving forward, the drought may finally end in 2015.

For More Information:

2nd Phase of 220 Riverside Coming Soon

Beacon Riverside Renderings Released

Winegardner & Hammons to Manage Laura Trio Marriott

Baptist Health to build 200,000 square foot Cancer Center

4. Time to $#*! or Get Off the Downtown Redevelopment Pot

They say downtown revitalization is a marathon and not a sprint. While we agree, marathons shouldn't last for 40 years. Traditionally, Jacksonville has blown a lot of hot air when it comes to talking about downtown revitalization. When the time arrives to put our money where our mouth has been, we've been a no show. Now we're in a situation where one of the most transformational projects proposed, in the heart of downtown, in decades could sink or swim depending on Jacksonville's leaders coming through. We'll find out soon enough if it's time for us to get off the pot.

For More Information:

Laura Street Trio in Trouble? Updated status of six key Downtown projects

3. Edgewood Avenue: The Next Hot Walkable District

Image courtesy of

A year ago, we predicted that Hendricks Avenue would be the next walkable district to emerge within the urban core. With the openings of JPMorgan Chase Bank, V Pizza, the redevelopment of Hendricks Plaza and the potential addition of East San Marco, Hendricks is well on its way. Now it's time to select another neighborhood epicenter that's ready for a comeback. With the recent openings of Maple Street Biscuit Company, Bold Bean Coffee Roasters, KNEAD Bakeshop, Community Loaves and other businesses, our eyes are on Murray Hill's Edgewood Avenue for 2015.

For More Information:

New shops, cheaper rents making Murray Hill a destination

Murray Hill: Past, Present and Future

2. BRT Finally Comes to Jacksonville

Metro Jacksonville is going into its 9th year of existence. It's true but crazy to believe that the Jacksonville Transportation Authority's (JTA) promise of bringing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to town predates us by a least a half decade. Not a subway, light rail, Skyway extension or new river crossing. Instead, the entire 21st century for a bus that will travel on roads that have existed for over 100 years. Some say better late than never. 2015 just may be the year that JTA's dreams for a bus that operates with 10 to 15 minute headways become reality.

For More Information:

Groundbreaking for Jax's Bus Rapid Transit

1. Fireworks Coming to City Hall

In 2011, Alvin Brown shocked the world, upsetting Mike Hogan to become the first African-American to win a mayoral election in Jacksonville. Having the backing of major Republican fundraiser Peter Rummell was a major reason Jacksonville ended up electing its first Democrat in 20 years. After not getting their, Rummell and his Republican friends have parted ways with Mayor Brown.

Well guess what, this is an election year and former City Council President Bill Bishop may be the most qualified for the job. However, all the Republican money is flowing into Lenny Curry's pockets instead of Bishop or Mayor Alvin Brown. Nobody knows how this race will end but without a doubt, get your popcorn ready because there will be fireworks.

Editorial by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at

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Metro Jacksonville