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bobliocatt

Has fate of the old library already been decided?

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By RYAN GEDDES

The Times-Union

When the Haydon Burns Library went up for sale March 2, the city solicited nearly 200 real estate-related companies and individuals nationwide, inviting them to bid on the 40-year-old downtown building in an effort to garner the highest possible price.

But internal City Hall documents suggest the mayor and his staff spoke favorably about a proposal by a local company after the bid went out, raising questions about the objectivity of the competitive bid process.

An outline of Mayor John Peyton's talking points generated by his staff for the meeting singles out San Marco-based Peterbrooke Chocolatier as a possible bid winner.

Under a heading labeled "Haydon Burns Library," two bullet points read, "We might be smelling chocolate downtown" and "Could be Peterbrooke factory!" The former point originally read "W/luck, we'll be smelling chocolate downtown!" but was crossed out by a staffer.

For full article, click here:

http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor..._18619186.shtml

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Students display their proposals at renovating Haydon Burns

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By RYAN GEDDES

The Times-Union

In an empty storefront, its doors open to the downtown heat, images of an already strange-looking urban library are being dissected by ambitious out-of-towners.

The windowed room overlooking Hemming Plaza is stripped to bricks and boards, but the walls are in motion.

Here, the wavy concrete exterior of the Haydon Burns Library gives way to a series of bulbous protrusions. There, its roof gains a series of flanged peaks reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House.

On oversized rectangles of foamboard and posterboard, 18 graduate students in architecture and landscape architecture from Florida A&M University have played with the odd lines, curves, colors and textures of the aging library, creating new uses and profiles for the iconic 1960s structure as part of the Jacksonville Studio Jury.

For full article, click here:

http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor..._18619372.shtml

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Put a Peterbrooke in the Landing. Put a new tower at Burns.

Why are they even considering putting a Peterbrooke on such prime property? It's nonsense.

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Put a Peterbrooke in the Landing.  Put a new tower at Burns.

Why are they even considering putting a Peterbrooke on such prime property?  It's nonsense.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Did you read the RFP? Consideration is going to the highest bidder. The city just wants to make as much money as they can - sell it, remodel it, implode it, it doesn't matter to them.

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Did you read the RFP?  Consideration is going to the highest bidder.  The city just wants to make as much money as they can - sell it, remodel it, implode it, it doesn't matter to them.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Did you not read the favoritism and lack of objectivity?

"W/luck, we'll be smelling chocolate downtown!"

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Did you not read the favoritism and lack of objectivity? 

"W/luck, we'll be smelling chocolate downtown!"

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

No, I don't read any favoritism, per se. At the time of that memo Peterbrooke was probably the only serious proposal on the site. At best, they might have also known about TUC's proposal, but that's it.

Sounds to me like they were just brainstorming the best public relations factoids, rather than crowning a winner before the race even started. They were working with all they had at the moment.

Now if the city somehow actually chooses Peterbrooke over another project with superior financial viability ... yeah, then I'd say there's favoritism.

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Did you not read the favoritism and lack of objectivity? 

"W/luck, we'll be smelling chocolate downtown!"

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

yes i read it, I don;t really think that is a good site for one business to occupy. I know of several of the other proposals and think that there are far more useful programs being thought of rather than a wonka'esque chocolate factory... Augustus... Augustus... don't drink from the chocolate river... Fizzy lifting drinks... what??

Brainstorming or not, the city needs to make sure it abides by the rules and grading criteria set forth in the RFP or else I see another political controversy in the works. Also, at the time of the Peterbrook talk... the city knew they were going to be releasing another RFP for the library.

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well, it seems that the gov does have some favs>>> and i think that is only natural: but i agree that it is after the most money and most profit on this one, and after this article if Peterbrooke does get it, there won't be an ambulanced chased in Jacksonville, because all the lawyers will be filing for the other RFP'ers. in all honesty, any business that wants the building and is not looking to tear it down is kool with me, i just wish it was something that one would visit more than some disneyland-esque chocolate factory>>>>

now where are they going to find the umpaloompas in J-ville???

Umpa-umpa-umpadium.....

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unfortunately if Peterbrooke gets the library, it isn't really tall enough for a wonkavator - up, down, sideways, crossways, diagonalways....

It would be a site to be seen though... all of the chubby kids turning blue, shrinking to the size of a Peterbrooke bar of chocolate... all the wonders of candy making for the world to see.

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a wonka-vator??? can you imagine what the "golden ticket" will cost!!

in all serious-ness.>> i remember that when the Landing opened there was this place there that made fudge>> and that it was sort of a show, the guy would be flinging the stuff around, making all sorts of noise and screams. where is that now, long gone!! that's my fear???

now in that list there was a RFP for the snyder memorial??? with the words.."Love to have restaurant there." anybody have any info?? always thought a great place for a nightclub (and a way to stick it to First B?) CC

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Snyder would be a really cool space to have a restaurant/club! It has a vaulted ceiling, right? All I know is that the building needs some work.

And I hope whatever happens to the library, it looks good. I don't really have a preferance for a tenant, as long as it adds alot to the downtown atmosphere, especially for that location.

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My preference for the library is demolishing it and replacing it with a 20-30 story apartment building (not condos). Taylor Hardwick (architect of the library) didnt show any preservationist tendencies towards the beautiful building (the old City Hall) which was raised to create his monstrosity and I dont see why we should show any respect for his building.

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My preference for the library is demolishing it and replacing it with a 20-30 story apartment building (not condos).  Taylor Hardwick (architect of the library) didnt show any preservationist tendencies towards the beautiful building (the old City Hall) which was raised to create his monstrosity and I dont see why we should show any respect for his building.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Although I don't like Harwick's stuff, I certainly don't mind if the city or a developer chooses to preserve it.

However, like RiversideGator says, Taylor Hardwick actively participated in the demolition of some great historic buildings. He obviously felt that distinctive and/or historic architecture should be demolished in the name of progress (or at least his type of progress). Part of me would love to see all his buildings demolished in his lifetime, just out of spite!! Same goes for the guy who designed the FOP building ... Morgan, I think.

It warms my heart to know that their "masterpieces" have stood the test of time so poorly - and have been altered or demolished with such abandon. Of course, that's exactly how they felt about traditional design, so there's loads of irony and karma abounding on both sides.

Though, if the building were to be demolished, it really should be replaced with a building of significantly higher use (and I mean that in a planning sense, regardless of design). It would be a tragedy to destroy Hardwick's building just to replace it with a parking garage, or a building with lower square-footage or improper urban massing.

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I agree...

We need more people living downtown. Further more, the old library is in too good a location to be simply used as a small office building and/or peterbrook factory. Put the peterbrook factory in the expanded portions of the Landing, tear down the old library, and build a building that is basicly a modern version of the 11 e forsyth building. (sorry, love the old style buildings far more than the glass monoliths, though they have their appeal too)

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I seem to recall that Vestcor had a proposal to buy the library, tear it down, and build an apartment tower there a couple of years ago. I wonder if they are still interested. This is yet another reason not to piss Vestcor off with nitpicky crap about their garage on Adams St. We clearly need to have the highest and best use in this critical part of downtown, so no chocolate here.

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I seem to recall that Vestcor had a proposal to buy the library, tear it down, and build an apartment tower there a couple of years ago.  I wonder if they are still interested.  This is yet another reason not to piss Vestcor off with nitpicky crap about their garage on Adams St.  We clearly need to have the highest and best use in this critical part of downtown, so no chocolate here.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Vestcor responded to the first RFP with a 15 story residential tower. But that one small redering seemed preliminary, at best. The city ended up denying their proposal, partially because it called for the library's demolition. Insteresting note though. Vestcor only proposed to demolish the library because they had no earthly idea the city would have been interested in preserving it.

I have no idea if this will translate into a different design from Vestcor, if they even choose to respond to this 2nd RFP.

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This is yet another reason not to piss Vestcor off with nitpicky crap about their garage on Adams St.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The nitpicky crap you're referring to is the downtown overlay legislation. When are we going to enforce these laws that require so much time and energy to develop?? I hardly think it's nitpicky to require Vestcor (who has received hundreds of thousands of public dollars) to adhere to an ordinance that was created to make downtown a more pedestrian friendly neighborhood. You tell me, as a pedestrian, would you prefer to walk past yet another parking deck, or a nice retail boutique? The stroll next to the Water Street Garage or the Elks Building? I don't think it's too much to ask Vestcor to adhere to the legislation...they should have designed it that way in the beginning.

stepping down from soapbox now...

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hey, while we're at it, could we get rid of the laura street trio, because in all honesty, they are nothing more than a hulky mess and haven't lasted very well, hell even one is missing windows.

dear cpt. obvious>>> exactly what was so great about the traditional designs? alright get rid of Hardwicks designs and Morgans designs, because they didn't respect the "so called" traditions of the existing buildings??? um, isn't the pot calling the kettle black?? are you not destroying those buildings to put something with no tradition and more than likely the same construction mess in their place. if you love history so much, why are you willing to get rid of it so quickly? ok, get rid of friendship fountain (harwick design), get rid of MOSH ( a morgan design)>>>

dear riverside gator>>> yeah, we should be nitpicky about Vestcor's crappy and god-awful garage design. are we just to bow down to some developer because they are willing to push more crap in downtown...believe me, i'd rather have the library than a block full of vestcor garages>>> and what has Vestcor done to the rest of the city, put up endless quantities of the same crappy apartment building as far as the eye can see.

yeah, let's save our historical buildings, but not because they are old!! the Haydon Burns is a building that this generation remembers, a place where one first went to read, to feed the imagination, and many of us can look at the building and remember the wonders of childhood. let's keep it for that reason, because it is a part of Jax history>> anyways, i just hope that the people of J-ville realize that it is more than an old modern building, but represents a time in Jacksonville, just like the St. James, the Snyder memorial, the Laura Street trio>>>

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^ I think the problem is that Vestcor submitted their plans to the DRC over a year ago, and were unanimously approved. If the city is going to enforce the zoning code, which I think they should, they need to do it during the approval phase. Not at the end of construction when it will cost exponentially more for the developer to fix. That's the kind of mindless bureaucrasy that will give the city a reputation of being hostile to development, and unfair to work with.

I'd prefer the garage to have retail too ... but this is sure the wrong way to make it happen.

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Originally, I wanted to see this old library blown to peices. However, now I'm pretty neutral. My main concern and wish is to see something go in that will be compatible and help take downtown to the next level by including either a food market, pharmacy, or movie theater, regardless of whether it renovates the old building, incorporates peices of its facade or is completely built brand new.

Anyway, with that said, the last thing I want to see go on that site is another single user, with one main entrance, leaving large sections of two main streets, dead as a doornail. At this stage, I'm all about street vibrancy.

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