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Metro242

The Jacksonville Landing

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I have only been living in Jacksonville for a few months now, and this afternoon I had a chance to get downtown and take advantage of the riverwalk. I parked down at the MOSH, and took the riverwalk past the fountain, over the main street bridge and over to the other side of the river. I've got to say, that's really one hell of a cool, nice walk and the city of Jacksonville really did a good job with that.

When I crossed, I saw the Jacksonville Landing and from the exterior coming over the river, it's a beautiful landmark and a real asset to downtown Jacksonville. I was really excited to get inside of it and check out what it had to offer, but I was pretty shocked when I walked inside. It was borderline depressing to be met with a huge vacant storefront immediately upon entering, and that seemed to be the trend the more I walked around the mall. The food court was alright, but the retail options were like out of a trip to the mall in 1985. It seemed like the entire place is on the verge of shutting down, and I found it to be a little suprising.

Anyway, I just wanted to ask some of you who have been in town for years now if it has always been that way. Was there ever a point where The Landings housed mid-level retail like The Gap, Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works etc? Was there ever a point when The Landings was a viable alternative to Regency or The Avenues? Why exactly can't a nice building with a beautiful view in the heart of downtown attract good retail anymore? Does the sprawl in Jacksonville and lack of parking down there kill foot traffic or the desire to shop there?

Another question I had is that coming from a few years of living in Seattle, one thing I loved was retail downtown. I've noticed a lack of department stores and street level retail in Jacksonville and was wondering why that is, and if the city is moving closer to a more lively shopping environment downtown?

Again, sorry for the million questions. I'm just really interested in urban development and wondering where my home is standing. All help is appreciated.

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Yes, the Landing is very depressing these days. There used to be a B. Dalton bookstore, but that recently closed. I'd say the only decent tenants there are Starbucks, Toy Factory, and Twisted Martini, lol.

Keep in mind, the Landing is about to get a massive overhaul! Perhaps you saw the renderings in the architect's office, which is in the mall part. The center part (where the escalators are) will be opened up to the outdoors, allowing a better connection to the street as well as the courtyard.

I've heard good things coming from Sleiman, and that man has a vision for this joint. I think that if he can do this right, you could see Cheesecake Factory/Barnes and Noble/Bacio/other misc. St. Johns Town Center type retail move into the Landing.

*crosses his fingers and waits for that day*

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When the landing opened in the 80's, it housed a lot a quality retailers, many of which were exclusive to Jacksonville. I believe if anyone in Jacksonville is going to make it work, it is Toney Sleiman

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At one time, the Landing was the home to many popular retailers, including The Gap, Banana Republic, Sharper Image, Victoria's Secret, The Limited, Fat Tuesdays and J.Riggins.

I think it really started to go downhill when the city gave the Daniel Building and its parking garage, to the Adams Mark, back in 2001. However, its still got one ace in its pocket and that's the St. Johns River.

I fully expect it to come back once, Sleiman gets the go ahead to add ample parking and opens up the courtyard to Laura Street.

BTW, I found an old article, from 2003, that said Sleiman plans to build an IMAX theater at the Landing, as well. Does anyone know if this is still on the agenda?

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Wow, I had no idea that there was a Sharper Image at The Landing at one point. I always assumed that the one at the St. John's Town Center was the first to the area. One of the things I have always like about Tampa Bay is the shopping district downtown with the Sharper Image and Williams Sonoma right near the bay, I never knew Jax used to have something similar in the Landing. Considering that it used to have some pretty exclusive retailers like Banana Republic and The Sharper Image, that's even more depressing what has happened to the Landings. Hopefully the renovation will restore some of the old luster, because the area is way too perfect to go to waste.

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I think it really started to go downhill when the city gave the Daniel Building and its parking garage, to the Adams Mark, back in 2001.  However, its still got one ace in its pocket and that's the St. Johns River.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Parking has always been an issue at the Landing especially since the Daniel garage was removed as a parking option. Another reason that the center has struggled is that the previous owner, the Rouse Company did not maintains it's focus on it and let the center get somewhat dated and run-down. From my last visit to Baltimore, they seem to be doing the same thing to their festival marketplace there, Harborplace.

As far as department stores and other major retail, downtown will have to have 10-12,000 residents before that will exist, beyond the Landing. Keep in mind that the Landing is currently only 125,000 sq. ft. One department store can be that big just by itself.

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yeah, i remember the good old days when the landing was the in place, i think it was called the 80's!! and then the slump began... i guess we can blame the parking situation, the Rouse company for losing sight on the maintenance, and even the city for taking it for granted... but i think that we are all looking for some one to blame without looking at the real reason that most places fail>>> NO ONE GOES THERE. i know we don't like hearing that, but sometimes it has to be said. and i will admit it... i prefer the burbs too... but i have been around to many places that have no parking, that have relatively run down environments (South Beach Miami), and yet the retail thrives. we are all excited about the changes downtown, but when compared with what is going on in the rest of the city, its a drop in the bucket. St Johns Town Center is a flurry of construction>>> st augustine rd and I-95 is basically a city??>>> and we all look to Tony Sleiman to solve the problem by slicing it in half??>>> i have an idea, slice it in half, and then keep going>>> start over.

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lakelander, i agree ... the landing is far better suited for food/entertainment than mall-style retail.

but i think the fall of the landing was far more than a parking issue, though parking plays a role. the landing did just fine initially, but then the avenues opened up a couple years later. The result? The landing and the grand boulevard mall (anyone remember that one?) lost most of their business.

beyond that, the rouse co simply gave up, in my opinion. they never worked hard to provide free parking - despite the absurd abundance of nearby parking on nights and weekends. they never really maintained the buildings. they never really advertized. they completely slacked-off in booking entertainment.

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Grand Boulevard Mall?  Is that the little thing on Old Baymeadows Rd, that now houses a FCCJ satellite campus?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

yup. back in the early 80s grand boulevard was the southside's only mall. it was actually really nice, if memory serves me (I was about 5). but the avenues totally killed it.

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I think the Landing should flip itself inside-out. It seems as if retail trends have finally moved outdoors into "lifestyle/city" shopping rather than "mall" shopping. Format the Landing's exterior so that more tenants face Water Street, Hogan Street, and the courtyard/arcades. It's rather depressing to go inside the mysterious, steel-framed depths of the Landing.

Also, that food court bothers me. It just seems very 80's. If you want a light lunch, go to Subway in Hemming Plaza, lol. Use that space for a larger, "destination" tenant.

That's just my takes...

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I think the Landing should flip itself inside-out.  It seems as if retail trends have finally moved outdoors into "lifestyle/city" shopping rather than "mall" shopping.  Format the Landing's exterior so that more tenants face Water Street, Hogan Street, and the courtyard/arcades.  It's rather depressing to go inside the mysterious, steel-framed depths of the Landing.

Also, that food court bothers me.  It just seems very 80's.  If you want a light lunch, go to Subway in Hemming Plaza, lol.  Use that space for a larger, "destination" tenant.

That's just my takes...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree, that whole food court thing in the Landing is a waste of space. It should be removed to make way for more themed dining. Also I like the idea of the stores facing out towards the streets and river. I dread the inside of the Landing...and what this I hear about an IMAX??

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