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A fascinating read on the utter failure of downtown Jacksonville’s “if you demolish it, they will come” strategy:

https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/why-preservation-not-demolition-has-worked-downtown/

From  The Jaxson

While we’ve often gone ‘round and ‘round on the wisdom of tearing down beloved structures like the Jaymont Block in favor of huge but often sterile new projects, Orlando has been pretty good at having SOMETHING to fill up blocks when old structures are felled.

There are exceptions, of course: the duPont Centre II Space sat empty for 25 years before we got a mediocreapartment complex and many of the blocks along I4 have sat empty for so long even old-timers have a hard time remembering when they were productive.

Famously, the Frederick administration used zoning to save neighborhoods like Eola Heights from such a fate (developers and land owners with $$$ in their eyes insisted an empty lot would make it easier to promote just as they have in downtown Jacksonville).

It’s also interesting to note how many of the modern condo towers downtown were abject failures initially (dare we say most?) that caused heartaches for lenders, developers and homeowners alike.

All in all, it probably reinforces the case for organic growth but, as in all things, there are certainly plenty of exceptions.

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On ‎4‎/‎5‎/‎2019 at 4:20 PM, spenser1058 said:

A fascinating read on the utter failure of downtown Jacksonville’s “if you demolish it, they will come” strategy:

Jaxson and Modern Cities post some really good stuff. I don't know anyone in the other Florida metros that do their level of work.

The article you posted had some really nice success stories on the 3rd page. But from the 2nd page this quote re: walkability really shocked me... "According to a 2006 survey by Downtown Vision, 37% of Downtown visitors will only walk one or two blocks, 37% will walk three or four blocks, and only 25% will walk more than four blocks."

Now, granted, they were talking about downtown Jax in the mid 2000's- not a pretty sight- but those walking distances seem really short. I wonder how our downtowners feel about covering more area. Would people walk from CV to Orange  or Church St given that in its current state they would be passing a lot of vacant lots and abandoned buildings? Will the completion of I4 and the space underneath make this walk more likely? 

BTW, as a follow up to the article you posted, and since they have decided to level the Landing, here are a few ideas for the land use.

https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/10-potential-uses-for-the-jacksonville-landing/

 

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James Rouse, who gave us the first enclosed mall east of the Mississippi, one of the first “new” towns, Columbia, MD and who pioneered some of the more successful festival marketplaces like Boston’s Faneuil Hall, and futurist Ray Bradbury both noted Walt Disney as one of the true visionaries of wallable spaces.

Walt believed in a series of “wienies” to attract pedestrians along their way. At Disneyland, that might take the form of Sleeping Beauty Castle, the Mark Twain riverboat or the TWA rocket ship.

One of the problems in downtowns is that from the street level it’s often difficult to see far enough ahead to be attracted to walk further.

That problem is compounded by tall buildings constructed more from a distant roadway than at ground level.

In Orlando, opening up wider vistas along Washington Street so visitors could see Lake Eola or the sculptures and light display at OPL could really help encourage walk ability.

Making some of our more interesting downtown buildings easily accessible from ground level (and making walkers aware they are welcome inside) would pull them further (some of the downtown churches are beautiful inside, but unless you’re part of the congregation, how likely are you to see the interior of St. George’s or FUMCO?)

A short boat ride across Lake Eola from Rosalind to Thornton Park would lead folks several blocks.

Heading in the other direction, Under-I will hopefully help draw folks that way. Also, more street artists and musicians could make walking downtown more interesting.

The big challenge downtown is that for 70 years we’ve thought about it more from the point of view of drivers than as pedestrians.

 

Edited by spenser1058

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The Washington Post looks at what may be coming to Northern Virginia with the arrival of Amazon by asking the folks in Seattle what they think of the behemoth’s presence there.

Apparently, as in any place where a major employer has such an impact, it’s not always an unalloyed blessing.

Something to keep in mind when Orlando folks grumble about the Mouse.

(Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, also owns the Washington Post.)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/amazon-in-seattle-economic-godsend-or-self-centered-behemoth/2019/04/08/7d29999a-4ce3-11e9-93d0-64dbcf38ba41_story.html

Edited by spenser1058

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A British student dorm developer is entering the US market with a proposed development in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston.  With the possibility of 10k students downtown in the years to come, I think this would work well at UCF Downtown:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2018/11/01/here-what-british-dorm-builder-planning-for-boston/oEEKOgKdM8Emg1jufBpvYN/story.html

On the downside, this development is replacing one of the last gay clubs in Boston (a city that had over a dozen about a decade ago).

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The Cross-Bay Ferry between downtown Tampa and St. Pete, which has been seasonal and intermittent over the years, is set to become permanent. 

If Tampa Bay’s cities, which have historically squabbled over transit and regularly fired shots across the waterway at each other, can make a commitment like this, surely we can get together on Lynx.

https://www.tampabay.com/transportation/after-a-two-season-tryout-the-cross-bay-ferry-is-set-to-become-a-permanent-20190415/?template=amp

From the St Pete Times 

Edited by spenser1058

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What’s in a name? It seems developers in Tampa, not unlike Orlando, have no problem taking  carte blanche in renaming neighborhoods.

This time, it’s Dale Mabry around I-275. 

Go a little further north past the stadium and you hit Carrollwood. 

Go south and you have Palma Ceia and, further on, MacDill.

The developers have now decided the area around the interstate is “Midtown Tampa”, a name with precious little history. Fascinating..

https://www.tampabay.com/business/midtown-tampa-unveils-dual-branded-element-and-aloft-hotel-20190417/?template=amp

From the St Pete Times 

 

20 PETE 20

Edited by spenser1058

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St. Pete has a couple of pretty cool projects I wanted to highlight. Two of them is an addition to their Dalí museum that looks very promising and a new museum centered around arts and craft:

4CDE2356-4A30-4F98-BD06-7E5E54D025C9.png

29C6014A-38E4-46F8-A49B-34645EBAFED4.png

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https://stpeterising.com/home/2019/4/18/heres-what-the-dal-museums-39m-expansion-will-look-like

Another project that I hadn’t heard of but that looks very cool and will dramatically alter St. Pete’s already bustling downtown and skyline is 400 Central Ave:

32C0DD87-FAE6-483E-BC8E-1C1FC40DCD75.png

https://stpeterising.com/400-central-ave

Finally, St. Pete has already seen a new addition to their skyline in the past year with St. Petersburg ONE but St. Petersburg TWO, a 35-story 400 ft condo is starting construction soon.

91BFE665-7B5B-4F0A-8B4B-5B8953E71FAB.png

https://stpeterising.com/home/2019/3/11/new-details-emerge-about-kolters-second-downtown-st-pete-tower

Add all the ingredients in and out pops a bitter Envy Pie that Orlando is getting served, left behind by the once-sleepy St. Pete that will soon have several 400-footers and even a 550-footer if things work out.

LeSigh.

Edited by Uncommon
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What to do with all the folks moving to Tampa Bay (since we’re growing even faster, we can relate):

https://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/joe-henderson-people-keep-moving-to-tampa-what-kind-of-place-are-they-going-to-find-20190425/?template=amp

Also an update on the saga of a Hillsborough County Commissioner who is trying to torpedo a voter-passed referendum which would try to increase traffic options and dial back sprawl plus do some infrastructure work on local roads.

I won’t tell you what party he’s in but I bet you can guess(here’s a hint - it’s the same party that killed light rail in Orange County and the same one that is busy in Tallahassee right now trying to severely limit your right to amend Florida’s constitution).

From the St Pete Times 

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What to do with a 1938 deco service station in a historic neighborhood? Turn it into a brewery-restaurant, of course! (I’d rather have it as a really cool retro Shell station, but I’m odd that way...)

Ennis Davis gives us a tour of the building in Springfield, a neighborhood on the upswing just north of downtown Jacksonville:

https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/inside-springfields-proposed-strings-sports-brewery/

From The Jaxson

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The Jaxson takes a look at the renaissance of Nashville’s Lower Broad:

https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/getting-it-right-downtown-nashvilles-lower-broadway/

It’s interesting to note its turnaround was done organically, leading its return to be generally more successful after the opening of the Bridgestone Arena than what we’ve seen so far surrounding our own Am.

It’s also worth noting the success of our own Church Street Station in the ‘70’s and ‘80’’s came with a local entrepreneur restoring one bar at a time.

Its demise was almost ensured when the district was taken over by a big company from out of town and supplanted by locals on Orange Ave. and in Thornton Park.

Nevertheless, we’re convinced a big corporate development by the DeVos family will work this time around. Hmmmm...

Edited by spenser1058
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St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman expects to know this summer if the Rays plan to stay in the city or move in 2027.

He also notes he sees no path for Hillsborough to be given another shot at a stadium across the Bay.

It seems like this has been discussed forever so it will be amazing if we finally know by the time football season rolls around.

https://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2019/05/01/kriseman-talks-tampas-mayoral-election-rays-storefronts-and-ramadan/#talk-wrapper

From the St Pete Times 

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Charleston and what can happen once a Downtown is incredibly successful:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/07/dining/charleston-restaurants.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share

From the NY Times

It’s also an interesting take on what becomes of a downtown where the tourists take over. It’s one reason I’m so pleased our tourism district is separate and apart.

Think about it: Charleston is much older than Orlando and a city that has long had a definite sense of itself feels that is being diluted. Where does that leave an arriviste like us?

 

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Dollywood in beautiful Pigeon Forge is about to open its biggest expansion ever.

Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment are going to keep the “theme” in the theme park, something Busch Gardens has all but obliterated of late just like the Six Flags parks. Sea World, Busch’s owner, has of course never really had a theme other than the fish.

Herschend and Dolly would be a great asset if SW/BG does in fact put itself up for sale as rumored.

https://www.wbir.com/amp/article?section=news&headline=dolly-partons-in-east-tn-to-open-wildwood-grove-dollywoods-largest-expansion-ever&contentId=51-9ff87388-2f2b-41f4-83f7-2c835aab20a2

From WBIR

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Spenser, check out this old photo of Florida Avenue in DT Tampa from 1940. . . Amazing what could have been had they not focused on the Interstate and Expressway. Much like I-4 did here, I-4, I-275 and the Crosstown Expressway/Connector destroyed the potential for downtown Tampa and ripped right through the heart of historic/ethnic communities such as Ybor City. I would argue the damage was even worse for Tampa. Had they not built the highways right through the heart of the town, the would not have had the sprawl following out of Tampa along the roadways to areas like Tampa Heights, New Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, etc. The population could have stayed concentrated in the core, with streetcars and other mass transportation serving them, historic areas and buildings could have been preserved and built around instead of razed, and they would have a more vibrant and connected downtown. They are trying to do a lot right now to fix the problems after the fact, finally, but I just wonder how it would be if they never screwed it up in the first place. 

D6JCZBbXsAATUye.jpg

Edited by dcluley98
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