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Lunican

Downtown shopping/entertainment complex

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With complexes like the St. Johns Town Center and River City Marketplace being built, wouldn't it be nice to see a complex of that scale (much less suburban obviously) be built downtown. I think a shopping/entertainment mixed use complex would be great on all of the empty lots in the LaVilla area. I'm not even talking about huge towers, just a well designed complex. The Skyway would be able to run right through the center of it. It has excellent access to roadways (which really is a requirement around here) so people from the suburbs would be willing to come downtown to spend money. Just a thought that I'm sure could be expanded upon.

Look at all of these dirt and paved lots!

lavilla.jpg

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I had a similar idea for that area, with more of an emphasis on residential units than big retail. Personally, I'd rather see the Landing beefed up, which could house these "Town Center" type stores and eateries.

Whatever the case, there needs to be some kind of development on Bay and Water streets, near the Skyway line. It's retarded to have a transit line running out to grass lots and surface parking.

Perhaps an expanded convention center (PLUS HOTEL!) could stimulate some redevelopment in that area.

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This is no doubt a great idea, in theory, but I think it is too soon for something like this downtown. A project like this would need to wait until A: there are more downtown residents, or B: the suburbanites of Jacksonville change their mind about downtown. Jacksonville just isn't quite ready for something like this. As I said, you do have a great idea. When something like what you suggest could thrive in Jacksonville, I will be the happiest man alive (almost).

I also really like that image you posted. It really shows how much land can be developed in downtown.

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There are still PLENTY of empty lots downtown to develop, not even counting some lots which contain buildings of no historic value and could therefore be demolished. On a similar topic, I do hope that, if Atkins is screwed on the library site, they will develop something similar elsewhere downtown given all the space that is out there.

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I actually don't think it is too soon for a big downtown development. There are a lot of residents in Riverside, Avondale, Springfield, and San Marco that could patronize something like this. At this point a suburban shopping mall would be better than what is there. I suppose land acquisition costs are too high for many big developers to make the kind of money they need to on a project.

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I suppose land acquisition costs are too high for many big developers to make the kind of money they need to on a project.

I think a development of that type would need city incentives which will not come under Peyton, I am afraid.

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I don't think it's too soon to develop this. The type of development in mind would be one that attracts people from all over the city, to unique stores and eateries not found elsewhere.

A perfect example of this would be Cityplace in downtown West Palm Beach. WPB's "downtown" was very sparse and empty, until Cityplace came along. They took like 6 dumpy "LaVilla-esque" blocks and built a rich, mix-use development, complete with residences and offices. There were basically no residents down there at the time, but the place attracted people from all over the county.

Check it out:

www.cityplace.com

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I've been to CityPlace and I think it would be a huge success in Jax. Maybe I will get into real estate development...

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Lunican - could you possibly post that large Jax aerial, but without the red highlighted area? I've been too lazy/unskilled to properly stitch together the google photos like that. :)

I think you idea has tremendous merit, however the realities of Jacksonville politics would prevent anything like that from being buit. A tiny number of land owners (including the city) own all that land, and they want unrealistic sums of money for it. Even if the city had the vision, they probably wouldn't be able to buy up all those parking lots.

And before anyone mentions it, that new Supreme Court ruling expanding eminient domain doesn't apply to Florida. Our state constitution prevents purely economic takings for non-blighted areas. Sadly, I don't think the law regards surface parking lots as blight ... though they should.

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I know, its a shame that there are so many land owners to deal with, all of them I'm sure would try to profiteer. It would be interesting to find out how other cities deal with that problem. A project like CityPlace would be such a boost to downtown. There are so many people in Jacksonville that have lived here for years and have never come downtown, hard to believe but true. They have never had any reason to.

Here is the image without the highlighting.

jax.jpg

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