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vicupstate

Convention Center Location Study released

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Convention Center Study

I was surprised to see the results of this. I would like to know why the Alltel sites ranked so high.

Consider..

Both are isolated from the Bay Street Town center, Landing, Hemming-Laura St corridor, ALL downtown hotels, and the skyway.

The elevated Hart Bridge would detract from the presence and appearance of the facility as well if first choice site were selected. It is not all that close to the riverfront either.

The only positives that I see is that the city already owns the site and there is plenty of parking. Of course, the same thing can be said of the current site.

My choice of those listed would be the Radisson site. I still like my idea of swapping sites between the T-U offices/plant and the current Convention Center.

Nevertheless, I don't see this issue moving forward at all until Peyton is out of office, if then.

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the stadium site is probably ranked so highly because of the location, its basically surrounded by all the sports venues and having a convention center/sports area would be an asset to the city because of convience. as for for the jea site id rather see towers built there. and i doubt the city would build on the fairgrounds location unless it could be moved somewhere else.

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The Alltel sites ranked high because they would be the cheapest to develop. Imo, the Shipyard's, JEA and Radisson sites should be eliminated because they're already planned for private development. That basically leaves the Alltel sites and the existing building as the remaining realistic options. Out of those, I'd rather see money put into the Prime Osborne.

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83901_400.jpg

I refrained from making a thread about this yesterday, because I didn't want to seem too hostile ... but here it goes ...

What a STUPID waste of time!! That study was pointless!!! Supporters of expanding the current convention center must be thrilled, because site #4 is clearly one of the only attractive (or reasonable) options, dispite its middle-of-the-pack ranking. Literally half of these sites are excluded by default!! How did they even get on the list? #1 and #4 are the only decent choices, in my opinion. #2 and #8 are at least realistic, but not as desireable. The other four aren't even remotely reasonable.

Site #1: Owned by the city, but with restrictions. Actually a decent site, if they knocked down the Hart Expressway and extended the Skyway (which they wouldn't). However the city has a long term contract with SMG and probably the Jaguars to manage that site. It would cost $$$ to break it.

Site #2: Owned by the city, but with restrictions. I don't think it's a politically wise choice to replace the fairgrounds with a convention center. The fairs and concert festivals would have nowhere else to go, whereas a convention center can be built (or expanded) in better places.

Site #3: PRIVATE PROPERTY. Next! The city still owned the site when the study was done, but that ship has sailed. But I can't believe these "consultants" wasted time analyzing a site that they knew would be sold off.

Site #4: Owned by the city. The current convention center remains the clear winner, in my mind - unless all the pieces magically fell into place for site #1.

Site #5: PRIVATE PROPERTY. Next!

Site #6: PRIVATE PROPERTY. Next!

Site #7: Part owned by city. Part private property. Plus it's very small, far away, and that area will probably even have a parking shortage in the future. That and SMRR plans to build a 30+ luxury condo on part of that land in 06-07. How exactly do these "consultants" just pretend the land is available?? Next!

Site #8: Owned by the city. But I can see why this site was lowest ranked. Waste of prime taxable real estate. Parking issues. Courthouse fiasco. etc.

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if it was built on the alltel site would a garage be built on another alltel surface lot?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Has the jail been considered to be relocated? That would be a good spot for the convention center IMO. It would be just North of the Shipyards then they could sell the current court house site for more hotel room. Also it is in the path of the trolley and past proposed skyway expansion.

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Also it is in the path of the trolley and past proposed skyway expansion.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Not to nitpick ... but there is no proposed skyway expansion. The skyway was built to allow for a track switch and a line down bay street. But there are no current plans for expansion. No current studys, no proposals, no political support.

I'm just pointing that out so people don't get their hopes up. It's a shame though ... there really should be a skyway connection to the stadium area.

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83901_400.jpg

I refrained from making a thread about this yesterday, because I didn't want to seem too hostile ... but here it goes ...

What a STUPID waste of time!! That study was pointless!!! Supporters of expanding the current convention center must be thrilled, because site #4 is clearly one of the only attractive (or reasonable) options, dispite its middle-of-the-pack ranking. Literally half of these sites are excluded by default!! How did they even get on the list? #1 and #4 are the only decent choices, in my opinion. #2 and #8 are at least realistic, but not as desireable. The other four aren't even remotely reasonable.

Site #1: Owned by the city, but with restrictions. Actually a decent site, if they knocked down the Hart Expressway and extended the Skyway (which they wouldn't). However the city has a long term contract with SMG and probably the Jaguars to manage that site. It would cost $$$ to break it.

Site #2: Owned by the city, but with restrictions. I don't think it's a politically wise choice to replace the fairgrounds with a convention center. The fairs and concert festivals would have nowhere else to go, whereas a convention center can be built (or expanded) in better places.

Site #3: PRIVATE PROPERTY. Next! The city still owned the site when the study was done, but that ship has sailed. But I can't believe these "consultants" wasted time analyzing a site that they knew would be sold off.

Site #4: Owned by the city. The current convention center remains the clear winner, in my mind - unless all the pieces magically fell into place for site #1.

Site #5: PRIVATE PROPERTY. Next!

Site #6: PRIVATE PROPERTY. Next!

Site #7: Part owned by city. Part private property. Plus it's very small, far away, and that area will probably even have a parking shortage in the future. That and SMRR plans to build a 30+ luxury condo on part of that land in 06-07. How  exactly do these "consultants" just pretend the land is available?? Next!

Site #8: Owned by the city. But I can see why this site was lowest ranked. Waste of prime taxable real estate. Parking issues. Courthouse fiasco. etc.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You have some valid points. But when the study was started, the city still owned the JEA site, and was in a position to take back the Shipyards site. So it is not unreasonable to include them. The Radission site is still a parking lot now. Until it isn't, it is still a option as well. The developers might even be glad to incorporate a convention center. They could build a high-rise hotel instead of just a 9-story one. Plus all the restaurnats that they want to bring in would love it as well. Don't get me wrong, it would not be easy to design and pull off the deal, but like I said, the site is still a parking lot for the moment. They could even put the planned condos on top of hotel room floors. Four Seasons in Atlanta did that.

As for the private property ones, the city could always invoke emenient domain. If the cost is going to be 200-350 million, paying 20 million for the BEST site would not be unreasonable.

Has the jail been considered to be relocated?  That would be a good spot for the convention center IMO.  It would be just North of the Shipyards then they could sell the current court house site for more hotel room.  Also it is in the path of the trolley and past proposed skyway expansion.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The Jail actually would be an outstanding location in my opinion. The only problem is jails are very expensive to build. It would take $50-60 million minimum, quite possibly double that. Additionally, the decision of where to relocate (the jail) would be very controversial. Were it a vacant site, it would be perfect.

Given this list of eight, I would pick the existing Prime Osborn site. However, a better site can, and in my opinion must, be found if a new center is to have it's intended impact.

As for the Alltel site being next to the sports venues, I don't see that as a positive. The stadium is empty 99% of the time, and when it is not, the visitors to Jax are there for that Game (Ga-FL, Gator, whatever) not a convention. Conventioneeers are there for the convention, not to watch a football game or attend a concert, a baseball game maybe, but that stadium is allready doing fine on it own.

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When I said past I meant the original plan like you mentioned. A new convention center seems to be on the backburner at the moment. So by the time it comes to fruition the Strand and Penninsula will probably have been built. After they are built it seems reasonable that skyway ridership will rise. The lack of support for expansion seems to stem from lack of ridership (catch 22).

The jail is in prime real estate at the moment. A convention center in the same location would cost more due to moving the jail but it would be better for downtown development then the fairgrounds site. Not to mention the rise in property value by the jail not being across the street.

It is all a pipedream at the moment but the convention center on the jail site, expand the skyway to the stadium district down bay street and turn the current convention center into and intermodal station would be what I would do. Didn't the convention center use to be a train station anyway?

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As for the private property ones, the city could always invoke emenient domain.

They can't for #5 CSX parking lot.

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I think the best course of action is to expand the current facility (the Prime Osbourne) and to build a nice, highrise hotel (at least a Westin, Marriott or better) directly across the street from the front of the convention center (i.e. on Water Street so the hotel and convention center face each other and are within easy walking distance). Jake Godbold has said many times (and I agree) that the idea with converting the old train station to a convention center was supposed to include an adjacent hotel and that this was needed for it to be successful. So, there was no follow through with the City on the hotel part (b/c of subsequent administrations' lack of interest) and the place is underused.

I also think that a portion of the Prime Orbourne should be set aside for an Amtrak station. Our existing Amtrak station is a disgrace. Many travellers like to go by rail (especially foreign visitors) and the first thing they see in Jacksonville is a blighted neighborhood in the middle of nowhere. I do not think the Greyhound should go in the Prime b/c the users of bus service just wouldnt mix well with conventioneers. Anyway, this is my 2 cents.

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I do not think the Greyhound should go in the Prime b/c the users of bus service just wouldnt mix well with conventioneers.

thats for sure. i walk past that bus station every day and a lot of times i have to hold my breath.

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thats for sure. i walk past that bus station every day and a lot of times i have to hold my breath.

:lol:

Lunican: I was trying to be PC, but that is the truth. Generally people who use the intercity bus service are extremely down on their luck (and not well bathed). I wish we could move Greyhound out of downtown entirely or at least to the fringe somewhere (although I do like their restored neon sign).

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Generally people who use the intercity bus service are extremely down on their luck (and not well bathed).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yeah, usually when I drive by I have to avoid those who step freely into the path of an oncoming car and then I'm greeted with a look that communicates I was at fault. <_<

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That was supposed to be north of the existing convention center.

Personally, My vote is to turn the convention center back into a transit terminal. As much as I like Jake Godbold, I believe that turning the Jacksonville Terminal into a convention center was a short term vicory, but a long term mistake. Personally, I believe that we should have a riverfront convention center (it is much more of a Jacksonville asset to have it on a river, something few cities have in their downtowns), near the sports complex, therefore the parking can be shared.

As far as getting it on or near Bay St., let's think about how much fun an empty convention center is at about 9PM. It's like a vacant warehouse, to be honest.

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In my opinion the current convention center site is tops and foremost. Why not keep the old train station (renovate it) and add and connect the new convention center to it? Isn't there quite a bit of property "behind" the current convention center? Build the new convention center behind the current one, use the current one as an entrance to the new one, albeit renovating the old one before that happens, and build a high-rise hotel and/or condo tower nearby (there's lots of vacant property in the area). I think this would be more feasible being that the current convention center and property is the frontrunner.

FLORIDA SKYRISE ORDER

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The Jail actually would be an outstanding location in my opinion. The only problem is jails are very expensive to build. It would take $50-60 million minimum, quite possibly double that. Additionally, the decision of where to relocate (the jail) would be very controversial. Were it a vacant site, it would be perfect.

With Jax now being the murder capital of the US, a new Jail may be forcibly justified!

Just keeping my hopes up. I too believe that the Jail site is perfect.

For now, the existing site carries the greatest benefit.

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In the US? Wow.

I think the number is scewed by the fact that Jacksonville is one of the least dense cities in the US. So if someone is killed in the country they are still in Jacksonville. Either way it is great justification for a new police station and jail.

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Jacksonville the murder capital?? Where did you get this from? Jacksonville is nowhere close to this dubious distinction. The last year I could find for murder capital was 2003 and Chicago was the murder capital of America then.

See: http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/01/01/city.murders.ap/

We arent even close to being one the most unsafe cities in America.

See: http://www.morganquinto.com/cit05pop.htm

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I think the best course of action is to expand the current facility (the Prime Osbourne) and to build a nice, highrise hotel (at least a Westin, Marriott or better) directly across the street from the front of the convention center (i.e. on Water Street so the hotel and convention center face each other and are within easy walking distance).  Jake Godbold has said many times (and I agree) that the idea with converting the old train station to a convention center was supposed to include an adjacent hotel and that this was needed for it to be successful.  So, there was no follow through with the City on the hotel part (b/c of subsequent administrations' lack of interest) and the place is underused.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I assume you mean the Water-Jefferson-Bay-Park block for the hotel.

That lot is currently on the market.

With Jax now being the murder capital of the US, a new Jail may be forcibly justified!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That's FLORIDA, not the US. Don't make it worse than it already is.

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Vic: That's the lot. I think it may be on the market. Any hoteliers out there??

Ason: For more crime stats, see http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004902.html

Those are crime rates for big cities in 2002. It appears to me that our violent crimes are about in the middle of the pack for US cities. In terms of the overall crime index however, we are much lower than Miami and Atlanta AND much lower than those liberal meccas, Portland and Seattle. Of course, we can improve on this still.

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Didn't mean to offend you guys. It was just an off the cuff remark.

I feel safe walking alone just about anywhere in this town.

Now back to the topic at hand. As someone stated earlier, I don't think we'll see a new/expanded convention center for some time.

Hopefully it will be something in its current location integrated with the visionary transportation hub.

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JBJ article: Alltel leads Conventoin Ctr study

Mathis column on Convention Center

After reading these two articles, two things stood out to me.

First, the site rankings seem to be based on development cost. Of course, without more information, it would be impossible to know for sure, but of the top three finishers, they were in lowest cost order.

It would be a huge mistake to locate a new center largely on the basis of cost. The primary consideraton, by far, should be the ability to attract conventions. This business is quite competitive. Jax needs a center that can compete with Savannah, Daytona, Birmingham, and a host of other cities. A convention planner is not going to care that the city saved money on parking, they want a positive experience for the attendees. Easy accesss to public transit, hotels, the Riverwalk, the Landing, Bay Street, and other shopping areas would certainly be a strong component to Jacksonville's offering. The top two sites don't offer any of those things, neither does the Osborn Center except for the transit. By trying to "save" 20 million on construction cost, the city could lose many times that in lost business because it picked another dud location.

Second, the CVB chairman is affliated with Landmar, the new developer of the Shipyards. Since the Alltel location is within spitting distance of the Shipyards, it looks self-serving and a conflict of interest for this study to put that location as the first choice. That will no doubt undermine their efforts for a new center, regardless of location. Even if it truly is only a coincidence, appearances matter.

Of course, this is just an academic point, since we all know nothing is going to happen towards a new/expanded center until the next election, if then.

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