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bobliocatt

National developers take a liking to downtown

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by Bradley Parsons

Staff Writer

National developers have recently come calling in greater numbers to the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission. They want City help with permitting and usually a river view, but City planners say that development incentives have been conspicuously absent from their list of demands.

The JEDC and the mayor

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I know most developers are interested in their projects having a river front view, but I would like to see the city target infill high density urban projects for all of those surface parking lots along Main Street (North of Adams), The Modis Parking garage and those grass lots, adjacent to the skyway, near the convention center. I think, with prices around $150k, you could still be successful, even if the project doesn't offer river views.

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Yeah, I would like to see more development away from the river. Maybe the city could designate theses areas as "target zones" for development. That should be the priority. I think there should be some small incentive to build near Skyway stations, in order to increase their usage. I always wanted someone to build on the parking lot that's across from the new library, on Main St. Residential would be nice, because I would love to live across the street from the new main library!

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Yeah, I would like to see more development away from the river. Maybe the city could designate theses areas as "target zones" for development. That should be the priority. I think there should be some small incentive to build near Skyway stations, in order to increase their usage. I always wanted someone to build on the parking lot that's across from the new library, on Main St. Residential would be nice, because I would love to live across the street from the new main library!
Filling in those Main Street lots would greatly boost the image of downtown, since Main Street is the area's primary gateway from the North. Another lot that should be considered is the block consuming, 2 story Modis garage, across the street from 11 East and the old Library. A beautiful set of buildings where destroyed years ago for that garage. Tearing down the garage to build a multi-level project, with parking and street retail, would connect the Bay Street Town Center with the Adams Street area and the rest of downtown.

What are they going to do with the old library?

There aren't any concrete plans for the old library yet. However, there is one local developer who wants to move the Brooklyn Art Center into the building and renovate the old library into a mixed use facility featuring art galleries, a restaurant, and retail space.

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[QU

Filling in those Main Street lots would greatly boost the image of downtown, since Main Street is the area's primary gateway from the North. Another lot that should be considered is the block consuming, 2 story Modis garage, across the street from 11 East and the old Library. A beautiful set of buildings where destroyed years ago for that garage. Tearing down the garage to build a multi-level project, with parking and street retail, would connect the Bay Street Town Center with the Adams Street area and the rest of downtown.

Is this a good idea because parking is also needed for the Modis building?

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^If temporary parking could be worked out, the facility could be built with enough parking for the Modis and anything else along that stretch of Bay Street. In the end, you would end up with enough parking for most of the Bay Street Corridor (Modis, the theater, Holmes Block, old library) and additional street retail frontage on an existing under utilized piece of land.

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Yeah, they could build a massive garage, and encase it with mix-use. It would look so much better. I don't know if I like the idea of renovationg the old library. I just hate that building. There is like 1% street intereaction between the library and Forsyth St. They should tear it down, IMO.

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I agree with urban legend. I can't stand the library building and i think they should just rip it down and put up something else.

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Awhile back the city solicited proposals for the soon-to-be-old library site. The Brooklyn Art center proposal was one of them. There was another proposal to renovate the building for offices, but I think that has been unofficially withdrawn. The final proposal was from Vestcor and they would have razed the building and out up a multi level garage with condos on top. The condos would have extra high ceilings, such that the building would have a height of about 23 stories, even though technically it would be 17 stories.

The city plans to solicit proposals again once the building is empty.

I think the building in it's existing state screams "the Brady Bunch library building". The color scheme is seriously dated from the '60s. It's a wonder there isn't any shag carpet inside.

Some preservationist say the building should be maintained as it is, and others say it should be altered to be more visually appealing.

Personally, I think the building is a prime example of hideous 60's architecture. How could the architect not know that the "in" colors (in the mid 60's) used in the tile would not be out-of-date in the future.

The real shame is that the old Jax City Hall was demolished to build this thing in '65. That was a beautiful building that should have been saved.

Since the building is relatively small, and the need for greater density downtown is very important, I think the building should be razed and replaced with a high-rise complete with street level retail. Preferably, the building would be primarily residential and would incorporate enough parking for itself, with extra parking for the general area.

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I like Vestcor's idea. If it worked out, they'd own the whole block, because 11E Forsyth is right next door. I think expeand 11E's parking garage, but add ground level retail this time around. That stretch of Adams might get bland with nothing but a parking garage fronting it. And I hope that the new building will complement 11E. I just think it would look weird, having a modern glass tower next to the old Lynch building.

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I agree completely Urban Legend. I hope that Vestcor changes the style to be more compatible with 11 E. Forsyth, if they get the site.

I think the chances for a new building going there are pretty good. With Peyton in the Mayor's seat, he will want market value for that land. That pretty much means a lot more square footage than the existing building could provide.

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