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bobliocatt

Brooklyn: Jacksonville's ultimate urban district?

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Well guys I just got back from attending the Brooklyn development public hearing downtown. I must say out of all the meetings with urban design consultants that I have attended over the years, the plan Urban Design Studio of Pittsburgh, developed, is the most impressive I've ever seen. Here's some of the important details from the meeting.

Neighborhood Market Study

-6,000 people presently work here. That number will grow by 4,000 within 10 years.

-1,200 residential units can be built in Brooklyn over 10 years. There are currently 40 residences remaining there today.

Ideal Housing Diveristy

-54% Rental (apartments)

-46% For Sale (condos)

-17% Attached townhomes

-10% Single Family homes

Streetcar system - Since nobody wants the skyway in their neighborhood, JTA has preliminary plans underway for a streetcar line connceting Riverside/Avondale to downtown. The line would run down Riverside to Stonewall, Stonewall to Park, Park to Water Street terminating somewhere near the skyway's Central Station.

Riverside Avenue - present plans have this road being widened into 6 lanes with a center turn lane. Consultants would like to see the road be built as (same width), but eliminating 2 lanes and replacing them with a 30' heavily landscaped median. This would also be done for Forest Street from I-95 to Riverside Avenue.

Park Street - This street would be the main commercial street through the Brooklyn. The 4 lane street would be narrowed to 2 lanes, with parallel parking.

Retail Center - The site for a grocery store and retail center would be at the NW corner of Park & Forest St. It would be designed like the Publix center in Riverside, with retail uses facing the street.

McCoy Creek - The area around this neglected waterway would be transformed into a huge urban park stretching from I-95 to the St. Johns River.

Riverside Avenue retention ponds - instead of retention ponds lining Forest St., one large pond would be the centerpiece of a huge urban park fronting the St. John's River. It would serve as a cultural gateway to downtown with Forest terminating at the front of it.

Riverfront - this impressed me the most. Consultants developed a plan where a new waterfront road would be built from Fidelity's office up to the Haskell building right next to the riverfront and riverwalk. Highrise condos & townhomes would line the street across from the river. The plan instantly reminded me of Charleston's Battery area.

Housing

High rise condos would be built between the river and Riverside Avenue. 3 Story townhome developments would be built between Riverside Avenue & Park Street. The area between Park St. and Mrytle Avenue would consist of restored single family homes and new infill, very similar to what you see in Springfield now.

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The meeting was held at Haskell's Headquarter's on Riverside Avenue. They have massive renderings, site plans, & information regarding the proposed Southside Generation Station redevelopment project. This thing will change the face of the Southbank as we know it.

haskellrenderings.jpg

The development is split into four sections. The digital rendering of the site showed a dense area of 2-8 story buildings surrounded by 7 condo & office towers in the range of 15 - 25 stories.

Park Center - (upper left area with central park area, next to the DCSB.)

This area would be the main retail and entertainment area. Restuarants & shops would line streets surrounded by a large central park area for community events & festivals. Several large foutains would shoot water 30-40 ft in the area in the semi-circular area where the park meets the riverwalk .

River Court - (central four blocks with long "U" shaped buildings)

This area would consist of apartments, condos, & townhomes ranging in height from 2-8 stories. The shorter buildings would front the river, while the taller building would be built behind them. 2 marinas would also be built in this area.

River Pointe - (right section of development)

This area would consist of 4 large highrises (in the 15 story range) surrounding another large central park area. A large pedestrian walkway, would connect the park area to the river and the extended riverwalk. (this area is shown is the above building rendering)

Park Tower - (bottom part of development)

The tallest towers would be constructed here so residents will have a clear view of the waterfront and the northbank skyline.

If anyone gets the chance, stop by Haskell's office and take a look at the large diplays for this project. They will definately get you excited and help you understand why the project is designed the way it is.

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Wow Lakelander. Thanks for the info. I'm really excited about both projects. Brooklyn could be a great urban community. When is the haskell things supposed to be completed?

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How about a map pointing out some of these places in relation to downtown?

Sounds like a great plan. Just hope the city commissioners agree with it.

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I have to say, looks impressive though I have this note:

Streetcars are kind of slow and teh Skyway is already in existence. IT makes no sense to have two small systems that you have to switch back and forth from. They may not like it, but it is silly to do it the other way - it will also cost a lot to jump the river.

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Thanks for the info Lakelander. It does sound like the Brooklyn plan is a very sound one. An article in yesterday's Daily record brought up an interesting point. Some memebrs of the DDA (Downtown Development Authority)board are questioning if Jax is trying to take on too wide of a geographic focus with Downtown redevelopment. Some members think the LaVilla, Brooklyn, and the Sports areas should wait behind a more concentrated effort to redevelope the Downtown core.

This is an interesting point, I lived in Columbia SC for eight years and the city was definitely spreading itself too thin by trying to redevelop several urban districts simultaneously.

Perhaps the city should try to assemble properties now, but wait until after all the highway construction is complete before making a big push for new projects until the core of downtown is further along.

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quote by Smiley

I have to say, looks impressive though I have this note:

Streetcars are kind of slow and teh Skyway is already in existence. IT makes no sense to have two small systems that you have to switch back and forth from. They may not like it, but it is silly to do it the other way - it will also cost a lot to jump the river.

The streetcar thing is very early in planning right now, so I really have no idea of how its going to turn out. However, during the meeting it was stated that people living in the Riverside/Avondale areas south of I-95 will fight to the bitter end to stop the skyway from being expanded into the historic district. They feel the cold monorail column structure of the skyway will kill the character of Riverside Avenue through the neighborhood. However, they are all for having the streetcar tracks reinstalled along the street.

Its also lot cheaper to build the streetcar system then to expand the skyway. It would not have to cross the river, because Riverside, Brooklyn, and downtown all sit on the West (North) bank of the river. Plus it would only feed the skyway, by ending at the convention center skyway station (city wishes) or the Central Station (Riverside's wishes). To access the rest of downtown or the southbank, you would have to take the skyway.

Also, the city is investing $100 million in buying the right-of-way for a city wide BRT system. The streetcar thing sounds very similar to the one in Tampa or the one planned for Fort Lauderdale.

quote by vicupstate

Thanks for the info Lakelander. It does sound like the Brooklyn plan is a very sound one. An article in yesterday's Daily record brought up an interesting point. Some memebrs of the DDA (Downtown Development Authority)board are questioning if Jax is trying to take on too wide of a geographic focus with Downtown redevelopment. Some members think the LaVilla, Brooklyn, and the Sports areas should wait behind a more concentrated effort to redevelope the Downtown core.

This is an interesting point, I lived in Columbia SC for eight years and the city was definitely spreading itself too thin by trying to redevelop several urban districts simultaneously.

Perhaps the city should try to assemble properties now, but wait until after all the highway construction is complete before making a big push for new projects until the core of downtown is further along.

I agree with the movement for the city to focus its attention on the original downtown core first. With Riverside already being an exciting vibrant neighborhood, if you fix up downtown, Brooklyn will naturally redevelop itself. However, I don't think it will cost much to install 30' heavily landscaped medians in Riverside Avenue and Forest St (from the new I-95 exit to Riverside Av.), as well as landscape the retention ponds, since both streets are already under construction and serve as gateways into downtown.

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I really wanted to go to the Brooklyn meeting. Thanks for going Lakelander, and for sharing all this with us. Is Urban Design Studio of Pittsburgh the official choice for the project? Or are there still other designs being studied? I like their plans. I think that extending the Skyway down Riverside Ave won't kill the character of the area. Look at Blue Cross and Blue Shield, does that blend in with the neighborhood? I think the Skyway should go all the way to the Fuller Warren bridge, but no further. Everything past the Cummer Art Museum is historic and quiet. I don't think the Skyway should go that far. But as far as the Streetcar System goes, I think that it's best to use the current transit system that we already have. Maybe for the "character" neighborhoods, the JTA could just add a trolley route. I wish they would bring back the San Marco trolley route, too.

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I really wanted to go to the Borrklyn meeting. Thanks for going Lakelander, and for sharing all this with us. Is Urban Design Studio of Pittsburgh the official choice for the project? Or are there still other designs being studied? I like their plans. I think that extending the Skyway down Riverside Ave won't kill the character of the area. Look at Blue Cross and Blue Shield, does that blend in with the neighborhood? I think the Skyway should go all the way to the Fuller Warren bridge, but no further. Everything past the Cummer Art Museum is historic and quiet. I don't think the Skyway should go that far. But as far as the Streetcar System goes, I think that it's best to use the current transit system that we already have. Maybe for the "character" neighborhoods, the JTA could just add a trolley route. I wish they would bring back the San Marco trolley route, too.

Urban Design Studion is the official choice for the project. Their final report and scheme is due to be finished next month.

Extending the skyway to BCBS, which is already a proposed extension of the system, is also another consideration, that nobody at the meeting objected too.

Personally, if money is going to be used for rail transit in that area, I'd like to see the skyway extended down Riverside Avenue to Rosselle St. (BCBS/Fidelity's parking garages) to Oak St. (a block east of Park St.) and terminate at Margaret St. in the heart of Five Points. That way you get the system into the neighborhood without destroying the character of the area. Furthermore, that's only a 1 mile extension, but it will add several thousand riders to the sytem.

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I'm glad I found this forum. I too helped with the Brooklyn charette. The Urban Design Associates (Pitt) were impressive. They had each conceivable map and layout and a ton of renderings. The meeting with the residents was down right chummy.

I'm very excited about the possibilities in Brooklyn. We've got a blank canvas, a semmingly foward-thinking city council and mayor, an intelligent proposal by leading urbanists, and a lot of demand.

Looking forward- Tony

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Welcome Tony!

Congrats on the Downtown This Week cover, and all the great press about Artwalk. You and Downtown Vision are to be commended for an outstanding project.

I have enjoyed this forum for about a month or so now, and look forward to reading your comments as well.

I'm still interested in working with Venture Resources on something, if you guys are so inclined.

Russell Conner

P.S. Lakelander, you should also check out the elementary school adaptive re-use that Venture Resources did in Springfield, if you haven't aleady.

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^I've already checked it out, as well as visited Urban Core's website and peaked in the windows of the burrito Gallery project a couple of times. Jacksonville needs more businesses like the Urban Core.

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Hey Guys. Thanks all for the welcome. As far as the urban core goes its a storefront site for Venture Resources a partnership that consults and develops in the (you guessed it) urban core.

Our niche is buying at a discount, renovating, and holding long term. We've diversified some with low interest rates as the motivation, both in terms of rental market and purchasing power.

We've got a few things currently that we're looking at but the burritos are a top priority along with Super Bowl programming.

Russell- if we get to an opportunity for you, we'll buzz, but definitely keep in touch. Good to see you again.

As far as Downtown This Weak, there is a better article with less me and more VR in the Entertaining U this week. It has a killer interview with Teddy Washington about Ray Charles. This paper is total underdog and worth a pick-up when dining on your lunch break.

Glad I found you guys. Tony

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RAP chair says Riverside Avenue construction could lead to legal action

by Bradley Parsons

Staff Writer

The chair of the Riverside/Avondale Preservation Society said advocates from the neighborhoods and neighboring Brooklyn would seek a court order, if necessary, to stop the State from widening Riverside Avenue to six lanes.

Trip Stanley said legal action would only be considered as a last resort. But he said the window of opportunity was rapidly closing to change the Florida Department of Transportations’ plans using other means.

“We’re in the 11th hour,” Stanley said following the Downtown Development Authority’s board meeting Wednesday. “Once the asphalt goes in, the party’s over.”

The opposition to the FDOT’s plans has grown over the past month. The City Council and Metropolitan Planning Organization issued resolutions, recommending Riverside be kept at four lanes. The opposition was bolstered by a study from Orlando-based traffic engineer and consultant Walter Kulash that said the FDOT plan would hinder the City’s efforts to revitalize the Brooklyn neighborhood, which surrounds the street.

FDOT spokesperson Mike Goldman said six lanes were needed to handle growing traffic on the street, which connects downtown to Riverside and Brooklyn neighborhoods. To stop or slow work now, said Goldman, would cost the FDOT, which has already spent $25 million to buy land bordering the street.

The cost overruns would be paid for out of funds set aside for Jacksonville’s future transportation projects, he said.

Goldman said the FDOT planned to build six lanes, but he said the street could be revisited later. If funds became available, he said the State could reduce the lanes to four in another project.

Once six lanes have been built, Stanley doubted the State would spend more to eliminate two. He said the opposition groups want the FDOT to slow down construction until it can consider its plans in concert with an urban planner’s master plan for the area. The City hired Pittsburgh-based Urban Design Associates to design a development plan for Brooklyn. That plan is expected to be released in mid-September and might incorporate Kulash’s concepts. UDA hired him to help put together the transportation element of its plan.

By September, Stanley fears construction on what he calls, “a six-lane suburban highway running through an urban neighborhood,” might already be well under way. He said he went to the DDA to build a political case for following Kulash’s recommendations.

“The FDOT answers to nobody, but they bend to political pressure,” said Stanley. “That’s what we’re trying to build now.”

DDA board member David Auchter said he would brief Mayor John Peyton on the situation. Peyton spokesperson Heather Murphy said Peyton’s main priority in the area was to keep construction on schedule.

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I'm back from my vacation, and I am catching up on the backlog of news.

I hope Peyton will have an open mind on the Riverside Ave. project and agree to seriously look at going with four lanes. Also, there was a public hearing that JCCI held on the convention center. Did anyone in the forum attend? If so, what was the consensus of the speakers?

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From the Daily Record:

The Florida Department of Transportation began laying asphalt for a new, six-lane Riverside Avenue late last week. That could mean the project has just passed the point of no return for opponents, who want a landscaped, four-lane corridor. Riverside/Avondale Preservation Chair Trip Stanly, who said legal action might be necessary to stop construction, told the DDA last week that

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I understand the complaint of the residents of Brooklyn and Riverside on this project; however, I can't help but wonder why they waited so long to mount resistance. The project has been planning for over 10 years, and Riverside Ave.'s been under construction for at least one year.

Seems a bit late to bring it up, especially if it means waiting several more months to clean up the mess brought on by current construction.

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^Very good point. I, for one, learned of this project like 6 months ago, not 10 years. Then again, I'm not a Brooklyn resident. I just knew they were making changes, not widening to 6 lanes. IMO, this project sucks. Pedestrians will risk being mauled over as they walk along the "Riverside Super-Highway of Tomorrow".

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The planning is more like 20 years old without a public meeting in 10 years that would have included several redesigns.

If you are interested, there are several documents that support a better plan that experts think could actually save money on this project, including one by Walter Kulash this country's leading urban traffic consultant.

Here is the latest:

** High Priority **

We urgently need your help. The FDOT (Schroder) is going back on their

word. Schroder is now saying "only a handful of people care" about

making Forest and Riverside 4 lanes instead of 7, and the Mayor wants 7

lanes, so they're going to build it that way. Doesn't matter what the

City Council, State Rep. Audrey Gibson (see her scathing letter

attached), MPO, Downtown Development Authority and three community

organizations (RAP, Brooklyn Neighborhood Association, North Riverside

Community Development Org.) want.

We must show that more than a handful of people care. We need to know

what you are willing and able to do regarding the activities listed

below. Please call me (630-2464 or home is 388-5081) or email me your

availability.

1. Get petitions signed at neighborhood polling places during

tomorrow's (Tuesday) primary election. Shifts from 7 a.m.-9 a.m.,

noon-2:00 p.m. and 5:00-7:00 p.m. I will then get in touch with you

regarding details.

2. Attend MPO meetings on 9/1/04 at 10:30 a.m. and 9/9/01 at 10

a.m.--1022 Prudential.

3. Attend a press conference at City Hall (time TBD--possibly this

Thursday or Friday).

4. Everyone can do this one. Email Mayor Peyton ([email protected]) and

Governor Bush ([email protected]) One of the governor's aides said he acts

when he hears from a lot of people. Also the Duval Delegation (contacts

attached).

4. a. Get at least 5 of your friends to do likewise.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Kay Ehas

Division Chief, Administration

Office of the Property Appraiser

630-2464

630-2922 FAX

[email protected]

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