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bobliocatt

Public Works says Bay Street done by end of year

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by Bradley Parsons

Staff Writer

The City will meet with contractors Monday to plan Bay Street Town Center renovations. The work will start about a month later than the City originally planned, but will follow an accelerated work schedule to finish near the end of the year, according to the Public Works Department.

That schedule will have the street finished at least a month ahead of the Feb. 6 Super Bowl. The mayor

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It great that they will finally get started with the streetscape. However, I'm very worried about the lack of new annoucements, concerning potential entertainment oriented businesses operating along Bay Street. It seems that we will have a nice streetscape with empty storefronts after the Super Bowl leaves.

Does anyone know if potential businesses along Bay Street will be able to even serve alcohol? Is the city still planning to tear out the existing full grown trees and replace them with palms?

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Lakelander- Don't be worried about lack of announcements. We've had more announcements on downtown projects in the past 2 years than we've had since HJ Klutho pulled into town back in 1901. There will be at least a highend club (orchid) and eclate and the churchwell lofts plus whatever retail they attract. Then you have the long-term positive prospects of whatever they do with the annex and courthouse. Bay streets adoption as an entertaiment hub (IMO) will be beyond current expectations.

I also believe that is true for downtown as a whole. There are investors waiting for property to come down to reasonable prices. Anything listed at true market value will be bought and renovated within 5 years. Like I've said before, adherance to the "but for" rule and enforcement of the Property Maintenance Code will drive smart growth downtown, saving historic buildings, creating affordable housing, and creating a robust and diverse workforce.

Patience and confidence are all we need (along with consistant thoughtful policy decisions).

I'm djing Friday night late at the art bar in coordination with my art installation at same. UP posters are invited. There are bands preceeding so there may be a cover.

out

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I agree with Urban Core on the prospects for Bay St overall, but the Churchwell Lofts project was cancelled the last that I heard. Is it back on again?

P.S. I will be going through "Jacksonville/Urban Planet" withdrawals for the next 2.5 weeks, as I will be vacationing in Europe. I may try to find a cyber cafe, if I start getting the shakes though. Hopefully when I get back, I'll be able to read lots of articles/posts about new renovations, new projects, a courthouse resolution, an agreement on the Landing, etc. ;)

Til then, posters!

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Have fun, Vic. Hope we have good news when you get back.

I'm still kind of hopeful that Bay will become an entertainment hub, or something close to it. IMO, the courthouse property will play an integral role in the "hotness" of Bay St. Whatever goes there, it'll be massive, and will hopefully have a "destination" tenant. (i.e. Movie Theatre). And I hope they keep Bay as two-way traffic, which will definitely improve pedestrian quality.

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Well, the Bay Street Town Center is officially underway. Unfortunately, crews are cutting down the existing trees. As everyone already knows, they'll be replaced with Palm trees.

Construction on the Holmes Block (107-117 E. Bay) is also underway. The historic renovation consists of restoring the 16,230 building into a restaurant, on the first floor, and additional commercial space on the first & second floors.

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This is a huge mistake in my opinion. Shade trees are needed not ormental trees.

Town Center project underway

City crews were busy over the weekend, cutting down trees along East Bay Street to make way for the Bay Street Town Center entertainment district. The old trees will be replaced with palm trees. The City plans to have the project complete by the Super Bowl.

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A mistake to put up trees that don't provide shade, in my opinion. I'd rather risk a branch falling on my head than wandering up and down an unshaded street in August.

And in answer to a much earlier question, the Churchwell Lofts project is still on. The developer is working on securing the funding.

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Great news about the Churchwell Lofts. I was hoping that the project might still be alive, ever since I noticed a city meeting notice in the building's window two or three weeks ago.

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I found this pic at www.downtownthisweek.com I don't see any palm trees in this one. I'm sure it's an early rendering, drawn before they ripped the trees out. I also noticed that the street is One-Way. I really hope they reconsider that.

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I still don't understand the reason for making Bay a one-way street. Everybody knows its more pedestrian & business friendly to have two way instead, of one way traffic. Does any one know if the streetscaping project will include parallel parking? I sure hope so!

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Here's some more Bay Street news:

Historic designation for Churchwell building?

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The Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission has recommended that the Covington Company/J.H. Churchwell Building on East Bay Street be designated a landmark. However, the City Council will ultimately decided if the building will be placed on the national registry. A favorable ruling, which would make various protections and funding options available to the property, is not expected until mid-October.

Make way for sidewalks

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Streetlights were removed from Bay Street Friday to make way for new sidewalks. The City is following an

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Yet another update, from the Daily Record:

Town Center work goes late

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Work on the Bay Street Town Center is now an around the clock affair. Several sets of work lights have been set up so workers can keep going after sunset. Work hours have been extended to make up for unforeseen complications, lost time due to the string of hurricanes and complications with daytime pedestrian traffic. Bay Street is being transformed into an entertainment district in time for the Super Bowl in February.

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