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bobliocatt

City planning RFP for Burns library

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by Bradley Parsons

Staff Writer

The City will likely ask developers for a second time to check out the Haydon Burns Library.

The future of the 1960s-era building has been a topic of speculation since the City announced plans to build a new $90 million Main Library as part of the Better Jacksonville Plan. The new building

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How about a downtown mixed-use development, with a movie theater included? Need parking? How about expanding the existing parking garage just south of the site and adding steet level retail to it, along Bay & Ocean Streets, while your at it.

Or building a garage on the large surface parking lot on the corner of Adams and Main?

As the article says, that's a pretty centralized site and a large destination use, like a cinema, would tie the Adams Street area with the Florida theater and Bay Street Town Center, as well as, become a continuous feeder of nightime pedestrian traffic in the heart of the downtown core.

Too bad I don't have the funds, because I would work up a wicked proposal, if given the chance.

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One of the proposals last time converted the basement into parking. That would be more than enough spots for residents and/or retail office tenants. I'm just glad they are talking RFP and not trying to give it away without public comment. Lets hope they get the contract right.

Go city, its your birthday

:D

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How about a downtown mixed-use development, with a movie theater included?  Need parking?  How about expanding the existing parking garage just south of the site and adding steet level retail to it, along Bay & Ocean Streets, while your at it.

Or building a garage on the large surface parking lot on the corner of Adams and Main? 

As the article says, that's a pretty centralized site and a large destination use, like a cinema, would tie the Adams Street area with the Florida theater and Bay Street Town Center, as well as, become a continuous feeder of nightime pedestrian traffic in the heart of the downtown core.

Too bad I don't have the funds, because I would work up a wicked proposal, if given the chance.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree wholeheartedly, except that I seriously doubt the garage south of the libary was originally built with a sufficient foundation to add more levels. Most likely, it would need to be torn down and a mixed use development built in it's place. This would allow the now separated elements of Bay Street Town Center to be more united. The Dyal-Upchurch building would not be an island separate from the streetfront buildings in the 100 block of Bay St.

Since the parking that the current garage provides could not easily be replaced, I suggest that the library be razed and a new mixed-use building go up in its place. It could provide retail on the ground floor, the movie screens on the second and parking for about 5-7 levels above that. Then, top the garage with residential units.

Before razing the existing garage, the new garage could fill the void. The existing garge could then be replaced with it's own mixed-use building that would provide it's own parking.

It will be exciting to see what proposals come in.

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For some reason, I always pictured a downtown movie theatre at the Landing. I don't know about the Hayden Burns site. But I would build 1-2 floors of retail/commercial space, topped with a couple levels of parking, topped with residential. Also, I wouldn't make the tower all glass and contemporary, considering its neighbor, 11E. It would need to complement it. It is a very prime spot in downtown, and I hope someone builds something good there.

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For some reason, I always pictured a downtown movie theatre at the Landing.  I don't know about the Hayden Burns site.  But I would build 1-2 floors of retail/commercial space, topped with a couple levels of parking, topped with residential.  Also, I wouldn't make the tower all glass and contemporary, considering its neighbor, 11E.  It would need to complement it.  It is a very prime spot in downtown, and I hope someone builds something good there.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree totally with the comment that it should complement 11E. In the original RFP, Vestcor proposed a condo tower that was mostly all glass and contemporary. I hope other proposals are made that do go to that extreme. I also agree that the Landing is a logical place for a movie theatre, but I think either site could work.

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The Landing would be the perfect site, but it seems like that won't be a part of Sleiman's plans. If downtown is to ever get one, now is the time to prepare because North Jacksonville is starting to become a growth hotspot and it won't be long before one is proposed there.

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Other good sites for a movie theatre could be:

1)Westin Hotel's planned site, across from the Landing. If Westin changes their mind (which they may very well have) it could go there, and at least be near the Landing.

2)Current site of the Duval County Courthouse, which won't be available until 2007, or maybe 2008 considering the mayor's recent decision. It would help Bay Street tremendously. I had envisioned a stylish residential tower with retail and a nightclub, a 4-5 story loft apartment/retail building, a hotel/public parking garage, and a movie theatre for that site. One of these days, I'll scan it and post it.

3)Perhaps someday, a bold developer will build a massive "Cityplace-like" complex near the Prime Osborn. It would be a boom for that area, and would increase the dull Skyway ridership on that corridor. But as there's nothing there right now, it would need alot more retail and residential to help it "blend".

Anyone else have suggestions/comments?

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A few thoughts...

The metal parking garage on the block south of 11E/Library is by far, the WORST block in the downtown core. This has to be the ugliest of all of the parking garages. As far as the existing library goes, some people want to save it. Personally, I say you call the same guys out that blew up the coliseum, and tell them to have a blast! (I'll bring the beer). Not to knock the designs of the 50's and 60's, but what were they thinking:

1: This thing does not address the street well at all, except at the entrance doors and along Adams St.

2: They demolished the original city hall (the one from 1901) to build this thing.

3: Did nobody think about the fact that windows on the second and third floors would be nice? I have a friend that works on the third floor, and trust me, it's not the most uplifting place in the world (lofts in this place would be impossible).

Someone with some cash (that rules me out) should buy this and the garage to the south and have some fun. The opportunities are limitless at this site.

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Amen to scongro's comments.

The Business Journal out today has an article on the library RPF, but as ususual, not much NEW info. Wendland was quoted as saying if someone paid market value for it, they might forgo the RFP. Why limit the choices?

If I had the $, I might buy it, just so I could level it.

The Business Journal also had another article on the courthouse costs. Obviously written before yesterday's big announcement. There is a special section on Commercial real estate, with all Florida regions represented. Nothing new info that I saw on JAX though.

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Last time I went to the library, it was so funny. I was walking along Forsyth street, looking for the entrance. I was so puzzled, because there's nothing but a brick wall and poorly manicured trees facing Forsyth. After more confused looking, I finally found the entrance to the place, lol.

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Other good sites for a movie theatre could be:

1)Westin Hotel's planned site, across from the Landing.  If Westin changes their mind (which they may very well have) it could go there, and at least be near the Landing.

2)Current site of the Duval County Courthouse, which won't be available until 2007, or maybe 2008 considering the mayor's recent decision.  It would help Bay Street tremendously.  I had envisioned a stylish residential tower with retail and a nightclub, a 4-5 story loft apartment/retail building, a hotel/public parking garage, and a movie theatre for that site.  One of these days, I'll scan it and post it. 

3)Perhaps someday, a bold developer will build a massive "Cityplace-like" complex near the Prime Osborn.  It would be a boom for that area, and would increase the dull Skyway ridership on that corridor.  But as there's nothing there right now, it would need alot more retail and residential to help it "blend". 

Anyone else have suggestions/comments?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Please scan and post your ideas!! I think you have the right idea.

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http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor..._18493841.shtml

By RYAN GEDDES, The Times-Union

Main Branch LLC wants to convert the 40-year-old building into retail, loft office and residential space that would retain the building's iconic 1960's look and feel. The developers would build 20 condominiums on top of the building, which the group's architects say was originally built to accommodate additional stories.

Main Branch comprises downtown property owner Robert van Winkle; developer and downtown consultant Tony Allegretti; Brooklyn Arts & Design Center founder Mark Rinaman; architects Melody and Bill Bishop; and Jack Shad, co-developer of the Five Points Theater project in Riverside.

Melody Bishop worked with the Haydon Burns Library's original architect, Taylor Hardwick, and designed the recently-opened Riverwalk extension.

Shad said the group believes it can develop the property without city incentives.

"Downtown is reaching the point where the market can take over," said Shad.

The group envisions a restaurant and nightclub on the ground floor of the building's south side, along Forsyth Street, and is talking with small grocery store operators about a market or bakery on the north side of the building, said Rinaman.

The library, 122 N. Ocean St., is the city's main branch and will be surplus property when the new Main Library opens in September. In March, the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission issued a request for proposals for the 110,000 square-foot property, which is worth $4.5 million, according to an appraisal commissioned by the city last year. That figure includes both the building and the property it sits on.

In January, San Marco-based Peterbrooke Chocolatier expressed interest in purchasing the site for a new headquarters and interactive manufacturing facility, but Michael Clapsaddle, chief of buying and administration for the city, said no companies have submitted bids yet.

The city will accept sealed bids on the property until May 4, and would make a decision by June 3.

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Well, I'm more open to the idea, and I love the mix of uses in this proposal! A much-needed grocery/market in a prime spot! Plus a nightclub, office (?), and residential space. If they can make some subtle changes, yet keep the 60's flair, it might be an icon. Who knows....

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The group envisions a restaurant and nightclub on the ground floor of the building's south side, along Forsyth Street, and is talking with small grocery store operators about a market or bakery on the north side of the building, said Rinaman.

Sounds like a pretty good proposal. One question or comment though. Would it be better if the project's uses were flipped? I'd think a restaurant/nightclub would work better facing Adams Street, instead of Forsyth. Another nightlife destination at that corner would work great with Burrito Gallery and The London Pub. It would also fit in line with the idea of locating similar nightlife uses adjacent to each other, thus potentially forming a naturally grown entertainment district, since there are several vacant storefronts along Adams, nearby.

I also think the best spot for the market/bakery, would be on the NW corner of Forsyth & Ocean. It offers the most visibility to passer-by traffic, which is something a small grocery market would need, especially in downtown.

Overall, it sounds like a great proposal, that saves the existing building, something several in town would love to see happen. I'm looking forward to seeing more proposals announced for the library site.

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