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Haydon Burns Library

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Peterbrooke interested in Ocean Street library site

Candy maker would open ''Chocolate University'' in vacated building.

By MELISSA ROSS

First Coast News

From books to bonbons?

Peterbrooke Chocolatier is considering the old Haydon Burns library on Ocean Street as a potential site for relocating its candy production center.

Peterbrooke, famous locally for its chocolate-covered popcorn and other European-style candy confections, has outgrown its 10,000-square-foot headquarters on San Marco Boulevard. The four-story library, built in 1965, is 10 times larger than Peterbrooke's current headquarters. It will be sitting idle when the city's new library opens in the spring.

If the deal goes through, Peterbrooke has plans to renovate to set up a "Chocolate University," where visitors could watch the candy-making process from start to finish.

There might also be a botanical garden where cocoa beans are grown, and potentially, a sidewalk cafe. The exterior of the structure would be renovated as well.

Peterbrooke, which has nine locations around the First Coast, would not confirm plans for the renovations, with president Peter Behringer saying only, "We are considering a number of possibilities and options."

However, city officials are already calling the idea a sweet one. City Councilman Jerry Holland says, "It's the perfect site, close to transportation and familiar to visitors already. Imagine how much fun kids would have seeing candy being made in a 'Chocolate University.'''

Peterbrooke has not made a formal request to buy the building, valued at approximately $6.5 million by the city's property appraiser. Other suitors have been interested in the site over the past year, according to Jacksonville's Downtown Development Authority, which confirms Peterbrooke has expressed interest in the location.

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^^ I love the idea but I think there are better locations for it, specifically Bay Street. In particular, the Churchwell building would be well suited for this. I don't know how the square footage compares though. They could put the retail shop/restaurant on the ground floor and an entrance for vistor's to view the production line as well. Everything else could go on the other three floors. If needed, they could even incorporate the Suddath building next to it as well.

A second idea would be to incorporate it into the Landing. I just think the library site is too important and too large to devote to just one real use. I would prefer a residential/retail/office combination for that site. You don't get too many chances to redevelop 3/4th of a block, that's close to everything. It's important that it be put to its highest and best use IMO.

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I agree. If it goes to RFP and this use is chosen, I'll live with it, but we've done too many deals without public comment and competitive analysis.

Don't give it away without an RFP.

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I agree that this site is too precious for a single use. This has been said numerous times already, but the infrastructure for day-to-living in downtown has got to increase and improve if we are going to keep residents living downtown. Other major cities have loads of everyday retail like CVS, grocery stores, fast food, etc. This affords people the opportunity to walk out the front door of their building and walk to retail component rather than getting in their cars and driving to the nearest suburb to get their day-to-day needs met.

I know for a fact the Young Architects Forum of the AIA is preparing an open design competition for the renovation/reuse of the library. From what I understand, the competition is going to call for the renovation/reuse of the library and allow for the designers to propose a program/use. I think they are going to open it up to the UF School of Architecture, Jax at FAMU as well as local designers and architects. Hopefully the RFP won't come out until after the competition so the city can see how much poetential there is for that site. And who knows, maybe someone will have an idea about program that just clicks with everyone. Keep your eyes and ears open, I would like to see the open competition happen and bring some good results for the fate of the Hayden Burns Library.

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I agree, the Haydon Library site is too important and a once in a lifetime location for a critical mixed-use project, in the middle of downtown. I also love the idea of a Peterbrooke ''Chocolate University'' becoming a part of the Bay Street Town Center or The Landing. This is the ideal type of unique local entertainment venue needed in both of those locations to make them a success. In addition to the Churchwell Building, the old game room location on the food court level of The Landing would be prefect for this.

This forum is getting pretty good and there's a lot of great ideas and visions being discussed around here. I think its about time for me to email links to all of the city officials and big downtown players in town.

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I know for a fact the Young Architects Forum of the AIA is preparing an open design competition for the renovation/reuse of the library.  From what I understand, the competition is going to call for the renovation/reuse of the library and allow for the designers to propose a program/use.  I think they are going to open it up to the UF School of Architecture, Jax at FAMU as well as local designers and architects.  Hopefully the RFP won't come out until after the competition so the city can see how much poetential there is for that site.  And who knows, maybe someone will have an idea about program that just clicks with everyone.  Keep your eyes and ears open, I would like to see the open competition happen and bring some good results for the fate of the Hayden Burns Library.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

:w00t: This is awesome news. The pr folks behind the local AIA need to get the word out there that this is happening. I know two groups of architects that have been working after hours on re-use designs. Please post any info on this competition that you have.

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It sounds like this could be a great opportunity for some great creative ideas to come forth for this property. I would love to see something proposed that would not only incorporate the Hayden Burns library but also that wretched parking garage in the block south of it. Maybe the Peterbrooke operation could go in that block fronting on Bay St. Of course the parking would have to be replaced with a smaller but taller garage.

Another alternative for Peterbrooke would be to build on the parking lot next to the Dyal-Upchurch building and the Chamber of Commerce. Although the Chamber building itself might have to go as well (no loss architecturally IMO). If done correctly, the chocolate factory could help link Bay Street with the Riverwalk and the Landing area.

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From the First Coast News website:

Exclusive: Peterbrooke May Turn Library Into Candy Confection

By Melissa Ross

First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- From books to bonbons?

First Coast News has learned exclusively that the city's premiere chocolatier is eyeing the old Haydon Burns library on Ocean Street as a potential site for relocating its candy production center.

Peterbrooke Chocolatier, famous locally for its chocolate-covered popcorn and other European-styled candy confections, has outgrown its 10,000-square-foot headquarters on San Marco Boulevard, and is looking at the library as a sweet spot for expansion.

The old library, built in 1965 and regarded by some as an eyesore for its outmoded architectural style, is ten times larger than Peterbrooke's current headquarters, with four floors and 110,000 square feet of space. It will be sitting idle when the city's new library opens to visitors in the spring of 2005.

And First Coast News has learned if the deal goes through, Peterbrooke, with annual sales of $3.5 million, has plans to renovate the space in an exciting way, by setting up a "Chocolate University," where visitors could observe the candy-making process from start to finish.

There might also be a botanical garden where cocoa beans are grown, and potentially, a sidewalk cafe. The exterior of the structure would be renovated as well.

In addition to its prime downtown location, sources say Peterbrooke likes the library building because it's humidity-controlled to preserve the stacks of books. In a bit of serendipity, that atmosphere is ideal for chocolate production as well.

Peterbrooke, which has nine locations around the First Coast, is neither confirming nor denying its plans for relocation, with President Peter Behringer telling First Coast News only that "We are considering a number of possibilities and options."

However, city officials are already calling the idea a sweet one. Councilman Jerry Holland says, "It's the perfect site, close to transportation and familiar to visitors already. Imagine how much fun kids would have seeing candy being made in a 'Chocolate University!'"

Peterbrooke has not yet made a formal request to the city to buy the library. The structure is valued at approximately $6.5 million by the city's property appraiser. Other suitors have been interested in the site over the past year as well, according to Jacksonville's Downtown Development Authority, which confirms Peterbrooke has expressed interest in the location.

Meanwhile, a Peterbrooke company spokeswoman also tells First Coast News the chocolatier is considering further expanding the business, by starting regional franchise operations.

Not bad for an outfit that began modestly with just one San Marco location, back in 1983. Founder Phyllis Lockwood Geiger named her company after her two children, Peter and Brooke. Its tasty products are a perennial favorite for lovers looking to woo their sweethearts, especially on Valentine's Day. That's when the company puts up billboard ads featuring their trademark blue bags, telling customers they've got Valentine's "in the bag."

But the library deal isn't in the bag yet, although hopes are high. "I really hope it goes through," says Holland. "What a great thing for downtown that would be."

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I LOVE the smell of a chocolate shop! There's a Kilwin's near my school, and it draws me near to it, with the smell alone. Like everyone else said, there's other locations this could move to, and the library would make nice lofts. But I'm just glad to hear that they're planning on moving downtown, where all the action will be!

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a chocolate factory??? what the hell is this Disney world??? and they are going to fix the building, oh i can't wait... nothing makes a building look better than some balloons. :angry: there are so many better ideas currently furmenting about the library that to sell it to Peterbrooke for some cash would be waste. don't get me wrong i love the chocolate just as much as anyone else, but that is not the place for this sort of function. the Landing yes; Bay street, yes. library... NO. allow the YAF to hold its competition and that local designers come up with ideas and proposals. That way the city can have a number of ideas to look at before making any actions.

let's make downtown urban again, not an Main Street USA!

"he's alive, but unconscious; just like Gerald Ford."

-airplane the movie

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"Roger Roger! What's our vector Victor?" ... "Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue."

I agree Cuban. I think everyone is in agreement Peterbrook coming to downtown is a good thing, but let's be a little respective and responsible than just plunking it in a building because it's for sale. This building is central to so many things, why would anyone want to put Willy Wonka's Sugar Spectacular there? Downtown is lacking the infrastructure to sustain true urban or downtown living. Let the basic fucntion of the building remain as it is... a public use building - you do the math on what programs that includes that could help strengthen the urbanites.

By the way... "Timmy, do you like gladiator movies?"

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"Roger Roger!  What's our vector Victor?"  ...  "Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue." 

I agree Cuban.  I think everyone is in agreement Peterbrook coming to downtown is a good thing, but let's be a little respective and responsible than just plunking it in a building because it's for sale.  This building is central to so many things, why would anyone want to put Willy Wonka's Sugar Spectacular there?  Downtown is lacking the infrastructure to sustain true urban or downtown living.  Let the basic fucntion of the building remain as it is... a public use building - you do the math on what programs that includes that could help strengthen the urbanites.

By the way...  "Timmy, do you like gladiator movies?"

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

My favorite was Augustus because he did a swan dive into the chocolate river, that's guts damit. i agree, what the library needs is something that will enhance downtown living and working. Places such as a grocery, restaurants and maybe even a movie theater. and any program we could come up with, someone will automatically throught out the parking card and take the pot... ( a little poker metaphor)... but maybe someone could come up with a novel idea... i believe we call it something like>>> walking. anyways, umpa lumpa>>>>>

"excuse me stewardess, i speak jive".... airplane the movie

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Hey homie, I can dig it. You know he ain't gonna lay no mo' big rap up on you man. Eh. Yo knock yourself a pro slick, gray matter live performas down now take TCB'in man, Leg 'er down 'n smack 'em yak 'em.

'S'mofo butter layin' me to da' BONE! Jackin' me up... tight me!

Follow me?

"Wait a minute. I know you. You're Kareem Abdul-Jabar. You play basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers. I think you're the greatest, but my dad says you don't work hard enough on defense. And he says that lots of times, you don't even run down court. And that you don't really try... except during the playoffs."

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stop calling me shirley. One of the previous RFP responses featured parking in the basement. If it has a retail/loft use that could be plenty.

lets walk a little Jacksonville.. :thumbsup:

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Yes, I don't know the number, but there is considerable space for parking under the building. As far as the parking garage across the street, that was originally constructed as a "temporary garage", however, it has become a permanent fixture on that block.

"Johnny, what can you make out of this? ..... This? Why, I can make a hat or a brooch or a pterodactyl...

"My orders came through. My squadron ships out tomorrow. We're bombing the storage depots at Daiquiri at 1800 hours. We're coming in from the north, below their radar."

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Interesting article in the Jaxdailyrecord.com today

One of Jacksonville's most prominent architects is hoping the destruction of one of his buildings might help generate enough attention to preserve his downtown masterpiece.

Taylor Hardwick is the man responsible for some of the City's most distinct structures including the Haydon Burns Library and Friendship Fountain. Over the past two decades, Hardwick has watched as many of his 1960s-era modernist buildings have given way to more conservative structures built to accommodate more tenants and better technology.

Every time Hardwick watches one of his designs fall to the wrecking ball, he said he feels like he's lost a child. But he understands some of his buildings simply can't accommodate the needs of contemporary developers. That's the case at the 1661 Riverside Avenue Medical Building where the block-long, single-floor structure will be torn down next year to make way for Midland Development Corp.'s mixed use condominium loft community.

Hardwick designed the medical complex in 1957 as an answer to the era

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One of Jacksonville's most prominent architects is hoping the destruction of one of his buildings might help generate enough attention to preserve his downtown masterpiece.

Despite the warm memories, Hardwick accepts that the complex will have to be bulldozed to make way for bigger and better uses. He will even preside over a Dec. 20 ceremony that amounts to the property

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I'm all for preservation, but I still think this building needs to go. I wonder why the architect didn't step up and say this when they tore down the old city hall for his building?

The site is one of a few centralized locations in downtown, available for redevelopment. To put it plain and simple, the Haydon Burns Library is nothing more than a massive suburban box sitting in an urban site that's offensive to the street. The top floors in the building don't even have windows for crying out loud.

Let the request for proposal process finish and lets see what type of proposals are recieved. If the best proposal on the table is to renovate the building, then so be it. If the best proposals is to tear it down, then bring on the bulldozers.

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I'm all for preservation, but ...

The site is one of a few centralized locations in downtown, available for redevelopment.  To put it plain and simple, the Haydon Burns Library is nothing more than a massive suburban box sitting in an urban site that's offensive to the street.  The top floors in the building don't even have windows for crying out loud. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

What about the marble bank, FLorida Life and Bisbee Towers? Want to talk about buildings that are offensive to the street. These buildings have fallen into such disrepair that it isn't even funny. It is a black eye right in the heart of the city. These are buildings that need to go, and they are prime land too. Let's tear these guys down and build another multi-use mid-rise.

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I'm all for preservation, but I still think this building needs to go.  I wonder why the architect didn't step up and say this when they tore down the old city hall for his building?

The site is one of a few centralized locations in downtown, available for redevelopment.  To put it plain and simple, the Haydon Burns Library is nothing more than a massive suburban box sitting in an urban site that's offensive to the street.  The top floors in the building don't even have windows for crying out loud. 

Let the request for proposal process finish and lets see what type of proposals are recieved.  If the best proposal on the table is to renovate the building, then so be it.  If the best proposals is to tear it down, then bring on the bulldozers.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Sounds good to me... i say next on the list should be the laura street trio... its a major area for development and needs to go... and nothing says development like a good implosion. after that let's bring down the old federal courthouse... because honestly it's just to old and useless and nothing more than a box. Are you starting to get my drift. when it comes to modern architecture, everyone has an itchy trigger finger. the building is a piece of history, i have heard people talking about when they were children and visting the library on school trips.

exactly how is the building offensive to the street??? how is it a suburban box, last time i looked the Walmart superstore didn't look like that. with the demolition of the medical building on 1661 riverside we are losing some of the best examples of 60's modern architecture>>>

let me see i have a list of some other buildings i wouldn't mind seeing gone>>> anything First Baptist has ever built, duval county jail, if you are going to save and renovate the St. James and others, let's have some consideration for the history of modernity???

please, just one modern building... its all we ask!

Thanks

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exactly how is the building offensive to the street???  how is it a suburban box, last time i looked the Walmart superstore didn't look like that.  with the demolition of the medical building on 1661 riverside we are losing some of the best examples of 60's modern architecture

Well have you ever walked past it on foot, along Adams, Forsyth, or Ocean? Have you ever walked on the sidewalks facing the cafes and shops, along Laura, north of Adams. One interacts with the environment, at street level and one doesn't.

let me see i have a list of some other buildings i wouldn't mind seeing gone>>>  anything First Baptist has ever built, duval county jail, if you are going to save and renovate the St. James and others, let's have some consideration for the history of modernity???

please, just one modern building... its all we ask!

Thanks

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Just one, what about the CSX Building, Riverplace Tower, the JEA Tower, or the Neighborhood Senior Citizens Center on 1st Street. All those are modern buildings from that time period as well. The city is full of buildings from that era. I don't see the potential lose of this one as being that great, but that's just my opinion. Its kind of like the Heard and today's BOA on Forsyth. Which one would you rather have? Its one thing if it is going to be torn down for a surface parking lot, but if it has to go for a better project, so be it.

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Exactly - the city has let them fall into disrepair.  If they are such significant hirstiruc icons, why are they in the condition they are in? The libray is still a viable building with a lot of life left.  As far as three of the oldest and most significant historic buildings... how come only one is on the historic register?  And yes, the Library sit's on one of the major n/s streets in downtown, but what happened to having "vision" and looking at the "big picture"...  What happens to Laura when the Landing goes through it's renovations?  Sure, it is very unlikely that will ever happen, but hey it's a vision.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I still have the vision, it just doesn't include the Haydon Burns. I'd like to see what proposals are instore for the Haydon Burns Library, before I jump to the side of wanting it to be saved at all costs necessary.

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Just one, what about the CSX Building,...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The CSX building used to be a great building until they screwed up the facelift. The least they could have done was choose some green tinted glass or something to try and respond to the tile color that used to be there.

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