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Post-Super Bowl Plans

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By Cathleen O'Toole

First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- The money keeps rolling in at a Super Bowl souvenir shop on Bay Street. But in just a matter of hours, this tenant is moving out.

"We close on Wednesday," explains Lee Kil, "then we go back to our houses in Colorado."

When the caps and cups go, the city wants new business flowing in. That was the idea behind Mayor John Peyton's Bay Street Town Center, unveiled back in April. Now backers of the $2.2 million plan for new landscaping, grand light fixtures and sweeping sidewalks, hope to see it finished.

"The city didn't do all that for the Super Bowl," explains Jim Bailey, who owns several properties in the Town Center core. Clearly he liked to see all this action, so much so he's ordering up another party soon.

"We hope in the next couple of months to have a big street party or grand opening of Bay Street whether we have tenants in there or not we're going to open the door, have artists' renderings," says Bailey.

The goal: when the 30-day tenants leave, long term tenants move in and stay.

"We know we're not going to go in there and fill it with tenants all of a sudden. It's going to be one or two or three at a time," says Bailey.

Merchants who made a mint on trinkets and tees think the plan has a nice ring.

"As outsiders, we also buy property. We think this would be a great place to invest," says Kil.

Here is the video version of the report.

I've also posted the video, because Cathleen O'Toole mentiones something pretty important that wasn't in print. She says,

"There are three leases in the works, but the propery owners don't want to discuss who they are courting, but we heard they are looking at chains, think, Carabba's think Starbucks, think Panera"

She said it, not me.... While I'd live to see downtown developed with local places, the chains could be the boost to get it off the ground.

By the way, the Bay St. town center planning began in Delaney's administration, not Peyton's.

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I saw this report as well. Hopefully, they'll be able to pull off something. I think we all saw the potential that Bay Street has to become an dining and entertainment destination.

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Super Development In Riverfront Future

By Kyle Meenan

First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- While no-one can be certain of the exact future of Downtown Jacksonville development, experts say we only need look at other Super Bowl cities like Tampa and San Diego to see what kind of growth followed their big games.

In the early 1980's, Tampa had just three moderate high rises. Today it boasts a spectacular skyline of high-rise office buildings, condominiums and shopping centers.

In the mid-1980's, San Diego's downtown waterfront was undeveloped with slums nearby.

Then the city hosted it's first Super Bowl, and the area underwent a magnificent transformation.

Today that same downtown waterfront includes a state-of-the-art convention center, luxury high-rises, marinas and high dollar appeal.

Now, say many, it's our turn.

"What we did is we put our best foot forward. And consequently this is not the area that no one knows about anymore," said Jacksonville architect Jack Diamond of the Rink Design Partnership, Inc.

"This is the area that I think people are beginning to understand why the NFL chose to be here, and why the rest of us are all here and what kind of vision we have for what we're going to do," said Diamond.

Of particular interest is the area on the North Bank just East of downtown by the Maxwell House Coffee plant. "From the Hogan's Creek all the way around to the Matthews bridge there are only three potential owners. They include the city, owning the Sports fields and Arena, the Leavitt family, owning much of the undeveloped land by Talleyrand leading up to the Matthews bridge and of course the Shipyards."

It is 300-acres, ripe for development.

"And we are seeing that kind of opportunity. A lot of developers are coming in, seeing that kind of opportunity for our city and I think they're going to be taking advantage of it," said Diamond.

The South Bank is also available for tremendous growth, thanks to the mighty St. Johns River. Already the Auchter Company is building a high-rise condominium building to be known as the Peninsula.

Jaguars' owner Wayne Weaver told the media on Tuesday that he fully expects the forty-plus acre site of the NFL experience to be developed into hotels, high-rises or condominiums and shops.

And the potential is both North and South.

"But the developers we're seeing are coming up and trying to take a look at every single square inch of downtown riverfront," said Diamond, adding, that with growth, comes tremendous responsibility.

"We don't need growth for growth's sake. But I think if we have proper growth at the same time, if we get a vision for what we want to have, we would invite other people to come in and be a part of that vision."

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I hope a residual effect might be that the people of Jax develop thicker skins. Everyone was hypersensitive to the barrage of criticism thrown our way.....myself included. A more sophisticated city wouldn't have paid it the slightest bit of attention. I think the problem was made worse by the local media scrutinizing every last review & comment made by out of town media. Talk about inferioty complex........the city would have done better to have ignored it entirely & not spend a second of air time on anything outside media said. It made me cringe how local anchors were fishing for compliments every time they asked someone in an interview "what do you think of Jacksonville?". Enough already.

As far as the economic impact, I was hoping Trump would take a mosey on downtown & buy out Bay St in it's entirety, plan to build a couple of luxury hotels & a casino. I wonder if he checked out our downtown area at all.

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^Unfortunately you won't see a casino popping up anywhere in Florida, outside of Indian Reservations. It doesn't make a lot of sense, considering the State sponsers the Lottery and local Churches offer bingo, but this is a discussion for another thread.

I think we're in for some good times, but instead of focusing just on what people outside of the region think of the town and its potential, what local residents take from this experience is much more important. For downtown and our inner city neighborhoods to really become vibrant, locals must make a better effort to invest in the area and support the establishments already here. Vibrancy is obtained by a series of diverse small projects, not from selling 50 acres to one large developer who decides to put up unaffordable housing on it.

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I hope  a residual effect might be that the people of Jax develop thicker skins. Everyone was hypersensitive  to the barrage of criticism thrown our way.....myself included. A more sophisticated city wouldn't have paid it the slightest bit of attention. I think the problem was made worse by the local media scrutinizing every last review & comment made by out of town media. Talk about inferioty complex........the city would have done better to have ignored it entirely & not spend a second of air time on anything outside media said. It made me cringe how local anchors were fishing for compliments every time they asked someone in an interview "what do you think of Jacksonville?". Enough already.

      As far as the economic impact, I was hoping Trump would take a mosey on downtown & buy out Bay St in it's entirety, plan to build a couple of luxury hotels & a casino. I wonder if he checked out our downtown area at all.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

was Trump actually in town? if so, i haven't heard about it up until this point.

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Please spare me the casinos and the gambling industry in general. The moral issue aside, they are just plain gaudy. Only desperate, economically depressed areas sell out to those things (Vegas (a desert before Gambling, the state of Mississippi, Atlantic City). Jacksonville sold out to polluting mills in the first half of the 1900's and has been paying the price ever since, even after they cleaned up their act.

Gambling may be a fast way to fill up the riverfront but I'd rather wait on the offices, condos and parks myself. It may take longer, but it's coming and it always better to hold out for quality. Bay Street will be just fine, put in a convention center at the current courthouse site, and it will take off. Just ask San Diego.

I read that Trump was in town for the SB, but I wouldn't expect to see development result from it. I'm sure he goes to every Super Bowl, but he sticks to only the biggest cities for business.

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Gambling may be a fast way to fill up the riverfront but I'd rather wait on the offices, condos and parks myself.  It may take longer, but it's coming and it always better to hold out for quality.  Bay Street will be just fine, put in a convention center at the current courthouse site, and it will take off.  Just ask San Diego.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Where is San Diego's convention center in relation with the Gaslamp District? From my travels, convention center's seem to offer nothing but dead space, when not in operation. Although the Adams Mark, could act as a convention center hotel, the courthouse site may also be too small to invest millions of dollars on project, that wouldn't be able to expand, in the future. If Bay is to become an entertainment district, the area would be better off being mixed use, with commercial & entertainment, lining Bay, and residential lining the Riverwalk.

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I read that Trump was in town for the SB, but I wouldn't expect to see development result from it. I'm sure he goes to every Super Bowl, but he sticks to only the biggest cities for business.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

although, he IS building in Tampa right now.

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He had to be here. I saw his yacht downtown by Talleyrand. Also, Jacksonville first of all just needs to have more residences downtown. More restaurants and attractions will follow as the demand increases to turn downtown Jacksonville into a 24 hour city.

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Where is San Diego's convention center in relation with the Gaslamp District?  From my travels, convention center's seem to offer nothing but dead space, when not in operation.  Although the Adams Mark, could act as a convention center hotel, the courthouse site may also be too small to invest millions of dollars on project, that wouldn't be able to expand, in the future.  If Bay is to become an entertainment district, the area would be better off being mixed use, with commercial & entertainment, lining Bay, and residential lining the Riverwalk.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

San Diego's center is so large that the distance depends on which part of it you are in, but the shortest distance is about 1.5 blocks. The important thing is that it is a WALKABLE distance.

Remember that the City Hall annex land is available too. And the city already owns both sites. If you look at a map of downtown, the courthouse block is just about the largest single block in all of downtown (including the parking lot of course).

My idea would be to put retail on the Bay Street side ground level. The Riverwalk side would have retail as well. These would only extend 50-80 feet deep from the sidewalk. There would be an entrance to the convention center in the middle of the Riverwalk frontage. This entrance would also serve as the lobby for a high-rise condo that would rise 30-50 stories above the retail shops.

There would also be a Bay Street entrance to the convention center, but most of the Bay Street frontage (50-80 ' deep) would be devoted to restaurants and other retail. The remainder of the block would hold the convention center itself. With sufficient escalators, a two or even three story center could work well. Baltimore's center is a good example of this. The second and three floors could utilize the area above the Bay Street retail. The design of the Bay Street exterior would be designed to look like the opposite side of Bay St. (where The Churchwell building, et al are located).

If that still is an insufficient amount of space for the convention center, the City Hall annex land could be used. A parking garage could be provided on the site of the current Landing lot between the Main St bridge and the Adam's Mark. Anyway, Tony Sleiman was planning that eventually as part of a future high rise mixed use phase. Also, the old Daniel Building that is now part of the Adam's Mark could be altered to included more parking in place of the current meeting space.

This would be a true mixed use project that would have life even when a convention is not using it. It would return a portion of the property back to the tax rolls (the condos & retail protions), and the city already owns the land, and no longer needs the buildings on them.

Conventioneers want everything within walking distance. They don't want to rent a car and the sponsors don't want to deal with long shuttle rides. The Convention business is competitive and the meeting planners can be choosey.

This site would provide a 966 bed hotel, the Landing (which could more easily support an expansion with the center there), the Bay Street Town Center, a water taxi stop, the Riverwalk (plus the new shops I mentioned), and great views of all the lighted bridges, all within steps of each other.

It's worth at least a serious study IMO.

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although, he IS building in Tampa right now.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Intereesting. I didn't know that. Maybe the next winner of the Apprentice will do a Jax project. :thumbsup:

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Personally, I think a convention center on the river by the stadium would be best.(It can share parking with Alltel, and we can run the skyway down there) A convention center is essentially a dressed up warehouse, and we don't really need one of those in the town center.

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Not to step on any toes, but do we realy need a large convention center? I mean, i agree that what we have is too small, but I think we should shoot for a moderately sized one and not a huge convention center. Nationaly, convention center usage has declined for several years now. The only realy exceptions to this rule are orlando, vegas and maybe atlanta. Everywhere else, convention centers are becoming financial drains. I think Jacksonville needs to think outside the box with the chance the Super Bowl gave it. I dont want to be considered part of South Georgia, but do we really want to be Orlando as well? This is a great city with a lot of potential. We have a diverse ecomomy, excellent shipping routets (rail, hwy, sea) temprate locale, relativly inexpensive land value. Though I know I'm thinking on somewhat of a grand scale, JAX, would be a perfect city for real international Commerce. WE are the PERFECT trade city. If you really think about it, what other city along the east coast (except for NY) has so many geographical. political, and economic factors in its favor as much as we do. But then again, it's jsut my opinion and as a whole, thats all its worth.

Cheers

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I agree, we don't need a super-large convention center. But we do need to do something. The current Prime Osbourne remains unacceptably small. It's barely big enough for boat shows. At something like 300,000 sqft total, there are probably bigger WalMarts.

I'd be perfectly happy to see them expand the current Prime onto its rear parking lot. They could easily upsize it to 600k-900K depending on how many floors they build. (But then where would everyone park!!! Oh! My! God!)

I don't really see the need for an old courthouse site convention center, unless there were lots and lots of design requirements like Vic mentioned. Then it might be cool. Bay street retail, riverfront highrise condos, etc. But would you trust the city to do it right?? (Though I'm sure it was one of the sites they must have looked at in their secret study).

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Yes, it was in the secret study. I would hope that they would be really careful with the design of a new convention center. No matter where it's placed, I'd like to see some residential/retail/maybe even office added to it, with good street interaction. I'd rather see it in the core of downtown, than in the outskirts like the sports complex.

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Yes, it was in the secret study.  I would hope that they would be really careful with the design of a new convention center.  No matter where it's placed, I'd like to see some residential/retail/maybe even office added to it, with good street interaction.  I'd rather see it in the core of downtown, than in the outskirts like the sports complex.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hopefully though the outskirts by the sports complex will be filled in soon with many new projects. The convention center will definitely become a major issue within the next couple of years. I am just hoping that it will not become an issue like the courthouse. :unsure:

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Deals already cooking post Super Bowl

Based on information from Mayor John Peyton and Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce executive Jerry Mallot, I've drawn these conclusions about the prospects entertained during Super Bowl XXXIX:

The chamber had "direct" control of 20 guests, of which 11 were prospects or site selectors and the others were spouses or other companions. The chamber also worked with nine more prospects outside those 20 guests.

Those prospects comprised executives of five companies looking for sites along with the site selectors who represent companies that are searching for locations.

Those five companies probably were in aerospace, biomedical, trade, distribution and financial services.

Those five also represented current or potential "near-term" deals.

There's some confidence the city will land at least one of the deals, if not more, and the first decision could come by summer or early fall, if not before.

If all chose Jacksonville, they would create 1,000 jobs.

One is a corporate headquarters and another is described as an Eastern seaboard headquarters.

In addition, Peyton referred to the port and expects an "announcement in coming weeks" as well as more business from International Forest Products Corp., owned by Bob Kraft, owner of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. The Jacksonville Port Authority hosted executives of a steamship carrier that might bring 80 to 100 ships a year through the port taking goods back and forth to Latin America.

Then there's the mysterious Project Pine Tree that also is being discussed within the staff of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission. Mallot goes silent on that one, and Peyton says he's aware of a project by that name but won't say who it is or what region it is considering.

Peyton told the Mortgage Bankers Association of Jacksonville on Wednesday that economic results "won't be overnight."

"It will be long-term cultivation process," he said, although he said there were "some big prospects in that group" of visiting prospects and "a good many" are on the short list.

Peyton said the chamber used the opportunity to "reach out" to the projects, and many "came here in confidence."

Peyton explained that aerospace prospects are attracted to Cecil Field; that Jacksonville's medical centers created a "critical mass" for the biomedical field; that trade and distribution are "a very viable option that plays to our strength"; and that "we continue to have top prospects" in financial services.

The Super Bowl, he said, "is the beginning of a long-term economic change."

Mallot spoke Wednesday to the area chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties. After his speech, Mallot said the chamber would send staff members on recruitment trips in the United States and to Europe and Canada to capitalize on the Super Bowl-generated awareness of Jacksonville.

Mallot, the chamber's executive vice president, expects a 25 percent increase in prospects this year. He said about 60 prospects are considering the city now and he anticipates 75 to 80 by the end of 2005.

"We'll never be the same," he said. "We'll see aggressive development downtown and in the suburbs. We'll see aggressive investment."

karen.mathisjacksonville.com, (904) 359-4305

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61634_200.jpg

Extending waves of welcome

City's Tourist Development Council wants to turn motorists into money-spending visitors

By CHRISTOPHER CALNAN

The Times-Union

The Jacksonville Tourist Development Council is considering a $500,000 combination sign and electronic message board on the southbound side of Interstate 95 with the hope of turning passing motorists into money-spending visitors.

A TDC subcommittee presented the idea to the Development Council Thursday, but the TDC decided to delay acting on the proposal until May so it could get more information.

"This is a lot of money," TDC Chairwoman Elaine Brown told the board. "I happen to think it's a great idea. I want to get a clearer picture of land acquisition, of land use and legal issues."

Under the proposal submitted to the TDC, the 28-foot-high structure would include a four-color message board combined with "Welcome to Jacksonville" in a suspension bridge motif.

The sign and lighting would cost more than $300,000. Other costs would include $5,000 for land acquisition and $30,000 for landscape and irrigation.

christopher.calnanjacksonville.com, (904) 359-4404

I like the idea and I like the design. I really like the new and continuing emphasis on developing a Bridge theme for Jacksonville. Put one at each I-95 entrance to Jax. The city limits aren't ever going to move anyway.

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^I love that idea, but I'm not so sure about the design. It might be a little too classical. I like what they did to the I-95 bridge near the new Baptist Medical Center. It's more of a minimalist design down there. But I would love to see both city limits highways get welcome signs!

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^I love that idea, but I'm not so sure about the design.  It might be a little too classical.  I like what they did to the I-95 bridge near the new Baptist Medical Center.  It's more of a minimalist design down there.  But I would love to see both city limits highways get welcome signs!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I haven't seen the new I-95 bridge, but I understand it looks good. Each sign/entrance treatment could and should be unique. Don't forget there is an I-10 entrance too. Nothing wrong with doing some of the heavier traveled US highways either, though a smaller budget for those would be warranted. That gives 3 or more major chances to use several styles.

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That is a good idea because most people really don't stop but just drive through the city. If we could catch their eye, they might spend some money in town and visit some of the attractions. Brilliant!

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