by: Katherine Hardwick in Business Spotlights No Comments  

Here’s a great article about how Downtown Art Walk has helped fuel the growth of retail business. Daniel Day and Ida Metzger, owners of Diversions, a new relaxation store in the Elks Building along Laura Street, first started exhibiting at Art Walk and soon realized there was a growing market for their  relaxation products.


by: Katherine Hardwick in Historic Preservation (2) Comments  

Despite the efforts we’ve made in historic preservation, there are some buildings that are still a source of concern for us at Downtown Vision. While we’re very fortunate here in Jacksonville to have a number of beautifully renovated historic buildings, we need to ensure that our entire community is working together to preserve what remains.

Renovation Progress
Over the past two decades, Downtown Jacksonville has seen the renovation of a number of historic buildings in the core of Downtown, which adds to the rich fabric of our city. We commend the City of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Committee, and property owners for their efforts in renovating so many of these landmarks, including:

Elks Building
Old Federal Reserve Building
Western Union/MOCA
Greenleaf Building
The Carling
11 East Forsyth
W.A. Knight
Florida Theatre
City Hall/St. James
Central Fire Station
Dyal Upchurch
Holmes Building
Warehouse/Suddath Building
Churchwell Building

Together these buildings provide Downtown Jacksonville with a competitive edge that few other Florida cities have. It’s a compliment we hear over-and-over from out of town and local visitors alike – how surprised they are at the number of historic buildings Downtown. It’s certainly one aspect of our city that makes any visit here memorable. However, there are numerous historic buildings currently in decline Downtown.

Buildings of Concern
Seminole Club
Marble Bank Trio
Ambassador Hotel
Snyder Memorial Church
Haydon Burns Library
MACEO Elk’s Lodge on Broad Street

We can’t afford to let these buildings deteriorate and face demolition. For additional information and to learn about how you can join the conversation, please see our previous post about the importance and economic impact of historic buildings to Downtown.

If you haven’t yet discovered the rich history of Downtown Jacksonville’s buildings, consider participating in a Jacksonville Historical Society tour. You can reach them at or 904.665.0064.

by: Katherine Hardwick in Historic Preservation 1 Comment  

Guaranty Trust and Savings Bank, “The Bostwick Building” (Photo courtesy of The Jacksonville Historical Society)


Historic buildings lend a rich texture to the fabric of Downtown and are integral to maintaining a city’s unique identity. But historic buildings also play a vital role in the economy and potential growth of a city’s downtown.

The economic impact of historical buildings

In 2011, PlaceEconomics documented the economic impact of preservation in its report to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. This study found that historic preservation results in more jobs than new construction, increased property values, increased tourism, fewer environmental impacts, and increased quality of life.

The report stated: “Historic preservation has become a fundamental tool for strengthening American communities. It has proven to be an effective tool for a wide range of public goals, including small business incubation, affordable housing, sustainable development, neighborhood stabilization, center-city revitalization, job creation, promotion of the arts and culture, small-town renewal, heritage tourism, economic development, and others.”  You can view a summary of the report here:

The decline of historic buildings in Jacksonville

In 1991, a historic building survey identified 115 buildings in Downtown Jacksonville that met the criteria for historic designation. By the time of a follow-up survey in 2005, that number had decreased 22 percent to 90 buildings. Some buildings were demolished outright, while others were allowed to deteriorate to the point of collapse. Since the 2005 survey, at least two additional historic buildings have been lost. In a number of instances, only vacant lots have replaced the demolished structures. Of the remaining 88 historic structures, 25 (28 percent) have been designated as local historic landmarks.

We think this is a tragedy. As a community, we must rally to save these remaining historic buildings to preserve the rich history and landscape of Downtown Jacksonville.

If you’re interested in joining the conversation to save The Bostwick Building, we encourage you to:

  1. Write your City Council representative and voice your support for the Bostwick Building and other historic buildings downtown. You can email them directly at:
  2. Contact the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission (JHPC) and encourage them to recommend the Bostwick Building for historic preservation.  You can learn more about them here:
  3. Attend the October 24, 2012 JHPC meeting to show your support.  Details on the meeting can be found in the link above.


Please continue to follow this blog as we share ways for our local residents to get involved and have a voice on preserving and revitalizing Downtown Jacksonville. 

by: Katherine Hardwick in Historic Preservation (2) Comments  
Bostwick Building

Current interior of the Bostwick Building.

Jacksonville is in danger of losing one of its icons. The Bostwick Building, or as many Jacksonville residents know it, the Jaguar Building at 101 E. Bay St. is slated for possible demolition. This means that visitors coming into the city from the Main Street Bridge heading north could see a hole. An empty lot. A missing tooth in the urban landscape. Vacant since the early 1980s and home to the iconic jaguar mural by local artist, Jim Draper, the building has deteriorated significantly over the years.

In August 2012, the building’s owners applied for a demolition permit. We at Downtown Vision, and many other downtown residents and property owners, believe the building is important to our downtown landscape and should be saved from demolition. Built in 1902, and the first building permitted after the Great Fire, the Bostwick Building, originally know as the Guaranty Trust and Savings Building, is eligible for designation as a Local Historic Landmark. On September 27, the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission (JHPC) reviewed this eligibility and issued an advisory recommendation that the structure receive historic designation, thus preventing its demolition.

The City of Jacksonville is now preparing a report on the historical significance of the building, which will be heard at the JHPC meeting on October 24, 2012. The building has historical significance for a number of reasons:

• It is in a prominent location, at the entry to Downtown from the Main Street Bridge heading north.
• It was the first building permitted following the Great Fire in 1901.
• It is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
• It made the Jacksonville Historical Society’s “12 Worth Saving” list.
• It is located in perhaps the most intact block of historic buildings that exists Downtown today.
• It once housed the office of Henry Klutho, a noted architect who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright and designed many iconic Downtown buildings, including the St. James Building.

If the JHPC finds that the building meets its criteria for designation as a historical landmark, a public hearing will be scheduled and City Council will take up the matter.


Please continue to follow this blog as we share ways for our local residents to get involved and have a voice on preserving and revitalizing Downtown Jacksonville.