by: abruno in Uncategorized No Comments  

Last weekend, my previously mentioned boyfriend David and I had a date night Downtown. We don’t do a lot of fancy nights out (we are, after all, college students), but the Eat Up Downtown promotion was too good to pass up. After perusing the Eat Up Downtown menus, we both agreed that bb’s sounded like heaven in three courses. So I found a new dress on sale, spent way too much time on my hair, and we hit the town.

Large parties and fellow couples filled the cozy dining room. It appeared we weren’t the only ones with an appetite for bb’s and Eat Up Downtown. We were promptly taken to our table, and what followed was pure culinary bliss.

First Course: Normally, I opt for salads over soups. But something just sounded so wonderful about their homemade and very popular shrimp bisque, and I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. It was hot and creamy, and it was the perfect way to start off my meal. David stuck with his favorite food, salad (I’m not making that up), and I wish I could have taken the dressing home in a to-go cup, because it was delicious and light.

Main Course: There is only one reason I ordered the half-chicken as my entree. Gnocchi mac and cheese. It came in a side cup, and I wish it had come in a side bowl.

A combination of some of my favorite foods, it was a brilliant dish that I couldn’t stop raving about. My chicken was also scrumptious, and by the time I was halfway through with dinner, I was stuffed. David ordered the Thai barbeque porkloin. We both had food envy and ended up splitting both half-and-half.

Dessert: I’m still dreaming about the flourless rocky road chocolate cake I ordered. It was rich and perfect. I’m a confessed chocoholic, which means I know what I’m talking about.

David ordered the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake, and although I barely had room for my dessert, I made sure I had a bite (or three) of his dessert, too.

Even though we were on a level of stuffed that rivaled Thanksgiving, there was definitely room for a couple of cocktails from Dos Gatos. We used the bottom of the Eat Up Downtown comment card to get one of our drinks free (college students know a good deal when they see one). After three courses of homemade, gourmet food, a handcrafted cocktail was the perfect end to our Downtown date night.

You still have a chance to Eat Up Downtown with that special person this weekend. Everyone’s favorite dining promotion has been extended until Sept. 1 at select restaurants. Bring your appetite!

by: Jennifer Hewett-Apperson in Thought Leadership No Comments  

DVI’s Jennifer Hewett-Apperson

“Oh, I never go Downtown. I don’t feel safe!”

How many times have you heard that when talking to someone about Downtown?  I hear this all the time and could not disagree more. Sadly, one of the common misperceptions about Downtown Jacksonville is that it is more dangerous than other parts of town. In a recent Downtown Marketing Collaborative survey, only 33% of respondents think Downtown is safe, 30% are unsure, and 27 % do not think its safe. This could not be farther from the truth.

DVI recently released an updated Safety Paper that provides facts about safety in Downtown Jacksonville.

The fact is that less than 2% of all serious crime in the City of Jacksonville occurs Downtown. Additionally, Downtown has 20 Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office officers on the streets at any given time – that’s more officers per square mile than any other part of the city. DVI’s Downtown Ambassadors are also on the streets seven days a week to provide assistance and an extra set of eyes.

“But what about the homeless people? What do I do if I get panhandled?”

Downtown Jacksonville indeed has a homeless population just like any other major metropolitan area, but the crimes committed by the homeless population are typically non-violent, low-level nuisance crimes. Moreover, it is illegal to panhandle in Downtown Jacksonville. If you are panhandled, do not give money. Instead, call 630-0500 to report it.

The bottom line is Downtown is one of the safest neighborhoods in all of Jacksonville. The key is simply to behave as you would in any other part of town – stow your valuables and lock your car after parking, be aware of your surroundings, and do not give panhandlers money. If you still have concerns, visit our website’s safety information webpage for more information.

by: Admin in Resident Spotlights No Comments  

For the past year and a half, Allison Galloway has called The Carling home. As MOCA Jacksonville‘s director of education, Allison’s commute is a quick walk of a few city blocks, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. We spoke with Allison recently about why she loves her urban-core home:

Allison Galloway

Why did you choose to live Downtown?

My work is right around the corner, and I thrive in a lively urban environment. I enjoy being in the middle of it all: city government, big business, local stores, access to riverfront activities, museums, theater and unique restaurants.

What do you love most about living Downtown?

The “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” feeling as I go about my day! I live in a historic building where I know and like my neighbors. In my building, I’ve gotten to know people who are lawyers, work for the City, have families, are nurses, personal trainers and bail bondsmen. What a fun variety!  Every day to and from work, I say “hello” to my favorite shop owners by name, and when I head to Burrito Gallery, they know I’m there for a cold Newcastle. The Cheers theme song is running through my head most days.

What do think is the biggest misperception about Downtown?

That it is unsafe. I am a single, 33-year-old woman who has lived in major cities in the U.S. and Europe. I have encountered my share of scary situations and none of them while living in Downtown Jacksonville!

The Carling lobby

Do you have favorite Downtown activities?

MOCA events, Chamblin’s, Burrito Gallery, Indochine, Dos Gatos, the Artist Series and the Jacksonville Symphony are my main entertainment venues. I love my hair stylist, Ivey, at Daniel James Salon. If I’m craving ice cream, I head to the shop in the Landing for a banana split. To work it off, I can walk to Riverside Arts Market and back on a Saturday.

For someone who’s looking to move to another part of the city, why would you recommend Downtown?

There is no other city even close to this size where you could afford such a spectacular living situation. Take advantage while you can!

Anything else to add?

I gave up my car eight months ago and can’t believe how great it is.  The cost of a taxi ride or rental car every now and then is nothing compared to a car payment, car insurance and gas every month. More money for other activities!

 

For information on Downtown residences, visit our Downtown Living Spaces directory.

by: Jennifer Hewett-Apperson in Thought Leadership No Comments  

In a recent storyThe Jacksonville Business Journal asked, “Where does a push for more office workers fit into Downtown Jacksonville revitalization?”

Downtown revitalization is a complex process that does not have a single “magic bullet” solution. Similar to other downtowns, Downtown Jacksonville has historically been the center of commerce and business in Northeast Florida. As businesses relocated to the suburbs, taking large numbers of employees with them, it became clear that in order to thrive, Downtown needed to diversify. This diversification has included a push for more residential population and entertainment destinations. By no means does this diminish the importance of office workers to downtowns. In fact, office workers remain critical to Downtown’s success.

According to DVI’s 2012 State of Downtown report, more than 48,000 people work in Downtown Jacksonville. In addition, EverBank has announced a two-floor expansion, Cushman & Wakefield is relocating to 121 Atlantic Place, the Robin Shepard Agency plans to move in to Riverplace Tower, and 200 C2C Solutions, Inc. employees just transitioned into their new office in EverBank Center last week.

In the works are big renovations for the Haydon Burns Library building, a planned center for nonprofits, as well as renovation of the Groover Stuart building into a multi-tenent office building, to name two larger-scale office development initiatives. There is also an emerging “creative cluster” district of more than half a dozen creative agencies doing business in The Elbow area.

Office workers are critical to the success of the more than 100 combined restaurants and bars located in Downtown Jacksonville. They also are key supporters of the more than 100 retail and service-oriented businesses.

While the residential population in Downtown Jacksonville has experienced substantial growth in recent years, the number of residential housing units is still quite limited and not able to accommodate a population that could sustain retailers on its own. Many of the folks who come Downtown on evenings and weekends for entertainment undoubtedly become aware of Downtown’s offerings as a result of working there.

So, where do office workers fit into the revitalization of Downtown?  They are a critical piece of the puzzle.

by: abruno in Uncategorized No Comments  

Every time I visit my older sister in Denver, I’m continually impressed with the city.

We don’t eat at chain restaurants, we never do the same thing twice, and we always have a blast together.

My sister loves me and wants me to be happy –  she also wants me to be happy in Denver. One day, I wised up and realized this. She’s been trying to showcase her city for me, like a PR spokesperson for Denver. I often think about what would show her of  Downtown Jacksonville if I ever get her below the Mason-Dixon Line for a visit. As a Downtown lover and advocate, obviously I’d have a hard time picking my most favorite Downtown restaurant out of the seemingly endless list. There is, however, one in particular that I have a long timeline of obsession with.

   

Chomp Chomp is a Downtown institution, though many people wouldn’t know it because this locally-sourced eatery uses very little advertising. It’s a word-of-mouth type of place that always has a line out the door and never disappoints. It’s worth the wait!

If you’re lucky enough to get a table, do us all a favor and eat fast, because there’s usually a battle royale over the precious eating space; Chomp Chomp’s dining room is smaller than the closet in my first apartment, which is a serious accusation. Still incredibly worth it.

I have made the trek from the office to Chomp Chomp more times than I can count: in the sweltering heat (worth it), in uncomfortable shoes (worth it) and in the rain (did this yesterday; worth it).

Last week, I introduced my boyfriend, David, to Chomp Chomp. We got two entrees and two sodas for $15 as a part of Eat Up Downtown. He was impressed, and I was thrilled to be more knowledgeable than him about something.

Chomp Chomp newbie, David

Things I love about Chomp Chomp:
1. The homemade curry-seasoned potato chips.
2. The salad that makes me want to be the type of person that eats a lot of salads.
3. Their funky, colorful chalkboard menu.
4. Most entrées are a wallet-friendly $7 (accompanied by the aforementioned chips or salad).
5. It’s open super late on weekends for the bar-hopping crowd.
6. Locally-sourced food = good food that’s good for you.
7. It’s an Eat Up Downtown restaurant!

I think my sister has finally accepted that I’ve put down roots in the River City. When I finally get her down here, it’ll be my turn to play host, and I’ll have to pick some of my favorite Downtown spots to show off. Chomp Chomp will definitely make that list; after all, it’s worth it.

Plus, there’s great news for Chomp Chomp fans like myself. Eat Up Downtown has been extended an additional week, so you have plenty of time to pay this hidden gem a visit and enjoy some Downtown grub. Visit the Eat Up Downtown website for all the nitty gritty details, but, most importantly, get off the Internet and go Eat Up Downtown!

by: Valerie Feinberg in Art Walk, Thought Leadership No Comments  

The economic and community benefits of walkable urban places is easily understood when you observe Art Walkers on the first Wednesday of every month, especially when the weather cooperates. An average of 6,000 people attend DVI’s award-winning First Wednesday Art Walk each month, and the event will celebrate its 10th anniversary in November.

Walking through Downtown city streets and exploring Art Walk venues provide opportunity for chance encounters that may lead to new relationships or spontaneous events and collaborations. An interactive city – one that exhibits vitality in high foot traffic and special events – promotes innovation and can be the ultimate catalyst for attracting and retaining new businesses.

Art Walk sets the example of what Downtown should look like on a daily basis, people out shopping, dining and exploring. During Art Walk, the existing businesses program and fill the sidewalks with vendors, artists and live music, creating density. Walking three blocks during this time doesn’t seem far or dull because there is activity among these blocks.

A Brookings Institute study, “Walk this Way: The Economic Promise of Walkable Places in Metropolitan Washington, D.C.” reveals that more walkable communities are stronger economically. The study shares “emerging evidence [that] points to a preference for mixed-use, compact, amenity-rich, transit-accessible neighborhoods or walkable places.”

DVI is dedicated to supporting and implementing elements that define an ideal public realm through elements such as public art, engaging storefronts and cleaning initiatives. We know the extraordinary benefits of a walkable community and look forward to seeing Downtown Jacksonville continue to develop into one – on Art Walk nights and beyond.

by: Terry Lorince in Thought Leadership No Comments  

Dear fellow business leader,

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

JAX2025 Community Survey Results

In 2012, JCCI began the JAX2025 visioning process to determine what kind of city we want to be. One of the outcomes expected of this visioning session was that City leaders would have a tool to know community priorities to make appropriate budgetary decisions.

The results were tabulated: Downtown is a clear priority for Jacksonville residents. The needs are great, and the projects are ready, as evidenced by this week’s news on plans for the Laura Street Trio.

However, this month, City Council’s Finance Committee voted to move the $9 million earmarked for Downtown investment to a discretionary account for Council to allocate to other projects.

The Downtown Investment Authority needs this seed money to grow investment in Downtown and cultivate our collective vision for the city. Join us in voicing your support to keep the $9 million dedicated to Downtown investment by contacting Council today.

-A message from the executive director, Terry Lorince

Read the full “Downtown Jacksonville Update to learn about what’s happening Downtown in the realm of news, initiatives, developments and more. And if you haven’t already signed up for this monthly e-newsletter, sign-up to have all future Updates sent directly to your email inbox.