by: Terry Lorince in Thought Leadership No Comments  
Terry Lorince, DVI executive director

Terry Lorince, DVI executive director

DVI offers our full support of Mayor Brown’s proposed FY14-15 budget. We’re excited to see $22 million in investments proposed to moved Downtown revitalization efforts forward. Three additional line items – $750,000 for the Downtown Investment Authority’s Retail Enhancement Grant Program, $1 million seed funding for the day-to-day management of Hemming Plaza (over 18 months) and the license agreement for the USS Adams to operate at The Shipyards – are also moving through City Council. Once approved, these initiatives will create great change Downtown.

As our budget is also pending City Council approval, we feel it’s important to reinforce DVI’s role in these revitalization efforts. DVI is focused on supporting the development efforts of the DIA through activation and advocacy. However, more than 50% of our budget is dedicated to providing basic municipal clean-and-safe services. Over the past decade, the City has cut more than $400,000 annually in clean-and-safe services, mostly targeted in small parts of the core. In the past year, DVI provided more than $560,000 in clean-and-safe services to our 90-block district. For example, in June alone, Downtown Ambassadors picked up 170 bags of litter from sidewalks; removed 47 graffiti tags; advised more than 100 individuals that panhandling is illegal; cleared or cleaned 60 homeless campsites; and provided directions or maps 1,300 times.

We’re thrilled the Mayor’s Office and the DIA recognize the value of the services DVI provides and recommend the City include its “fair share” rate of funding based on property values.

I urge you to contact City Council today to voice your support for the $22 million budgeted for Downtown investment in 2014-2015.

Screen shot 2014-07-31 at 3.35.17 PMRead 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.

by: Admin in Developments No Comments  
USS Adams Museum

USS Adams Museum rendering

Three Downtown projects are working their way through City Council at this time:

  • $1 million in City funds for the private sector management of Hemming Park. The Friends of Hemming Park are to raise $250,000 toward this initiative. Hope fully this legislation will be approved by City Council with the management agreement in place in September.
  • $750,000 for a Retail Enhancement Program to help reduce Downtown’s 35% vacancy rate and also to attract creative office space Downtown.
  • A license agreement between the City and the USS Adams to allow the USS Adams organization to run their museum operations at the Shipyards.
Screen shot 2014-07-31 at 1.39.17 PM

Scoreboard unveiling on July 26. Follow @DTJax on Instagram for even more great Downtown photos.

Other major development happenings in July:

  • EverBank Field revealed the largest scoreboards in the world in a special ceremony July 26.
  • 220 Riverside announced the first tenant of the retail section of its site – a yet-to-be-named fine-dining restaurant by Top Chef star Kevin Sbraga.
  • Jacques Klempf purchased the Bostwick building this month with a winning bid of $165,100. While he has proposed a restaurant/rooftop bar concept for the space previously, Klempf has yet to reveal concrete restoration plans for the historic building.
  • The Bank of America Tower – and two other buildings – were bought for a total of $88 million. Purchased by Santa-Monica-based Hertz Investment Group, the deal included the tower along with a connecting five-floor, almost 42,000-square-foot office building (135 W. Bay St.) and a nine-story, 93,000-square-foot parking garage (25 W. Forsyth St.).
  • Azucena Corner Deli is expected to be the next occupant of the restaurant space at the corner of Ocean and Forsyth streets.
  • In a $43 million deal, EverBank’s naming rights to Jacksonville’s football stadium were extended for the next 10 years.
  • City Council gave final approval of $425,000 in tax incentives for the expansion of the Downtown Maxwell House coffee plant. Kraft Foods, owner of Maxwell House, plans to invest $16 million in the facility, adding more coffee production and packaging lines.
  • The Shoppes on Riverside retail development changed its name to Brooklyn Station on Riverside. Tenants will include The Fresh Market, Corner Bakery, Zoes Kitchen, Hair Cuttery and, announced last week, Lucy’s Gift Boutique.
  • The Jacksonville Transportation Authority plans to move its headquarters Downtown to 121 Atlantic Place. This temporary location will include a centralized customer service center. JTA plans to leave Atlantic Place upon the completion of the proposed Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center, which will house JTA headquarters permanently.
  • The Duval County School Board approved its part of a land swap proposal that would transfer .47 acres of its parking lot to JEA. This will allow for the construction of a connecting road between Prudential Drive and JEA’s 30-acre riverfront site. If JEA approves its portion of the swap next month, 1.33 acres of the site would be transferred to the School Board property for construction of a replacement parking area. This is all in effort to make access to the riverfront site easier – and more viable for development.

by: Jennifer Hewett-Apperson in Downtown Ambassadors, Downtown Partners No Comments  

Screen shot 2014-07-30 at 3.56.07 PMThis month, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office added a squad of six daytime bicycle officers Downtown, doubling the amount of officers Monday through Friday during the day. The new team will focus on developing relationships with building security guards and ground floor businesses as well as reducing nuisance activity, especially camping and panhandling. Downtown remains one of Jacksonville’s safest neighborhoods with more officers per square mile than any other Jacksonville neighborhood.

Nuisance reports for June show an uptick in homeless campsites (40%) and loitering (25%) versus the monthly average, while panhandling numbers remained flat. Downtown Ambassadors continue to be a major force multiplier when it comes to safety Downtown. In all three areas, Ambassadors were able to diffuse the situations more than 90% of the time without JSO officer assistance. Ambassadors also reported the number of instances of disorderly conduct, fights and assaults remains low, averaging only four cases each month.

As always, remember: Downtown is part of the Riverfront Enhancement Area, where it is illegal to panhandle and sleep on public property. If you are panhandled or witness nuisance activity, report it to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500.

There’s a free ride you don’t want to miss this weekend, set to transport you and your friends to an unforgettable night Downtown. With months of successful runs of the Riverside/Avondale Night Trolley, several community groups partnered to bring the first Downtown Night Trolley to local urbanites 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, Aug. 1, and Saturday, Aug. 2.

Screen shot 2014-07-29 at 11.16.06 AMThanks to a partnership between Downtown Vision, Inc., the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, TransformJax, The Jacksonville Landing, The Elbow and Downtown bars and hotels, locals can catch a safe, reliable ride to and from nightlife fun Downtown, with nine stops on the route, including Downtown’s nightlife district, The Elbow.

Here’s a great round-up from our friends at Metro Jacksonville on ways to ride the trolley this weekend, including info on how to ride at no cost:

  • Pick up a free STAR card to ride the trolley all night by making a purchase from Tuesday through Thursday at participating Downtown merchants. Participating merchants include: the restaurants of The Jacksonville Landing, Mark’s, Dive Bar, Burrito Gallery, Indochine, 1904 Music Hall, The Hourglass Pub, The Volstead, Dos Gatos, Burro Bar and Underbelly.
  • Purchase a STAR card to ride the trolley all night for only $4 by visiting Mellow Mushroom Avondale JAX, European Street Cafe, Let Them Eat Cake!, Open Road Bicycles of Avondale, The Silver Cow, Intuition Ale Works, Bold City Brewery and Grassroots Natural Market.
  • Without a STAR card, it will cost $1.50 each time you board a trolley. Exact change is required, drivers cannot make change nor accept credit cards. STAR cards cannot be purchased on board the trolley. The Downtown Night Trolley is a separate route and maintains a separate schedule from the Riverside Avondale Night Trolley. Without a STAR card, transfers between trolleys require a fare of $1.50 (exact cash fare required).
Downtown Night Trolley route map. View it in real time Aug. 1-2 at trolley.jaxmob.com on your smartphone.

Night Trolley route map. View it in real time Aug. 1-2 at trolley.jaxmob.com on your smartphone.

For more information on this Downtown Night Trolley trial run – including real-time smartphone app information – visit downtownnighttrolley.com and read the full Metro Jacksonville post. A list of weekend happenings to check out once you’re off the trolley can be found at DVI’s events calendar. Volunteers interested in helping with trolley runs this weekend should contact Mike Field at mikefieldjax@gmail.com.

by: Katherine Hardwick in Advocacy No Comments  
JAX2025 Community Survey Results

JAX2025 Community Survey Results

“Creating a city of opportunity means investing in our Downtown. We want Downtown Jacksonville to become a vibrant destination for people to work, live and visit. A great city depends on a great Downtown.”

- Mayor Alvin Brown

DVI applauds Mayor Brown’s commitment to a revitalized Downtown and offers full support for the proposed Downtown investments in Mayor Brown’s 2014-2015 Fiscal Year Budget. The budget is currently in review with City Council and will be approved by the end of September.

 

 

Revitalizing Downtown Jacksonville

The Jacksonville Landing: As part of revitalization plans, the City of Jacksonville will invest $11.8 million in public infrastructure through the CIP to support the first phase of improvements, including a wider plaza along the Northbank Riverwalk, public space and broader access at Hogan Street. Demolition of existing structures is included. The vision for reinvigorating the Jacksonville Landing includes new retail, housing and event space.

The Shipyards: Mayor Brown has made redeveloping the Shipyards a major priority to continue investment in Downtown. To activate environmental remediation efforts, the CIP makes an initial investment of $1.25 million.

Former Duval County Courthouse: To continue efforts to upgrade Downtown, the former county courthouse will be demolished to provide new opportunities for public or private development. The CIP invests $4.2 million.

Metropolitan Park: The capital improvement plan invests $250,000 to begin the design of a new Metropolitan Park that maximizes its role as an entertainment venue.

Downtown Streets: To continue making Downtown the best experience possible, the City will invest $1 million through the CIP to design the transition from unwieldy one-way streets to more user-friendly two-way streets.

Downtown Lighting and Signage: Both Mayor Brown and the DIA have made enhancing the experience of visiting Downtown a priority. Lighting and signage will be improved through an investment of $1.5 million in the CIP.

Northbank Riverwalk: Mayor Brown supports upgrades of $3 million through the CIP to continue maximizing the potential of the pedestrian park along our river.

Downtown Investment Authority: Mayor Brown proposes providing $1.21 million in annual funding for the DIA through the general fund to finance non-capital projects that will spur interest and investment in Downtown.

FC Armada: As previously announced, the City will partner with new North American Soccer League (NASL) team FC Armada to hold its games in the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville for the next three years. Through the general fund, the City will cover up to $700,000 in operational expenses and make a one-time capital investment of $300,000.

Main Library: The general fund budget would restore hours at the Main Library in Downtown Jacksonville, while the CIP would invest in public spaces at the Main Library.

Downtown Vision: So that the City can be consistent with other Downtown property owners, Mayor Brown proposed a $152,340 increase in the City’s annual contribution to Downtown Vision.

One Spark: To increase Jacksonville’s role and success in this signature, destination creator festival, Mayor Brown supports doubling the City’s direct investment to $100,000, with a similar amount available through in-kind contributions of City services.

Budget items also with City Council for approval are: $750,000 for the Downtown Investment Authority’s Retail Enhancement Grant Program and $1 million seed funding for the day-to-day management of Hemming Plaza (over 18 months).

Please contact City Council to voice your support for Downtown today.

 

by: Admin in Placemaking (2) Comments  
Jenny Hager with her "Dance of the Jellyfish"

Jenny Hager with her “Dance of the Jellyfish”

Come September, an eight-foot-tall jellyfish will soon leave its home at the University of North Florida for the urban life of Downtown Jacksonville.

The sculpture, by artist and UNF sculpture professor Jenny Hager, is one of 13 pieces that make up Sculpture Walk Jax. This one-year outdoor sculpture exhibition – and Spark Grant recipient – is set to open in Main Street Park Sept. 12 and run through September 2015.

“I can’t wait to see the sculptures in the park and around Downtown,” said Hager, the visionary behind Sculpture Walk Jax. “I think it will bring the space more to life. I’ve been working on this project for over a year, and it will be wonderful to see it become ‘real.’”

Juried by Brooklyn, N.Y., artist Marsha Pels, 10 sculptures will occupy in Main Street Park, and three more will be installed around Downtown, including at the JAX Chamber. There will also be two sculptural benches and a sculptural bike rack at the park.

“Public art has the ability to breathe new life into an underutilized environment,” Hager said. “It creates a sense of place and serves as a visual landmark. The sculptures attract people, and the people make the place more friendly.”

Local, regional and international art will be featured in the exhibition. Listed alphabetically, the following artists’ work will be displayed in Main Street Park:

"Intersection Aluminum" by Robert Coon

“Intersection” by Robert Coon

  • Robert Coon (Vero Beach)
  • Jenny Hager (Jacksonville)
  • Sherry Hill (Jacksonville)
  • Hanna Jubran (Grimesville, N.C.)
  • Jason Lake (Orlando)
  • Aisling Millar (Jacksonville)
  • Susanne Roewer (Germany)
  • Melissa Russell (Jacksonville)
  • Andrew Smith (Oxford, Miss.)
  • Durant Thompson (Oxford, Miss.)
  • Lance Vickery (Jacksonville)
  • Brett Waller (Jacksonville)
  • Joni Younkins-Herzog (Sarasota)

The sculptural benches and bike racks were made by the following artists:

  • Jenny Hager – sculptural bench (Jacksonville)
  • David Main – sculptural bench (Jacksonville)
  • Lance Vickery – sculptural bike rack (Jacksonville)

“I modeled this program on Knoxville’s Art in Public Places program,” Hager said. “They have a beautiful park, great restaurants and great market days. It is in an area of their Downtown that was once blighted and is now very energetic and fun to visit. I’m hoping this will be great for Jacksonville’s Spark District, igniting the same kind of energy.”

"Opposing Forces" by Hanna Jubran

“Opposing Forces” by Hanna Jubran

Sculpture Walk Jax will celebrate its grand opening the entire weekend of Sept. 12, kicking off with a guided tour beginning at 6 p.m. that Friday. The opening coincides with the Connection Festival, which will have live music, yoga sessions, food trucks and art.

“My hope is that Jacksonville will really embrace these sculptures,” Hager said. “I hope people will picnic in the park, do yoga alongside the sculptures or walk their dogs at Main Street Park.”

For more information on Sculpture Walk Jax, visit sculpturewalkjax.com or ‘like’ Sculpture Walk Jax on Facebook. Following the exhibition, the works of art will be available for purchase. The project is sponsored by A & K Machine and Fabrication, Atlantic Powder Coating, Auld and White, the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, Pedroni Cast Stone and Concrete, and Preston H. Haskell.

by: Admin in Events No Comments  
Alliance members social Thursday, July 17.

Alliance members social Thursday, July 17.

Now more than 100 members strong, Downtown Vision Alliance held its first social last Thursday. Graciously hosted by The Art Center Cooperative, about 40 guests – members and non-members – mingled amongst local art while enjoying refreshments and networking.

Guests were also able to enjoy Jaxsons Night Market across the street that evening. The market takes place the third Thursday of every month.

“This was a great kick-off to many more member gatherings to come, and it was great having multiple events in the same block to bring even more folks Downtown,” said DVI Director of Strategic Partnerships Valerie Feinberg, who manages The Alliance initiative. “We hope to create unique, exclusive member events where everyone can take full advantage of their Alliance memberships.”

Not a member of The Alliance yet? It takes just five minutes to sign up, and individual memberships start at only $20. In addition to socials, members receive Alliance e-newsletters to keep you in-the-know, exclusive volunteer opportunities and Downtown discounts and deals through the Discover Downtown card. With the great deals offered for Discover Downtown card-holders, your membership quickly pays for itself. Learn more at The Alliance’s official website, discoverdtjax.com.

“For just $20, you’re investing in priceless efforts to renew and revitalize our beautiful Downtown,” Feinberg said. “And all the membership perks? They’re just a really fun bonus.”