by: Terry Lorince in Thought Leadership 1 Comment  
Terry Lorince, DVI executive director

Terry Lorince, DVI executive director

We’ve been busy this month keeping an eye on the City Council budget process and its implications for Downtown.

As we write this e-mail, there is still a lot we don’t know except there is not a lot of available City funds out there. The City’s contribution to DVI’s budget remains flat at $311,660, not the $464,000 we requested.

Friday, City Council will address the Capital Improvement Program, so we’ll look forward to seeing the capital improvement projects approved by Council and will keep you posted on this issue.

Screen shot 2014-08-28 at 5.20.43 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 (3) Comments  

Catch up on this month’s news in Downtown developments:

  • Landing rendering

    Landing rendering

    The Jacksonville Landing released new development plans for its property this month. The plans call for a complete demolition and constructing two new multi-story, mixed-use structures that would include about 320 apartments (potentially 500+ residents); retail space for restaurants, coffee shops and nightlife venues; and possibly a hotel. Laura Street would extend to the river along with a new street added along the riverfront. The Main Street Bridge ramp would be removed, and the riverbank would become public green space, four times the green space currently available. The cost for the buildings is an estimated $55-$75 million, and Landing owner Toney Sleiman is asking the City to commit $11.8 million for the public space improvements. The Landing plans to submit an economic development agreement to the City in November. The project, which will take 18-24 months to complete, would likely not move forward without the City’s commitment. A public meeting for input on the plans is in the works, date to be determined.

  • In conjunction with the proposed Landing plans, the Florida Department of Transportation invites you to attend a public hearing to discuss the proposed closure of the on-ramp from Independent Drive to the Main Street Bridge. The proposed ramp closure is being requested by the City of Jacksonville, consistent with their plans for the redevelopment of the Jacksonville Landing. The hearing will take place Thursday, Sept. 25, at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront hotel. The open house portion is 4:30-6:30 p.m., with the overview and public comment period beginning at 6:30 p.m.
  • Berkman II on Bay Street

    Berkman II on Bay Street

    Choate Construction Co., owners and original contractors of the long-abandoned Berkman II condominium tower, recently met with potential developer Cocke Finkelstein Inc. and City economic development officials to discuss possibilities for the site. Ideas included apartments, retail space and workforce housing. City incentives are expected to be part of the project if it moves forward.

  • Design work on JTA’s Jacksonville Transportation Center is expected to begin early next year, with construction to begin in 2016 on a four-year completion timeline. This transportation hub will be built adjacent to the Prime Osborn Convention Center and connect many forms of the area’s public transportation – Greyhound, bus rapid transit, intercity bus, the Skyway, Amtrak, Park-and-Ride and more will all converge here.
  • JEA plans to issue a new Request for Proposals for the purchase and development of its 30-acre riverfront site on the Southbank. JTA is expected to vote this week on whether to provide 1.74 acres, including a parcel adjacent to the Kings Avenue Garage for the project, as part of ongoing land swap negotiations between the JTA, the School Board, JEA and the City. In return, JTA would receive 1.02 acres from a combination of properties owned by the School Board, JEA and City. According to a resolution presented by JTA staff, the site could accommodate up to 3,500 new jobs as part of a proposed mixed-use development. In addition, the City is applying for a $10 million Economic Development Transportation Fund grant – part of the project would be to build a four-lane access road to connect Prudential Drive with Kings Avenue.
  • photo 1b

    Parador Garage site

    The Parador Parking Garage project at the corner of Bay and Hogan streets has experienced a delay in construction due to diesel fuel storage tanks found buried at the site. The EPA would like the tanks, thought to be from the early 1900s, removed as well as some of the soil before construction on the 600-space, multilevel parking facility can resume.

  • Burrito Gallery will be another tenant of Brooklyn Station on Riverside in a building not yet under construction that will also house Zoes Kitchen. The Downtown eatery plans a two-story location with rooftop dining. In addition, Burger Fi was also announced as another tenant. It’s planned to occupy a portion of the structure already being built on Riverside Avenue. The Fresh Market anchor of Brooklyn Station is scheduled to open Sept. 24 with its building lettering now in place, and The Corner Bakery is expected to open by the end of the year.
  • The City began making improvements to the Water Street Garage. Currently, pedestrian improvements that include a covered pedestrian walkway and sidewalk on the Bay Street frontage are underway. Other improvements are forthcoming will include waterproofing of the roof deck and public art elements.
  • Elks Building

    Elks Building

    Jimmy John’s signed a lease this month to open a new location in the corner space of the Elks Building at Adams and Laura streets. The eatery plans to opens this 1,400-square-foot location in January.

  • The Friends of Hemming Park office will be located in the Main Library’s street-level space.
  • The Jacksonville Armada NASL has opened an office in the Well Fargo Center. It was announced earlier this summer that the team will play its first three seasons at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, which will be converted into a temporary soccer pitch for the games.

by: Katherine Hardwick in Downtown Ambassadors, Uncategorized 1 Comment  

Ready to give directions, answer questions, provide assistance, or walk you to your destination, the Downtown Ambassadors are Jacksonville’s Downtown cleanliness, safety and hospitality team. The Ambassadors are an extra set of eyes and ears on the street and work closely with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the city to improve Downtown Jacksonville. Hard at work, here’s just a snapshot of what the team accomplished in July 2014.

Ambassador Snapshot_July 2014

 

by: admin in Business Spotlights No Comments  

By Amy E. Pittman, DVI Intern

 

Guests dining at Indochine will enjoy the comfy atmosphere and the delicious Asian fare.

Guests dining at Indochine will enjoy the comfy atmosphere and the delicious Asian fare. Photos by Tammy Czigan of GPC Studios.

Hidden above an iron staircase at 21 E. Adams St. sits the cozy, casual, candlelit Thai restaurant, Indochine. Tucked under the bright red Chinese lanterns just blocks away at 117 W. Adams St. is Indochine’s friendly Vietnamese sister, Pho. A Noodle Bar. Along with 16 other restaurants, Indochine and Pho are participating in Downtown Jacksonville’s two-week dining promotion, Eat Up Downtown, which ends this weekend. Hurry and make plans to visit Downtown this Sunday so you don’t miss out on these fun deals!

Eat Up Downtown restaurants developed prix-fixe $15, $25 and $35 menus which include three courses. At Indochine, guests are presented with a $25 menu and have the option of one alcoholic beverage, house salad or appetizer soup for their first course; one starter for their second course; and one entrée for their third course. At Pho, $15 gets you one starter, one entrée, and one wine, beer or dessert.

Friendly service and fantastic starters like the crispy rolls keep customers coming back.

Friendly service and fantastic starters like the crispy rolls keep customers coming back.

For those hesitant to try Thai or Vietnamese dishes, you are not alone! For starters, the modern and stylish interior of Pho is chic, urban and inviting. When I first visited, I was curious about the steamy soup I often saw on Instagram and Twitter. After one sip of the delicious make-your-own pho, I knew I would be back. The banh mi sandwich at Pho, which is a type of Asian Po’boy, is a fan favorite, and the cool coconut sorbet rounds out any meal perfectly. An ideal setting for any plans you might have this weekend, Indochine’s atmosphere is clean and elegant, and the service is welcoming and quick. The sweet peanut sauce on the chicken satay skewers is delicious, and the spicy lemongrass tom kha gai soup was a tasty introduction to the classic shrimp pad thai stir fry.

Indochine received the “Best Thai in Jacksonville” award by the readers of Folio Weekly for the past three years, which makes perfect sense to anyone who dines there. David Williams of First Coast News reported that Indochine and Pho owner Ladda Salter’s sales increased $10,000-$15,000 during Eat Up Downtown, but Williams says “it’s about more than money.” In the interview, Salter said she is “happy that there’s energy Downtown.” Don’t miss out on this Eat Up Downtown energy — the promotion ends this Sunday!

by: Admin in Thought Leadership Comments Off  
Riverwalk

Photo by Rob Futrell

Last Friday, Aug. 8, Downtown Vision, Inc. (@DTJax) and TEDxJacksonville (@TEDxJAX) took to the Twitterverse to discuss Downtown misperceptions. In conjunction with TEDxJacksonville’s “(un)knowing” theme for its upcoming Oct. 25 event, DVI posed several questions to discuss “unknowing” Downtown misperceptions. These myths include:

  • There’s nothing to do Downtown.
    Actually, on average, between 60 and 80 events take place Downtown each week.
  • There’s nowhere to park Downtown.
    Downtown has more than 43,500 parking spaces across lots, garages and metered parking, and the latter is free nights and weekends.
  • Downtown is unsafe.
    In fact, Downtown Jacksonville is one of the safest neighborhoods in the city.

This tweet chat was our largest one yet. More that two dozen Twitter users chimed in at the official hashtag, #chatdtjax, which was used by participants more than 240 times. DVI’s Hootsuite social-media-management account crashed during the chat due to so much activity. Below, you’ll find a series of screenshots of key responses and thoughts:

 

Q1: What myths or misperceptions about #DTJax do you wish locals would “unknow”? #chatdtjax

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Q2: How do you react when you hear someone voice a #DTJax misperception? #chatdtjax

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Q3: What tools would be helpful in setting the record straight? #chatdtjax

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Q4: How can community leaders and orgs like @DTJax and @TEDxJax help dispel these #DTJax myths? #chatdtjax

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Q5: Switching from myths to fun facts, what unknown piece of #DTJax’s history would you like to return? (i.e. retail glory, streetcars) #chatdtjax

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Q6: What’s your favorite #DTJax location that’s unknown to the bigger Jax community? Ex: favorite restaurant, hidden gem, bar, etc. #chatdtjax

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A big thanks to TEDxJacksonville and all who participated for sharing your thoughts with us on Downtown myths and what we can do to debunk them. Stay tuned to @DTJax on Twitter and DVI’s Facebook page for announcements on future tweet chats. For more information on TEDxJacksonville and this year’s event, visit tedxjacksonville.com. Sign-ups are now available here.

by: Admin in Events No Comments  
Mike Field, left, with friend Cari Sanchez-Potter

Mike Field, left. Photo by Jacksonville Magazine.

If you’re looking for fresh produce, local art and handmade goods wrapped in a funky urban vibe, you don’t want to miss the monthly Jaxsons Night Market, Downtown’s newest open-air market in the core of the River City.

Founded by Downtown advocate Mike Field, the market takes place the third Thursday of every month in the Laura Street Trio lot at the corner of Adams and Laura streets. We recently chatted with Field about the market’s founding and future:

 

Photo by Jacksonville Magazine.

Photo by Jacksonville Magazine.

How did the idea for Jaxsons Night Market come about?

I was doing a lot of work on the West Coast, and night markets were starting to gain popularity throughout California. Night bazaars are prevalent in the Far East, and the concept just started to catch fire in California. I really liked the diversity found at these markets and thought the concept would work well in Jacksonville but with a more refined Southern twist that is indicative of the unique flavors of our region.

Explain the term “Jaxsons” to those that might not be familiar. When and where did you hear it initially, or is it a term the Market coined?

Jaxsons is a moniker for people who live in Jacksonville, and the concept of the market follows the tagline “For Jaxsons, by Jaxsons from the people that make Jacksonville unique.” The market is filled with small businesses that are unique to our community. The terms “Jaxsons” and “Jacksonvillians” are both used in various historical texts when referring to Jacksonville residents. The late Bill Foley used the term Jaxson, and our NFL team’s mascot is named Jaxson De Ville. I think Jaxsons just sounds a little more elegant.

Describe the Jaxsons Night Market experience – what will people see (or smell or taste) when they go?

We have street food vendors, local farmers, artisan food producers, a craft beer garden by Intuition Ale Works and even a fashion truck roundup. Many of our street food vendors prepare meals based on items sourced from night market vendors, including Black Hog Farms, Down To Earth Farms, Fresh Jax and others.


 

What’s been the response so far?

Market attendance has scaled up rapidly each month since we started in April. By design, we opened the market right off the heels of One Spark. People really want to feel that exciting experience Downtown more than just a few times a year. Every Jaxson has a role to play in keeping that spark alive.

Why did you want to bring this event Downtown specifically, and why do you think events like these are so important to the urban environment?

Photo by Kemary Chan.

Photo by Kemary Chan.

The market focuses on the kinds of retailers that are presently absent from Downtown’s retail mix. If you live or work Downtown, you should be able to buy things like fresh produce, meats, cheeses, spices, baked goods and prepared meals without having to get into your car and drive elsewhere. We also have many fashion retailers at the market, so ladies can shop for high quality dresses and accessories that you just can’t find in department stores.

The goal of the market has always been to bring in the kinds of businesses that Downtown needs in order to be a thriving neighborhood. The market allows these businesses to dip their toes in the water so they can get comfortable knowing that there is a market for their product Downtown. Pop-up events like these are designed to get existing businesses interested in establishing a permanent brick-and-mortar location Downtown.

What’s next for Jaxsons Night Market? Any new things to come you’re able to share?

The next stage for the market is helping some of the vendors take that next step to having a permanent presence Downtown. We have some plans to help that transition occur and will just have to let the process play out.

For more information on Jaxsons Night Market, ‘like’ it on Facebook and follow @JaxsonsMkt on Twitter.

by: Hana Ashchi in Spotlight No Comments  

Downtown Vision, Inc.Voted a Talk of the Town for Jacksonville in 2013, Benny’s Steak and Seafood will sure get you chatting to all of your friends about this great destination for a ladies night, date night or just an after-work dinner.

With Eat Up Downtown underway, 19 Downtown restaurants are serving up delicious three-course meals from prix-fixe menus. Twelve years into the restaurant business, Benny’s Steak and Seafood joins Eat Up Downtown this year with a surf-and-turf menu paired with waterfront dining.

Located at The Jacksonville Landing, Benny’s is known for its beautiful view of the St. Johns River, gourmet approach and its exotic-yet-convenient surf-and-turf dishes. Chef Benny Yousefzadeh and his team are especially known for their crab cakes, voted Best in Jacksonville by Folio Weekly in 2013.

bennyssteakandseafood.com

bennyssteakandseafood.com

Spend an evening at Benny’s during Eat Up Downtown to take advantage of their $35 menu where you can order your choice of appetizer, entree and dessert. You will leave the restaurant with your stomach – and wallet – full.

Looking to burn off those calories you just consumed? Benny’s is located on Northbank side of the St. Johns, where you can conveniently enjoy a beautiful walk on the Riverwalk; stick around The Landing for live music on the Coca-Cola Riverfront Stage; or take a short walk over to The Elbow, where, at participating bars, you’ll receive buy-one-get-one drink specials with your comment card coupon, plus tons of great live music.

Don’t waste any time (I sure won’t), and be sure to take advantage of these awesome deals before time runs out. For more information on Eat Up Downtown – including the full list of this year’s participating restaurants and bars, their menus, and Igers Jax and First Coast Magazine photo contest details – visit eatupdowntown.com.

 

Note: If you dine at The Jacksonville Landing’s Fionn MacCool’s Irish Restaurant and Pub or Benny’s Steak & Seafood for Eat Up Downtown, you will receive a parking voucher at the restaurant that will allow you to exit The Landing’s parking lot at no charge.