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At the 2018 #DTJax Gala: Vintage Circus, we presented the third annual #DTJax Awards to celebrate the people and projects that make Downtown Jacksonville a better place to live, work, visit and invest. The Downtown Achievement Award recognizes an individual or organization for a significant body of work that reinforces Downtown as the premier center for arts, dining, retail, entertainment, business and/or urban living in Northeast Florida.

Preston Haskell and DVI Board Chair Terry Durand-Stuebben

Preston Haskell and DVI Board Chair Terry Durand-Stuebben

After years of schooling at Princeton, Harvard and MIT, Mr. Preston Haskell settled in Jacksonville and founded The Haskell Company in 1965. An innovative leader in the construction industry, Mr. Haskell was a driving force behind the practice of Design-Build, delivering on the full scope of work from concept to completion in-house. And as such, he’s served as the founding chairman of the Design-Build Institute of America and the director of the Civil Engineering Forum for Innovation.

Not only is the Haskell Company a prominent fixture on Downtown’s Northbank, its portfolio is packed with projects that have shaped Downtown life. Employees bustle in the Raymond James building and Fidelity National Financial headquarters. Residents enjoy amenities like the new Winston Family YMCA, the Southbank Riverwalk and EverBank Field. And that’s just to name a few.

His service to the community has touched many Downtown institutions: as director of Baptist Health, and as former chairman of the Chamber, JEA, United Way and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Haskell is also a noted art benefactor and collector, who has recently started a Downtown sculpture initiative, planning to place almost a dozen sculptures outside Downtown buildings in the coming years. Florida Trend has named him a “Florida Icon,” and we declare Mr. Haskell a Downtown Jacksonville icon as well.

Thank you, Mr. Haskell, for your continued devotion to our community and for making Downtown Jacksonville a better place for all who live, work and visit here.

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At the 2018 #DTJax Gala: Vintage Circus, we presented the third annual #DTJax Awards to celebrate the people and projects that make Downtown Jacksonville a better place to live, work, visit and invest. The Downtown Project of the Year award recognizes a project that has significantly enhanced the economic revitalization of Downtown through the activation of underutilized resources, job creation or leading design practices.Cowford Chophouse

This year’s winner is a project over three years in the making, opening its doors to Downtown this past October. Incidentally, it also brought the first rooftop bar to the Downtown core. Cowford Chophouse is housed in the two-story, century-old, fully restored Bostwick Building at the foot of the Main Street bridge. The renovation of this nearly 6,000 square-foot landmark was tedious. Park of the roof had been missing for years, the foundation had sunk, and the exterior had to be fully restored, and rebuilt brick by brick in places. But all that work paid off.

The result is a new Downtown showpiece for revitalization that captures the heart of Jacksonville and sets the bar for fine dining in our city. It’s elegant and modern, yet thoroughly connected to Jacksonville’s history. The Klempf’s even donated artifacts recovered during the renovation to the Museum of Science and History. Thank you, Alex and Jacques Klempf, for bringing Cowford Chophouse to life and for being invested in the future and past of Downtown Jacksonville.

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At the 2018 #DTJax Gala: Vintage Circus, we presented the third annual #DTJax Awards to celebrate the people and projects that make Downtown Jacksonville a better place to live, work, visit and invest. The Downtowner of the Year Award honors an individual who has demonstrated inspirational leadership and has made strides to create and support a vibrant Downtown.

Mark Nusbaum, Frank Denton and DVI Board Chair Terry Durand-Stuebben

Mark Nusbaum, Frank Denton and DVI Board Chair Terry Durand-Stuebben

This year, we recognized two people as Downtowners of the Year for their joint work and dedication to chronicle Downtown Jacksonville’s growth in a brand new publication: J Magazine. Mark Nusbaum has served as the president of The Florida Times-Union since 2012. Prior to that he was vice president of operations for Morris Publishing Group, which owns the Times-Union. Mark is also the publisher of both the Times-Union and J Magazine. Frank Denton is currently the editor-at-large for both the Times-Union and J Magazine. Frank is also the vice president for journalism for Morris Publishing Group.

Together, Mark and Frank brainstormed a way to record proposed ideas, current developments and the overall rebirth of Downtown: J Magazine. This quarterly publication—what they’ve called unabashed advocacy journalism—is 100% focused on Downtown. With the first issue being published this past June, J Magazine has already made waves in the Downtown community, reporting on themes of ownership, history and attitudes towards Downtown.

Congratulations, Mark and Frank, on your success of continually looking forward to Downtown development, keeping note of the journey to a bolder Downtown Jacksonville.

At the 2018 #DTJax Gala: Vintage Circus, we took the opportunity to present the #DTJax Awards to celebrate the people and projects that make Downtown Jacksonville a better place to live, work, visit and invest. The Downtown Ambassador of the Year Award honors a Downtown Ambassador who continually goes above and beyond in their service of Downtown’s stakeholders, residents, employees and visitors.

DVI Ambassador Willie Browner and First Baptist Church senior executive pastor John Blount

DVI Ambassador Willie Browner and First Baptist Church Senior Executive Pastor John Blount

Willie Browner joined Downtown Vision in June of 2016, and has since been an essential member of the Downtown Ambassador program. He came to us from City Rescue Mission and worked for DVI as a temporary employee during One Spark, standing out among a group of 12. When a position became available, we knew we had to have him as a part of our permanent team.

Willie graduated from the City Rescue Mission program shortly after his hire, and currently serves as a mentor to the program. He is our first hire under DVI’s “Second Chance Program,” a program providing employment opportunities for individuals who may be considered unemployable due to prior non-violent convictions. Willie started as a clean team member but was switched to safety and hospitality, a position in which he truly thrives and is an irreplaceable asset.

Willie has received praises from Farah & Farah and Regions Bank for his positive attitude and helpfulness. He also receives the most comment cards from the public, who are so touched by Willie’s thoughtfulness and helpfulness, that they take the time to send these notes in to us. Thank you Willie, and all our Ambassadors, for making Downtown Jacksonville a cleaner and safer place.

 

Learn more about the Downtown Ambassadors here.

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View More: http://severine-photography.pass.us/downtown-gala_2017

At the 2017 #DTJax River of Dreams Gala, we took the opportunity to present #DTJax Awards to the individuals and organizations who have made a positive impact on Downtown Jacksonville. The Downtown Project of the Year award recognizes a project that has significantly enhanced the economic revitalization of Downtown through the activation of underutilized resources, job creation or leading design practices.

View More: http://severine-photography.pass.us/downtown-gala_2017

First Coast YMCA CEO Eric Mann, CFO Penny Zuber, and DVI CEO Jake Gordon

Our 2017 winner is an organization that has been a presence in Downtown Jacksonville since 1908, when the YMCA opened on the corner of Laura and Duval streets to serve 12 members. This past August, the Y opened its newest facility in Downtown — one in the works for 25 years: the Winston Family YMCA on Riverside Avenue for its 6,500 members to much acclaim. The Y now has 14 membership facilities, one resident camp, one charter elementary school, 40 school-based child care sites, two facilities for people with development disabilities and two youth development campuses on the First Coast.

The new 72,000-square foot location is one of the best YMCA designs in the country and serves as an attraction destination for Downtown while providing important health and social services for Jacksonville residents of all backgrounds. The new family-friendly facility includes an indoor running track, a spiritual wellness center, a kids’ zone and an aquatic center. It also takes advantage of its premier location to offer spectacular views of the St. Johns River and a connection to the Northbank Riverwalk. The new Winston Family YMCA not only promotes a healthy Downtown, but connects diverse populations through community service and its focus on building a kid friendly facility has provided families with a place to go where there is something to do for everyone.

Wellness_Project_03-YMCA-01

The Winston Family YMCA has made the Brooklyn neighborhood a better place to live and visit while providing fundamental services for the Downtown Jacksonville community. By choosing to invest in a new facility Downtown, the Y has given residents and tourists a new reason to visit the Downtown Riverwalk.

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View More: http://severine-photography.pass.us/downtown-gala_2017

At the 2017 #DTJax River of Dreams Gala, we took the opportunity to present #DTJax Awards to the individuals and organizations who have made a positive impact on Downtown Jacksonville. The Downtowner of the Year Award honors an individual who has demonstrated inspirational leadership and has made strides to create and support a vibrant Downtown.

 

View More: http://severine-photography.pass.us/downtown-gala_2017

Intuition Ale Works Founder Ben Davis and DVI Board Chair Terry Durand-Stuebben

The 2017 Downtowner of the Year Award was presented to a pioneer of Jacksonville’s vibrant craft beer scene that now includes eight breweries. Ben Davis, owner and brewer at Intuition Ale Works, made his first mark on the Jacksonville business community when he converted San Marco’s The Grotto from a coffee shop into a successful wine bar before opening Intuition Ale Works in Riverside in 2010. For four and a half years, Intuition’s Riverside location was producing and serving great craft beer as a part of their mission to create quality, flavorful and creative beers in a wide range of styles. As the first brewery in Northeast Florida to distribute its beer in cans, they created what is now a statewide trend for craft breweries.

 

A long-time friend of the urban core, Davis made the jump into Downtown last year when he bought the 12,000 square foot Bay Street building that had been empty since 2002. The new state-of-the-art brewing facility can host up to 400 people and features a new 30 barrel brewing system that will produce 25,000 barrels a year, a 17,000 barrel increase. Davis chose to open up the new taproom across from EverBank Field in an effort to be the catalyst for more development in the area.

inside intuition 11

 

By bringing his well-known brewery to a long-vacant area of Downtown, Davis has established himself as a leader in the Jacksonville business community that is unafraid to take risks in an effort to help revitalize Downtown Jacksonville. Davis’ bold move Downtown has already inspired Manifest Distilling to open in the same building, and has brought local favorite Black Sheep Downtown to serve food at its new location. Davis contributes to Downtown not only in his efforts to revitalize the area, but in his partnerships with organizations such as the Arc Jacksonville, Community Connections of Jacksonville and AIGA Jacksonville.

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View More: http://severine-photography.pass.us/downtown-gala_2017
At the 2017 #DTJax River of Dreams Gala, we took the opportunity to present #DTJax Awards to the individuals and organizations who have made a positive impact on Downtown Jacksonville. The Downtown Ambassador of the Year Award honors a Downtown Ambassador who continually goes above and beyond in their service of Downtown’s stakeholders, residents, employees and visitors.

View More: http://severine-photography.pass.us/downtown-gala_2017

DVI Ambassador Michael Ryan and DVI CEO Jake Gordon

Our 2017 Ambassador of the Year joined Downtown Vision in May of 2008, and since then Michael Ryan has been an essential member of the Downtown Ambassador program. Ryan has received and been nominated for multiple awards or his service in Downtown Jacksonville, including the ROSE Awards. Rose or Recognition of Service Excellence Awards recognize Northeast Florida front line hospitality employees who demonstrate excellent customer service. He also won the 2012 Visit Jax Customer Service and Tourism Ambassador Award for his outstanding work helping Downtown residents and visitors. He was also recognized by Visit Jacksonville for the most referrals of any Ambassador for 12 months in a row while receiving more positive comment cars than any other Ambassador.

Ryan’s positive impact on Downtown can be seen in his work assisting with senior and school events, shows at the Florida Theatre, and at the Jacksonville Public Library. He’s always there helping visitors locate lost vehicles, recovering cell phones — even keys dropped into storm drains! Thanks to Ambassadors such as Ryan, Downtown is a safer and more friendly place.

Learn more about the Downtown Ambassadors here.