by: Admin in #DTJax Awards No Comments  

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.

by: Admin in #DTJax Awards No Comments  

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.

by: Admin in #DTJax Awards No Comments  

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.

by: admin in Art Walk, Spotlight No Comments  

By Julianna Rosano, DVI Intern

We talked with Viktor Lazarev, local artist at First Wednesday Art Walk, about his Art Walk experiences and diverse artwork.

Q: What initially drew you to display your paintings at the First Wednesday Art Walk?love 022

A: I wanted to display my artwork to people of all different walks of life. Art Walk gave me the opportunity to sell my art to create a living and support my family.

Q: What aspects of Art Walk make you keep coming back as a vendor?

A: There are a few aspects that keep me coming back, but the number one reason is my friends and new customers. The atmosphere overall is great and it’s exciting, vibrant and inviting. It’s the kind of place you want to be.

Q: At what age did you find your love for oil painting?

A: I was a young kid and there was just something about it that allowed me to sink deeply into it. From the beginning, I had a feeling, an inspiration and I knew God was behind it. It was that simple.

acrylic vikQ: Where do you find your inspiration for your artwork?

A: I like to observe the world around me, even the little things can inspire me to create new artwork and there is a little piece of my soul in every painting. Mother Nature is the best inspiration for my art and being able to create something from that is a gift.


Q: What is your painting process? Do you mentally create the images first or just begin to paint and see where it leads?
A: Most of the time I think about the piece first and create a plan. Other times, it’s spontaneous and I like to create as I go.

Q: How long does it usually take you to create one of your paintings?

A: When I have a piece envisioned, it usually takes a few days to finish. But when it’s spontaneous, or as the Italians would say “a la prima,” I can finish within a few hours or so. Sometimes those pieces turn out better than the ones I try to plan.

Q: Where can people find your artwork?jax.fla.

A: Being a local, you can see me and buy my artwork at the First Wednesday Art Walk, North Beaches Art Walk, Riverside Arts Market, the Orange Park Arts Market and the Jax Beach Art Walk. You can also find my art online at or

Q: What impact do you hope to have on those who view your artwork?

A: Love. I want to impact people with love. I want to awaken love in the hearts of those who see my work, regardless of race or religion.

Q: What advice would you give to other local artists?

A: Be yourself, have good basics and constantly learn from your favorite artists. Be original and show people something they have never seen before.

Make sure to #ShareTheLove and stop by the First Wednesday Art Walk on February 1 to see more of Viktor Lazarev’s artwork.

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For more than 15 years, Downtown Vision has had the privilege of serving #DTJax by creating and supporting a vibrant Downtown Jacksonville and by promoting Downtown as an exciting place to live, work, visit and invest. DVI is closely aligned with the City of Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority in a public-private partnership and we focus on four strategic pillars:

  • Clean and Safe/Ambassador Services: In the last fiscal year, our Downtown Clean & Safe Ambassadors logged 22,000 hours to make #DTJax clean and Downtown a better place.
  • Marketing: The #DTJax hashtag reach exceeded 24 million people reinforcing Downtown as the City’s unique epicenter for business, history, culture and entertainment.
  • Information Management: We crunched the numbers to provide statistics and trends on Downtown development, employment, residential, retail, parking and more.
  • Experience Creation: Our produced events drew more than 200,000 people to #DTJax creating lively streets and supporting our small businesses.

Check out our latest Annual Report, which highlights accomplishments, special projects and financial information for fiscal year 2015-2016. Click here to download the PDF.


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By Lindsay Forrest, DVI Intern

Photo Credit: Jessie duPont Fund

Photo Credit: Jessie duPont Fund

Since the first National Woman’s Week in 1981, the United States has dedicated the month of March to honor and appreciate powerful women who changed the course of history and led us to a contemporary society. We celebrate all facets of achievements by women – including contributions to history, society and culture. We’d like to take a moment to recognize the Jessie Ball duPont Center in #DTJax for Women’s History month this year.

In order to understand the history behind the Jessie Ball duPont Center, we must understand Jessie Ball duPont. A teacher, philanthropist and “Great Floridian” – duPont was born in Virginia in 1884. Throughout her life, she focused on business and charitable activities central to her core values and beliefs.

Some of these contributions include:

  • Founder of the Nemours Foundation – a children’s hospital in Delaware, including a branch just south of #DTJax
  • Founder of Alfred I. duPont Foundation – to assist underpriviledged people in Delaware, Florida and Virgina
  • Founder of the Alfred I. duPont Awards Foundation – to recognize outstanding contributions in the field of broadcast journalism
  • Gifted colleges and universities with faculty salaries and libraries

When duPont died in 1970, she left her will and estate of $42 million for the creation of the Jessie Ball duPont Foundation. The foundation grants eligible organizations, creates new opportunities through investment and focuses on projects central to duPont’s philanthropic values.

Photo Credit: Jessie Ball duPont Center

Photo Credit: Jessie Ball duPont Center

Originally the Haydon Burns Public Library designed by notable Jacksonville architect Taylor Hardwick, the Jessie duPont Foundation purchased this historic mid-century building in #DTJax in 2005 and began a $25-million renovation to transform the space into the Jessie Ball duPont Center. The center focuses on philanthropy and non-profits in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville.

The duPont Center’s achievements include:

  • Houses 12 local non-profits and more than 200 employees
  • Offers low occupancy costs to non-profits to allow more funding to ideas and revitalization
  • Utilized green-building and LEED certified practices throughout the renovation, and became a top case study for adaptive reuse in #DTJax
  • Unites local non-profits in a collaborative and inspiring environment
Photo Credit: Jessie Ball duPont Center

Photo Credit: Jessie Ball duPont Center

The center also rents out space for community organizations, civic groups and individuals. To learn more about reservations, tenants or how to get involved, check the website here.

On March 19, The Jessie Ball duPont Fund received the Downtown Achievement Award of the year for 2016 at DVI’s inaugural Urban Oasis Gala. We are looking forward to seeing new innovations, ideas and energy from local non-profits to better #DTJax from the revitalization of this mid-century historic building into the Jessie Ball duPont Center.