By Tenley Ross, DVI Intern

Walk around Downtown, and you’ll be in awe by the modern high-rises with their sleek exteriors and windows that seem to glitter in the sun.

What might not capture your attention right away but are still impressive are the historic buildings of Downtown’s bygone eras that, thanks to visionary developers, are breathing new life.

Some of these projects were recognized in this year’s City of Jacksonville (COJ) Annual Preservation Awards and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honor and Design Awards.

The Seminole Club Building (Now Sweet Pete’s Candy and The Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktails)
400 N. Hogan St.

Sweet Pete's and Candy Apple Cafe and Cocktails

Sweet Pete’s and Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktails

From the COJ Preservation Awards, the Seminole Club building was awarded for its commercial rehabilitation into Sweet Pete’s Candy and the Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktails.

Built in 1903, the Seminole Club was a social club for men. It hosted numerous famous people including Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. Closing in 1989 after losing popularity, Restitution, Inc., an investment group, reopened the club from 1998 until 2004.

It was vacant for 10 years until Sweet Pete’s and The Candy Apple Café and Cocktails moved in late 2014. Through the renovation process, the two businesses worked with the Jacksonville Historical Society to keep the building’s historical integrity.

In addition, the new Seminole Club owners are now planning to expand the business into two neighboring historic buildings. Read more here.

by: Katherine Hardwick in Advocacy, Thought Leadership No Comments  

Downtown Vision, Inc.‘s executive director Terry Lorince submitted the following editorial to the Florida Times-Union in partnership with Shannon Nazworth, executive director, Ability Housing of Northeast Florida, Cindy Funkhouser, CEO, Sulzbacher Center, and  Dawn Gilman, executive director, Emergency Services & Homeless Coalition. This editorial appeared in the Florida Times-Union print edition on Saturday, March 22, 2014 and can also be read on Jacksonville.com. We welcome feedback to contact@downtownjacksonville.org.

As we talk about ways to revitalize downtown Jacksonville, the topic of homelessness always comes up.

HUD_VASH

It’s important to note that most homelessness is due to the lack of an affordable place to live.

Statistics show that if you give the homeless affordable places to live, they will not return to homelessness.

The most successful intervention is to provide short-term financial assistance so these individuals can get into a home. And to provide solutions — or “wraparound” services — so they can retain housing.

SURPRISING NUMBERS

You might be surprised to know this about homelessness in Jacksonville:

■ According to a recent survey by the Homeless Coalition of Northeast Florida, there are 400 chronically homeless individuals in downtown Jacksonville alone.

■ 25 percent of the local homeless population is not from Jacksonville. They ended up here because they were following a job, hoping to get a job or other circumstances.

■ Veterans account for approximately 25 percent of our homeless population. Many are struggling with PTSD and are shelter averse. That means they won’t live among a large population in a shelter with noise, chaos and crowds. These individuals are best served through individual housing programs.

■ The cost to arrest and jail a homeless person includes $884 for booking and $62 per day to house them.

■ The average cost of a single chronically homeless person is $50,000 per year. That includes jail time, emergency room visits, social services and other costs.

■ It costs between $12,000 and $24,000 to provide a permanent supportive housing solution for that same individual.

So by providing affordable housing, these programs can save the community up to $30,000 per individual housed.

100 Homes Jacksonville, administered by Ability Housing, has housed more than 500 individuals across the region since 2012.

A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT

It is a collaboration of multiple agencies, including the Veterans Administration, River Region, the Sulzbacher Center, Clara White Mission, the Jacksonville Housing Authority, Mental Health Resource Center and the Emergency Services & Homeless Coalition.

When launched, 100 Homes Jacksonville’s goal was to house 100 people in one year.

Today, the goal is to continue to house 30 individuals per month.

Homeward Bound is a partnership between the Sulzbacher Center and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office that seeks homeless people who’ve been on the street for less than six months and have no friends or family in Jacksonville.

The program tracks down relatives and friends in other cities and sends these individuals back home where they can seek permanent shelter.

The Sulzbacher Center and JSO have also partnered to launch the CHOP program to get chronic homeless offenders off the streets and out of jail.

This program is also a collaboration of the Sulzbacher Center, Public Defender’s Office, State Attorney’s Office, judges, the jail and Salvation Army probation program.

Downtown Jacksonville is making great strides in reducing homelessness. There is no single solution. It will continue to require many people collaborating and working together to solve this problem.

The authors are:
■ Terry Lorince, executive director, Downtown Vision Inc.
■ Shannon Nazworth, executive director, Ability Housing of Northeast Florida.
■ Cindy Funkhouser, CEO, Sulzbacher Center.
■ Dawn Gilman, executive director, Emergency Services & Homeless Coalition.

by: Katherine Hardwick in Downtown Shout-outs, Spotlight No Comments  

Oliver Barakat Profile JBJ 2013 ListRecently released, the Jacksonville Business Journal’s annual list of top movers and shakers spotlights local business, civic and government decision makers of 2013. It’s no surprise that one major unifying thread joined many of named–20 of the 30–together: Downtown Jacksonville.

Some based in Downtown, some cultivating Downtown and some championing Downtown, DVI would like to thank the following Downtown-minded movers and shakers for their commitment to enriching the fabric of Downtown Jacksonville. Leading the list is DVI’s very own Board of Directors secretary, Oliver Barakat.

1. Oliver Barakat is senior vice president at CBRE Group, Inc. and chairman of the Downtown Investment Authority.

2. Lori Boyer, City Councilmember, District 5, is an outspoken advocate for Downtown in policy-making.

3. Alex Coley, principal at Hallmark Partners Inc., is a driving force for 220 Riverside, a new mixed-use development in Downtown set to launch this summer.

4. Daniel Davis, president and CEO of JaxChamber continues to make Downtown a priority for the Chamber.

5. Renee Finley was head of public-private partnerships for the City of Jacksonville and is a vice president with Florida Blue.

6. Bill Foley III is Chairman of Fidelity National Financial, one of Downtown’s Fortune 500 companies.

7. Mark Frisch is CEO of Sunshine Sports Soccer Group, a new entertainment advocate group located in Downtown – and we’d love to see a soccer stadium Downtown!

8. Pat Geraghty is CEO of Florida Blue, a longstanding tenant in Downtown’s Brooklyn neighborhood.

9. William Gulliford, City Council president, is a major supporter of Downtown revitalization, including efforts to secure private management for Hemming Plaza.

10. John Keane is the executive director of the Police and Fire Pension Fund, which owners properties in Downtown.  

11. Jacques Klempf, CEO of Dixie Egg Co. and Ovinte Wine Lounge, is a key party interested in the rehabilitation the Bostwick Building.

12. Sherry Magill, president at Jessie Ball duPont Fund, is leading the charge to renovate the Haydon Burns Library for a major nonprofit center.

13. Hope McMath, executive director of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, is a major supporter of connectivity between Downtown and Riverside/Avondale.

14. Matt Rapp, executive director of THE PLAYERS Championship, was instrumental in expanding TPC into Downtown in 2013.

15. Elton Rivas, co-creator of One Spark and KYN, helped bring more than 100,000 people Downtown for the inaugural crowdfunding festival with a spinoff business incubator program.

16. Peter Rummell, immediate past chair of Jacksonville Civic Council, is a key advocate for Downtown revitalization and a major backer of One Spark.

17. Toney Sleiman is CEO of Sleiman Enterprises, which owns The Jacksonville Landing, and is working toward public-private investment to re-imagine this major landmark.

18. Hap Stein, is chairman and CEO of Regency Centers, a major developer, owner and operator of commercial property, is developing develop a Fresh Market-anchored shopping center in Downtown’s Brooklyn neighborhood.

19. Alan Verlander, COO of Gator Bowl Sports and Entertainment, is working attract major sporting events Downtown and community-wide.

20. Aundra Wallace, CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority, is leading the update of Downtown’s Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) strategy to drive short and longterm economic development and revitalization.

View the full JBJ list here.

 

by: Katherine Hardwick in Events No Comments  

We hope you were able to make it down to the Jacksonville Jazz Festival this year and, moreover, stay Downtown for the inaugural Jazz Fest After Dark.

The brainchild of local promoter Jason Lewis, Jazz Fest After Dark was a partnership between The Elbow, the City of Jacksonville – Jacksonville Jazz FestivalDowntown Vision, Inc.JAX Chamber and Visit Jacksonville to encourage Jazz fans to stay and experience Downtown’s live music and nightlife scene. If three nights, three venues and free music sound great–it was. But don’t take our word for it – here are some shout-outs from Facebook:

 

“The After Dark venues were edgy and non-confrontational. I saw families and the out-of-town patrons from the Hyatt that were stretching from their comfort zones and really enjoying themselves.

We hope that the “After Dark” concept continues to be an additional component to all of Jacksonville’s downtown festivities. It really showed off how beautiful the Downtown area can be “After Dark”. I hope the venues choices increase with offering special consideration for family friendly atmosphere, free admission, and encourage exploration of the newly revitalized Downtown Jacksonville area.”
– Ida Louise

“I am a local musician who participated in the recent Jazz Fest After Dark with the groups Tambor and the Joseph Yorio & the Avant World Ensemble. I wanted to thank you for putting together this wonderful addition to the Jacksonville Jazz Festival. It maintained downtown’s vibrancy after the main acts played their last notes and gave many local musicians an opportunity to perform to large festival crowds.”
-Chris Jackson