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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.


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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.

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.