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: 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 Developments, Historic Preservation No Comments  

After months of deferrals by City Council, a deal is in the works for the sale and rehabilitation of the Bostwick Building. Hot off the presses, here is the newest information on the potential next steps to turn this landmark building into a Downtown destination:


Potential Bostwick buyer remembers when Downtown was ‘where it was at’
– Ashley Gurbal Kritzer, Jacksonville Business Journal, May 8, 2013

A Northeast Florida native, Jacques Klempf is nostalgic for the way Downtown Jacksonville used to be.

That’s why he not only believes in revitalization efforts, but is attempting to put his own stake in the ground in the city center: He and the other partners of Ovinte Wine Lounge are under contract to acquire the Bostwick Building in Downtown Jacksonville, with plans to renovate it into a restaurant.

Ovinte partners want to buy the Bostwick Building for restaurant development
– David Chapman, Daily Record, May 8, 2013

Jacques Klempf, Chad Munsey and Fraser Burns, partners in the Ovinte wine, cocktails and tapas lounge at the St. Johns Town Center, have been identified as the purchasing group under contract for the Bostwick Building.

The buyers said they haven’t developed a concept for the building, other than it will be restaurant.

“We just think it’s a great venue and it just has great access, visibility and we feel like we can put a concept there that will really be great for the city,” Klempf said. “We’re going to restore the building … and put what I think is going to be the nicest restaurant in the city.”

He said the group wanted to restore the building to its natural façade.

Check out this recent slideshow of the Bostwick Building interior, to see the current state of the building (and to imagine the possibilities).