by Zahni Thuzar, DVI Intern 

New Year; better you. If you read our previous post about nailing your New Year’s resolutions Down(town), you learned a bunch of ways to help stick to your plans. Alas, it’s about that time that most of us start jumping ship to join the other 60% ditching their New Year’s resolutions.

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Not this time!

The rise of young professional groups here in #DTJax has never been better, and they’re all great opportunities to help you get involved in the community, support the arts and/or gain a new hobby.

To save you some trouble, here’s just a few of the tons of organizations based here in Downtown Jacksonville:

The Contemporaries of MOCA

MOCA JaxYoung professionals between the ages of 21-40 are encouraged to connect with their artistic side and join The Contemporaries. The main goal of this organization is to encourage the cultural activity in this city and to bring awareness of the Museum to the public. With monthly happy hours occurring every fourth Friday of the month (from 5-8 p.m.), there are plenty of opportunities to socialize and connect with like minds. Every meet-up is held at a different location, which allows you to visit plenty of local venues all while discussing the newest trends in the contemporary lifestyle.

by: Katherine Hardwick in Advocacy No Comments  
JAX2025 Community Survey Results

JAX2025 Community Survey Results

“Creating a city of opportunity means investing in our Downtown. We want Downtown Jacksonville to become a vibrant destination for people to work, live and visit. A great city depends on a great Downtown.”

- Mayor Alvin Brown

DVI applauds Mayor Brown’s commitment to a revitalized Downtown and offers full support for the proposed Downtown investments in Mayor Brown’s 2014-2015 Fiscal Year Budget. The budget is currently in review with City Council and will be approved by the end of September.

 

 

Revitalizing Downtown Jacksonville

The Jacksonville Landing: As part of revitalization plans, the City of Jacksonville will invest $11.8 million in public infrastructure through the CIP to support the first phase of improvements, including a wider plaza along the Northbank Riverwalk, public space and broader access at Hogan Street. Demolition of existing structures is included. The vision for reinvigorating the Jacksonville Landing includes new retail, housing and event space.

The Shipyards: Mayor Brown has made redeveloping the Shipyards a major priority to continue investment in Downtown. To activate environmental remediation efforts, the CIP makes an initial investment of $1.25 million.

Former Duval County Courthouse: To continue efforts to upgrade Downtown, the former county courthouse will be demolished to provide new opportunities for public or private development. The CIP invests $4.2 million.

Metropolitan Park: The capital improvement plan invests $250,000 to begin the design of a new Metropolitan Park that maximizes its role as an entertainment venue.

Downtown Streets: To continue making Downtown the best experience possible, the City will invest $1 million through the CIP to design the transition from unwieldy one-way streets to more user-friendly two-way streets.

Downtown Lighting and Signage: Both Mayor Brown and the DIA have made enhancing the experience of visiting Downtown a priority. Lighting and signage will be improved through an investment of $1.5 million in the CIP.

Northbank Riverwalk: Mayor Brown supports upgrades of $3 million through the CIP to continue maximizing the potential of the pedestrian park along our river.

Downtown Investment Authority: Mayor Brown proposes providing $1.21 million in annual funding for the DIA through the general fund to finance non-capital projects that will spur interest and investment in Downtown.

FC Armada: As previously announced, the City will partner with new North American Soccer League (NASL) team FC Armada to hold its games in the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville for the next three years. Through the general fund, the City will cover up to $700,000 in operational expenses and make a one-time capital investment of $300,000.

Main Library: The general fund budget would restore hours at the Main Library in Downtown Jacksonville, while the CIP would invest in public spaces at the Main Library.

Downtown Vision: So that the City can be consistent with other Downtown property owners, Mayor Brown proposed a $152,340 increase in the City’s annual contribution to Downtown Vision.

One Spark: To increase Jacksonville’s role and success in this signature, destination creator festival, Mayor Brown supports doubling the City’s direct investment to $100,000, with a similar amount available through in-kind contributions of City services.

Budget items also with City Council for approval are: $750,000 for the Downtown Investment Authority’s Retail Enhancement Grant Program and $1 million seed funding for the day-to-day management of Hemming Plaza (over 18 months).

Please contact City Council to voice your support for Downtown today.

 

by: Brett Oakes in Uncategorized No Comments  

Downtown Vision, Inc. has partnered with RedFin Group to bring an exciting new look to the existing downtownjacksonville.org. By updating its look to a fresh, modern design, the website creates a more user-friendly experience with quicker access to popular information, more interactive content and increased connection with Downtown social-media conversations. A few of the new features and changes include:

1. A more visually vibrant homepage

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2. Improved navigation that is easily accessible, more legible and incorporates photos

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3. News and event sections listed more prominently on the homepage

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4. Partnership with Jacksonville.com to offer a more robust, one-stop-shop Downtown events calender

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5. Yelp ratings and reviews for Downtown dining locations

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6. Interactive social media feeds

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7. The ability to add events directly to personal calenders

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8. Printable calender and directory lists

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9. Google directions to the Downtown places you want to go

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Check out the refreshed website yourself to explore the new features available. Find any typos or glitches? Please bear with us our eyes are crossed from reviewing the site so much. Email us feedback at contact@downtownjacksonville.org.

by: Admin in Thought Leadership No Comments  

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If there was a bullseye on Downtown thinking, Folio Weekly‘s Denise M. Reagan hit the mark in this week’s editor’s note.

Reagan disputes the belief by some that the St. Johns Town Center is the true focal point of Jacksonville:

“Can you imagine a Simon Mall and its surrounding shopping centers fulfilling the role of a city center?

Would Simon allow activists to gather signatures for a petition to place a library tax district on the ballot in front of Dick’s Sporting Goods? Or to congregate around the duck pond to protest government action in Syria or to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act? Would a corporation appreciate the funky free speech practiced at First Wednesday Art Walk or One Spark? Would food trucks be welcomed or seen as competitors to the mall’s restaurants?”

Reagan posits that one can’t ignore recent successes:

“There are some vacant buildings, but several have been bought and are being developed. The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is renovating the old Haydon Burns Library into an office complex for philanthropic and nonprofit organizations. SouthEast Holdings purchased the Laura Street Trio (Florida Life, Bisbee and Florida National Bank, also known as the Marble Bank, at Laura and Forsyth streets) to create a complex featuring a Courtyard by Marriott hotel, two restaurants, a commercial bank and a rooftop bar. SouthEast also bought the Barnett Bank building at Adams and Laura streets but has not announced its plans.

Destinations like the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville and the Museum of Science and History draw people to both sides of the river. The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Riverside and the Karpeles Manuscript Library in Springfield are nearby draws to the core. Dozens of art galleries feature constantly rotating shows of local and national artists. The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville awards grants to artists to create public works in the core and helps galleries find spaces in the area.”

Read Reagan’s full editor’s note here. As you reflect on the kind of city you want Jacksonville to be, we echo Folio Weekly‘s question:

Does Jacksonville want to be known 
for having a great mall or a great city?

by: Jennifer Hewett-Apperson in Thought Leadership No Comments  

In a recent storyThe Jacksonville Business Journal asked, “Where does a push for more office workers fit into Downtown Jacksonville revitalization?”

Downtown revitalization is a complex process that does not have a single “magic bullet” solution. Similar to other downtowns, Downtown Jacksonville has historically been the center of commerce and business in Northeast Florida. As businesses relocated to the suburbs, taking large numbers of employees with them, it became clear that in order to thrive, Downtown needed to diversify. This diversification has included a push for more residential population and entertainment destinations. By no means does this diminish the importance of office workers to downtowns. In fact, office workers remain critical to Downtown’s success.

According to DVI’s 2012 State of Downtown report, more than 48,000 people work in Downtown Jacksonville. In addition, EverBank has announced a two-floor expansion, Cushman & Wakefield is relocating to 121 Atlantic Place, the Robin Shepard Agency plans to move in to Riverplace Tower, and 200 C2C Solutions, Inc. employees just transitioned into their new office in EverBank Center last week.

In the works are big renovations for the Haydon Burns Library building, a planned center for nonprofits, as well as renovation of the Groover Stuart building into a multi-tenent office building, to name two larger-scale office development initiatives. There is also an emerging “creative cluster” district of more than half a dozen creative agencies doing business in The Elbow area.

Office workers are critical to the success of the more than 100 combined restaurants and bars located in Downtown Jacksonville. They also are key supporters of the more than 100 retail and service-oriented businesses.

While the residential population in Downtown Jacksonville has experienced substantial growth in recent years, the number of residential housing units is still quite limited and not able to accommodate a population that could sustain retailers on its own. Many of the folks who come Downtown on evenings and weekends for entertainment undoubtedly become aware of Downtown’s offerings as a result of working there.

So, where do office workers fit into the revitalization of Downtown?  They are a critical piece of the puzzle.

by: Admin in Spotlight No Comments  

-Emily Gregorchik, DVI Intern
DVI offers marketing internships each semester. More information on the program can be found here.

With over a decade of experience, Lisa Gufford knows how to give her clients exactly that they want. Her company, Executive Suite Professionals, offers high-end, fully furnished office suites for a wide variety of clientele. From single offices to quintuplet suites, these office spaces give clients a luxurious space to meet and conduct business as well as stunning views of the St. Johns River and Downtown. The dust has barely settled from the renovations to the 14th floor of EverBank Center, but Gufford is ready and eager to move clients into these spaces.

Executive Suite Professionals presents patrons with many amenities and services. The suites are fully furnished allowing staff to “plug-in and play.” Amenities  include telephone equipment, private phone lines, high speed internet and wi-fi, 10 hours of meeting room time per month, beverage services, parking, a full-time receptionist, on-site management and security, plus opportunities to network and much more. Guests are not locked in to long-term contracts, which gives them the freedom and flexibility to choose the space that is right for their business.

“I’ve had the word ‘no’ taken out of my vocabulary.  We will find a way to fit your needs, we find solutions,” says Gufford on the quality of service and what clients can expect from ESP.

Gufford is very excited to bring ESP to the Downtown area:
“Being in the industry and listening to clients’ needs, it’s been mentioned many times, ‘Do you have anything Downtown?’ I really believe in our city. So my hope, my dream, my desire is to bring one hundred small businesses to Jacksonville on one floor.”

Gufford hopes that bringing her business Downtown will help bolster the economy of the urban core.

“Not only will my clients be here with me, but their clients will come to see them. They’ll need parking, they’ll need dining, hotels, shopping, so it’s my hope that bringing Executive Suite Professionals to Jacksonville will help, in some small way, stimulate the economy to Downtown.”

Gufford, along with her two business partners are committed to higher standards of service for their clients, as well as helping to revitalize the Downtown area. “I’m very, very lucky to have two great business partners and two great friends who see my vision,” says Gufford.

Downtown is sure to see great changes with a company like this calling our city home and we are excited to welcome them to our metropolitan community.

 

by: Admin in Placemaking No Comments  

The saying goes that colors brighten any room. The same can be said about public art Downtown. The recent addition of several public art installations Downtown have brightened bare exterior walls of businesses, brought life back to façades of vacant historic buildings and transformed familiar walkways’ fences, sidewalks and trees.

Yates garage mural installation underway June 7.

The latest in this public art boom on the heels of One Spark are the Yates parking garage murals, currently under installation at the corner of Market and Newnan streets. New murals will be constructed on each of the four 52-foot stair towers of the garage and are the newest addition to the City of Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places collection, administered by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville.

The first two murals, by Northeast Florida artists Felici Asteinza and Joey Fillastre of Milagros Art Collective, are abstract designs best seen by drivers from the Hart Bridge Expressway. Neptune Beach artist Sean Mahan will create figurative and symbolic images on the remaining two murals geared toward pedestrian traffic.

Sean Mahan mural concept (left), alongside Felici Asteinza and Joey Fillastre of Milagros Art Collective’s abstract mural.

According to the official press release, the murals will create a visual connection to accessible public parking and serve as an entry point into the Spark District, a new Cultural Council initiative to revitalize Downtown’s core through arts and culture projects.

The Spark District spans from the riverfront north to Duval Street and is bordered east to west from Liberty Street to Hogan Street and is meant to serve as a canvas for Spark Grant Program beneficiaries. The Spark Grant Program anticipates awarding $5,000-$25,000 to approximately eight visual arts projects from a pool of $60,000 this year. For more information, view the Spark Grant video or visit the Cultural Council’s website.

Public art is an important initiative for any Downtown working toward revitalization as it enhances the street-level experience, creates and inspires effective public place-making and improves the quality of life for Downtown workers, residents and visitors.

If you’re interested in checking out the Yates garage murals’ installations, the artists are scheduled to paint at the site 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through July 6.