Local interactive designer Ian Latchmansingh has called Downtown Jacksonville home for the last four years – and he isn’t going anywhere. A City Place resident, Latchmansingh loves Downtown for its energy, nightlife and proximity to everyday conveniences. We recently chatted with him about what he loves most about living in the heart of the River City:
Why did you choose to live Downtown?
It seemed natural to move Downtown. I think everyone should live in a city versus a suburb just due to the practicality. I tried to set an example by living here.
Where are you from originally, and how did you end up in Jacksonville?
I’m a New York transplant, but I spent most of my youth in Central Florida. I studied graphic design at Flagler College and was head-hunted just before graduation to work as a designer for an interactive agency in Jacksonville.
What is your professional background?
I’ve been an interactive designer for the last eight years. I’m currently the Creative Chair for the American Advertising Federation of Jacksonville and the Lead Experience Designer for St. John & Partners, an ad agency here in Jacksonville. I also have two independent record labels.
What do you love most about living Downtown?
I have both of my banks within walking distance. I can go enjoy the nightlife of Bay Street with relative ease. I like that we have a monorail like the Springfield of The Simpsons. I also like that I can walk to CoWork Jax events. There are also plenty of conveniences (two 7-11’s within a few blocks!).
How would you describe Downtown’s vibe?
As someone who’s been on the stage and in the audience, I can say that from either perspective there’s definitely a “vibe” Downtown. It’s more progressive here, maybe subversive even. Additionally, I feel like there’s a collaborative tone. I feel comfortable in any bar or club.
What are your favorite Downtown activities?
I’m a huge fan of Olio, particularly because you can add foie gras to any item. The noodle bar (Pho. A Noodle Bar) is pretty cool, too. The restaurants we have Downtown are worth visiting. I also like the clubs included in The Elbow, as they’re now calling it. I don’t think I’ve bothered deviating from nightlife in that area in a while. It’s been steadily entertaining.
What do you think is the biggest misperception about Downtown?
The idea that it can’t be revived. I regularly hear from native residents that they’ve been ‘trying for years’ to inject some vitality into the Downtown area. If you look at the history and note the amount of spending since the white flight of the last century, it’s clear that over the last 10 years there has been some serious investment in improving the urban core. And lately, with groups like Khan’s investors and One Spark, the private sector may be able to give urban Jacksonville the shot in the arm it needs.
If someone was thinking about moving Downtown, what would you say to them?
Hurry up already! Also, there’s a U-Haul center in the urban core.