Architecture’s Role in Downtown Rejuvenation

New major promises, but can they deliver?

The Barnett Building

The Barnett Building

We will focus on revitalizing Downtown. We will bring more residents to Downtown. We will move more businesses and their employees to Downtown. We will utilize the Shipyards to the city’s advantage.
You’ve heard it all before.
These claims have become almost commonplace to long-time Jacksonville residents. Could this time really be different? Recent proposals – like Shad Khan’s monumental plans for the Shipyards, a floating party “BARge” connecting the North and South Banks, and a waterfront aquarium – suddenly seem a bit more palpable.



Dramatic renderings of these and other projects along with a few key players’ comments about the Downtown cityscape have certainly piqued brand new interest in the urban core.
“What we have here [is] 100 years of some of the most important history in the world. I see that story and the embrace of design, art, architecture, and experience creating a place that is world-class and world-known” says Steve Williams, the CEO of Harbinger Signs, who is in negotiations to acquire a building at 331 W. Forsyth Street (see The Federal Building section).

The Shipyards Designed by Populous

The Shipyards
Designed by Populous

One thing is clear: we are a city on the verge. But in order to push Downtown Jacksonville over the edge, architectural design elements should be considered as important as square footage and the tenants or attractions themselves.
Along with the obvious economic benefit that some of the proposed projects bring to the city, each one in its own way brings aesthetically pleasing design and architectural integrity that can intrigue residents and tourists as well as raise Jacksonville’s visibility on a national level.

The BARge

The BARge

Take, for example, The BARge: “The design and renderings of The BARge’s first event, Beer, Bourbon and Bacon, not only ‘lit the fire’ under the decision makers, it ignited interest across Jacksonville and nationally,” says Dawn Emerick, Ed.D, co-founder and partner of The BARge. “Architect Jason Fisher’s attention-grabbing designs of The BARge are one-hundred percent responsible for the project’s explosion on social media.”

Article written by Kate Jolley

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Author: Arbus

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