Largely ignored by ineffectual leadership, our urban center evolved into a wasteland of demolished buildings, leaving parking lots in its wake while city planners focused on haphazard suburban sprawl. Thankfully, many visionaries with unstoppable momentum believed Jacksonville to be a place on the river full of entertainment, culture, business, and green space that better reflected its citizens’ true potential. Even as city officials continually created new obstacles, these dreamers pressed on with a motto most often echoed throughout the private sector, “Jacksonville could be so great if ____.”
Since architecture and design are both an art and a business, this annual issue feels like a seamless fit. Arbus takes great pride in serving as the platform for so many of the region’s best architects, designers, and builders to promote their work.
Take a look and discover this year’s most exciting changes to our built environment.
Almost everyone is familiar with an artist’s commission for a painting, sculpture, wedding gown, or bespoke jewelry. You discover an artist’s work who you truly love and want an original piece that no one else has. More often an exhaustive search takes place to find that perfect piece that, in your mind, does not exist. Yet.
“I’ll know what I like when I see it.” I have heard that phrase over and over again during my interior design career. I must tell you—this statement illustrates the challenges faced when trying to zero in on a direction for the look, feel, and quality of your design project, whether it’s a new corporate build-out or a home renovation. Short of hiring a team of dedicated psychologists, therapists, color theorists, and sociologists, here are some tips on how to find your way.
A huge piece of local history is being resurrected in downtown’s Eastside neighborhood, just north of TIAA Bank Field. The Debs Store and the Davis Rooming House next door (now razed) were built by Edward D. Mixson in 1913. The red-brick, neighborhood grocery store on the corner of 5th Street and Florida Avenue was opened in 1921 by Lebanese immigrant Nicolas Debs and closed 90 years later in 2011. Debs Store was a part of the fabric of its community and the Debs family a staple. Nicolas’s sons, Nick and Gene, knew nearly everyone who walked into the store, and once they both passed away, the family made the difficult decision to shutter it.
If old buildings could talk, then the 109-year-old Elena Flats building would have pleaded for someone to save it from demolition.