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7 arguments for The Landing as historic architecture

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Buildings that are 50 years or older are landmarked as historically significant, according to a set of seven criteria. The Jacksonville Landing already passes all seven, meaning that in 18 years, it will be an important historic landmark.

The Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission follows a set of seven criteria to determine whether buildings that are older than 50 years should be landmarked as historic. The criteria cover everything from architectural style to significance in local or national history. A building must meet at least two of the criteria, as judged by the commission, and must meet four to be guaranteed landmarking designation if the current property owner objects. Landmark designation affords buildings some protection from demolition or alteration, as well as recognition as a locally important site.

The criteria are:

  • It has value as a significant reminder of the cultural, historical, architectural, or archaeological heritage of the city, state or nation;
  • Its location is the site of a significant local, state or national event;
  • It is identified with a person or persons who significantly contributed to the development of the city, state or nation;
  • It is identified as the work of a master builder, designer, or architect whose individual work has influenced the development of the city, state or nation;
  • Its value as a building is recognized for the quality of architecture, and it retains sufficient elements showing its architectural significance;
  • It has distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style valuable for the study of a period, method of construction, or use of indigenous materials;
  • Its suitability for preservation or restoration.

The list is useful not only to those trying to preserve historic buildings but to those who wish to determine which newer buildings will have the significance to save in the future. The Jacksonville Landing, which opened in 1987, is such an example.

The distinctive building is a product of an important period in American architectural history when cities sought new ways to revitalize their flagging downtowns. Its creator, James Rouse, was a figure of major national importance in the history of urban development. If the Jacksonville Landing were to last 18 more years, it would pass every one of the Historic Preservation Commission's criteria with flying colors.

Here's a look at how the Landing stacks up as a historically and architecturally important structure.

1. It has value as a significant reminder of the cultural, historical, architectural or archeological heritage of the city, state or nation.

The Landing is a festival marketplace, a concept invented by pioneering developer and urban planner James Rouse, founder of the Rouse Company. The goal of the festival marketplace was to help revive declining downtowns by creating new spaces concentrating retail and dining, reminiscent of European markets. Following the early success of Faneuil Hall in Boston and Baltimore's Harborplace in the 1970s and early 80s, Rouse took the concept to a variety of other cities, including Jacksonville. Subsequently, other developers jumped on the trend to build festival marketplaces of their own. Though most later marketplaces - including the Landing - failed to live up to expectations, they remain as examples of an important national trend in the urban revitalization efforts that have continued from the 1970s until today.

For several remaining significant features of The Landing, read the full article at ModernCities.com.