Retail-less parking garage proposed for downtown

How not to build a parking garage

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Project Description

The proposed garage site is located at the intersection of Bay and Hogan Streets.

Parador has an existing redevelopment agreement with the City of Jacksonville to construct a parking garage that has at least 500 spaces on this high profile downtown property. $3.5 million will be provided by the City of Jacksonville towards the project's costs in exchange for 200 daily and 375 night and weekend public spaces on a first come first serve basis to benefit the Jacksonville Landing and other surrounding commercial businesses.

The Bay (top) and Hogan (bottom) Street elevations.

As a result, at Thursday's Downtown Development Review Board (DDRB) meeting, Parador will request conceptual approval for a proposed six level 600 space parking garage located at the southeast quadrant of Bay and Hogan Streets. The proposed project will provide supplemental parking for the SunTrust Tower and Jacksonville Landing developments.

The conceptual review information indicates that the project will need to address possible deviations to the development guidelines prior to DDRB final review and approval which include the following:

1. Deviation from guidelines to avoid providing an entrance to Bay Street.
2. Deviation from guidelines to not provide required 50% retail for frontage on Bay and Hogan Streets.
3. Deviation from guidelines to avoid required streetscape standards for frontage on Bay and Hogan Streets.

The Independent Drive (top) and Suntrust Tower (bottom) elevations. The Independent Drive elevation will be a solid wall despite facing the Landing, Enterprise Center, and the Times-Union Center of the Performing Arts.

This project was the proposed site of Cameron Kuhn's failed Riverwatch Tower and garage in 2007.

Sister Cities Plaza

The project fails to interact with Sister Cities Plaza (the triangular space) or the land uses surrounding it.

Directly facing the Jacksonville Landing, Omni Hotel, SunTrust Tower and Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, Sister Cities Plaza is located at what could become the most visible and lively intersection along Jacksonville's downtown waterfront. Unfortunately, the garage project project does not take advantage of this frontage by completely turning its back to the intersection. As illustrated, it fails to bring pedestrian scale activity to a high profile downtown intersection.

Bay Street

Ground floor parking stalls can be seen along Bay Street in this perspective despite the surrounding buildings having some type of pedestrian scale interaction with the sidewalks around them.

Bay Street is a major thoroughfare of pedestrian scale activity in downtown. Every existing building on this block currently interacts with the pedestrian at street level. Street level retail would complete this block as a part of an infill project, making it a major coup for generating additional pedestrian scale activity with the heart of the core. For some strange reason, this project does not provide this.

Street Level Retail

Project site plan

The positive element new construction brings to downtown is the potential addition of leasable street level retail space that interacts with the sidewalk. This type of use and interaction with the sidewalk naturally encourages more pedestrian traffic, which creates additional retail opportunities. Unfortunately, the proposed project provides no retail space, despite the city's design guidelines requiring that parking garages in the Central Civic Core provide a minimum of 50% of the associated street frontages be developed with ground floor retail.

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