Florida | The following is one of the success stories of the National Trust`s Community Partners (CP) program. Other case studies are available from their website:
http://www.nationaltrust.org/community_partners/ | Posted: 08/04/2003
At 841 square miles, Jacksonville, Florida is the one of the nation`s largest cities in land area. The metropolitan area population is over one million and is the eighth-fastest growing large city in the country. This economic growth, however, has been uneven, flourishing in the outer reaches of the municipal area while downtown`s rich historic building stock has been bypassed by development. To infuse new vitality in the historic core of the city and stimulate a 24-hour community, Jacksonville city officials and the Downtown Development Agency focused efforts on creating housing units in the central business district. Within this context, Vestcor Companies undertook the conversion of the Lynch office building in downtown Jacksonville into the city`s first significant loft-style housing.
The Lynch Building is one of a cluster of skyscrapers built between 1901 and 1927 that comprises the National Register-nominated Historic Buildings of Downtown Jacksonville. It was constructed in 1926 during Florida`s land boom, becoming the second tallest structure among a skyline of 12 existing buildings of 10 stories or more. These commercial style skyscrapers were the city`s defining characteristic, contributing to Jacksonville`s proud image as the financial, commercial and industrial center of northeast Florida. The landscape changed in 1954 when new, taller buildings began to crowd the downtown and the Lynch Building was left vacant in the late 1980s. The Lynch Building is a 153,000 square foot, 17-story Chicago style structure with a marble, limestone and brick façade and topped by a distinct terra cotta capital. The building is a locally designated landmark and will be listed on the National Register of Historic Places upon completion.
When completed, the Lynch Building, or 11 East Forsyth as it has been re-named, will support 126 loft-style, market-rate apartments and 4,500 square feet of first-floor commercial space. An adjacent parking structure will be built to accommodate residents.
PRESERVATION AND COMMUNITY IMPACT
The rehabilitation of the former Lynch Building into loft apartments at 11 E. Forsyth will not only revitalize a historic landmark in downtown Jacksonville but will also help stimulate economic and community development in the surrounding area. Creating high-end apartments with amenities that rival those of the suburbs yet that possess a unique historic character and proximity to jobs and other cultural attractions has shown to draw residents downtown. The result is a more lively after-hours community that generates growth and re-development that benefits other historic properties like the former Lynch Building. This project thus complements recommendations made by a joint Community Partners, National Main Street Center and National Trust Southern Office assessment team hired by the city to evaluate the potential for historic preservation to catalyze community revitalization.
OTHER NATIONAL TRUST INVOLVEMENT
Community Partners` Inner-City Ventures Fund closed on a $350,000 loan to Vestcor in March 2002. This loan will bridge the Fund`s fourth equity pay-in.
| Property: 153,000 gross square foot, 17-story former office building built in 1926
Location: 11. East Forsyth in downtown Jacksonville, FL
Developer/Owner: The Vestcor Companies
Historic Status: Nominated for National Register of Historic Places
Project Goal: 126 loft-style apartments and 4,500 square feet of first-floor commercial space
Total Project Cost:
Project Completion: 2003
For more information contact:
National Trust for Historic Preservation
1785 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036