5. Its value as a building is recognized for the quality of architecture, and it retains sufficient elements showing its architectural significance;

The Rouse festival marketplace is both a historically significant type of development, and also something of a rarity: the structures were influential and various other developers built their own takes, but the Rouse Company itself only constructed around 30. Among them, the Landing stands out for its unique horseshoe shape and iconic orange roof - the only festival marketplace with these features. Hans Strauch and the Rouse team created this unusual design to pay tribute to the old City Market, razed in the 1950s in another failed bid to revive Downtown through the Godzilla strategy (it’s still a surface parking lot, by the way). The pushback the demolition plan has gotten shows that many citizens recognize the Landing as iconic for Jacksonville. And as it has never been modified (or updated, its only real problem), its key architectural elements remain intact.

6. It has distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style valuable for the study of a period, method of construction, or use of indigenous materials;

The Jacksonville Landing during the 1980s.

Whatever one thinks of the Landing or festival marketplaces in general, they are valuable for what they meant to the urban renewal movement of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. This was a period when, following decades of suburbanization and declining urban populations, cities decided to make big, bold investments to try and turn their downtown’s fortunes around. Though few festival marketplaces worked out as planned, they’ve been surprising adaptable, with cities from Miami to Norfolk to Flint, Michigan successfully turning them to other uses. As such, the Landing and its fellow marketplaces are valuable for studying not only the major urban development trends of the 1980s, but the ways downtown spaces have evolved and adapted ever since.

7. Its suitability for preservation or restoration.

Structurally, the Landing is in perfectly good shape. There’s no doubt it could use a coat of paint or nine, and perhaps a modern update that embraces the spirit of the building while adapting it for the 21st century, but the Landing is fully suited for preservation. And it wouldn’t have to cost $22 million.

This is to say, the Landing already passes all seven of the requirements for being landmarked as a historic building. In another 18 years, the festival marketplaces that remain will be historic landmarks in their cities. It’s no wonder that Jacksonville is on track to be the only city to ever demolish its festival marketplace entirely without replacement.

Article by J.D. McGregor. Contact J.D. at jdmcgregorjax@gmail.com.