Incoming City Council member Matt Carlucci has suggested Jacksonville pump the brakes on plans to demolish the Landing until hearing what the public actually want to do with the site. It’s certainly true that the city would benefit from determining whether demolition is really the best option before spending $22 million on it. Demolition and replacement may be the best answer, but the experience of virtually all other cities with comparable buildings as well as most successful projects in the Downtown Core over the last two decades shows that remodeling the existing building may be a more effective, cheaper solution. The way to know will be keep options open while determining the next steps.
This proposal by a group of Jacksonville architects shows what could be accomplished with the existing structure offers a new vision for the Landing that focuses on adaptive reuse and selective demolition to update the existing marketplace. It presents a compromise between total demolition and total preservation. It accomplishes all the things the city says it wants to do with the Landing - creating ample new green space, opening up Laura Street, and reducing the overabundance of retail square footage. It also preserves the building’s iconic orange roof and popular courtyard, and right-sizes the building for retail more in line with the market reality. This is just one possibility of what could happen if the city allows for the possibility of adaptive reuse before determining the next phase.
Next page: Detailed renderings and more possibilities