The Ambassador Hotel originally opened in 1924 as 310 West Church Street Apartments, the first upscale apartments in downtown Jacksonville. In 1943, it was converted into a hotel by Charles Griner, a personal friend of Ed Ball, executor of the DuPont Estate. Following Griner’s death, Ball advised his widow Doris to demolish the building but she objected because she felt Jacksonville had already torn down every other old hotel in downtown. Rebranded the Ambassador Hotel in 1955, the business survived until 1998 when the entire building was condemned and closed.
Vacant for 24 years, the six story brick and limestone Georgian Revival style building is poised to be renovated by December 2022. Seeking the Downtown Development Review Board’s (DDRB) Final Approval for the adaptive reuse of the Ambassador, Axis Hotels, LLC intends to convert the structure into a 100-room hotel. With the building placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, the developer plans to maintain the building’s historic facade and add a restaurant, lounge, meeting space, fitness center and guest laundry area in addition to the hotel.
The dining room, featuring a bar and outdoor courtyard, would be located on the ground floor of the hotel facing Julia Street. The entrance to the hotel’s main hotel lobby and registration area would also face Julia Street. The meeting room and fitness center would be located on ground floor facing Church Street. Floors two through six would each contain 20 guest rooms. With the developer recently closing on a construction loan for the $17.6 million project, construction is anticipated to begin by the end of July and be completed by December 2022. Initially expected to be operated as a La Quinta Inn & Suites, a recent Jax Daily Record article indicates that the property could become a TRYP by Wyndham.
East Elevation (Julia Street)