3. Ryan Companies US, Inc.: 325 West Adams Street
Vacant street level retail spaces surround the long abandoned site of the razed George Washington Hotel at the intersection of West Adams and Julia streets. 325 West Adams is the third site the Ryan Companies US, Inc. has proposed for JEA’s new corporate headquarters. If selected, a high-rise corporate office would be constructed.
325 West Adams Street is the former site of the 15-story George Washington Hotel at the intersection of West Adams and Julia streets. One block from Hemming Park, the George Washington Hotel operated from 1926 to 1971 before being demolished in 1971. 48 years after being razed, if JEA selects this site, the first high-rise in the Northbank skyline in 17 years could be under construction by the end of the year. Like the LaVilla parcel under consideration, a JEA corporate headquarters at this site would keep 836 employees in the heart of downtown and fill a blighted block, immediately generating interest in the leasing of vacant street level storefronts along West Adams Street between the Duval County Courthouse and the Laura Street Trio. If JEA is really interested in also being a good public steward and really kicking Northbank redevelopment into overdrive, this is a centralized urban site worth serious consideration. With the Ambassador Hotel restoration, Vesctor’s associated 200-unit infill apartment development, Jones Brothers Furniture, the Barnett, Laura Street Trio, Hyatt Place and Hotel Indigo projects all within a short walking distance, a JEA selection of this site would be the exact definition of clustering, complementing uses within a compact, pedestrian scale setting. Clustering, complementing uses within a compact, pedestrian scale setting is the key ingredient and common characteristic of all vibrant urban centers across the country.