An early 20th century view of LaVilla’s Bay Street. (State Archives of Florida)

After decades of suffering from the ill effects of urban renewal, Jacksonville’s “Harlem of the South” has now become a hot spot for new infill development. Seeking to balance development opportunity within an area of significant black history, over the last few months the DIA and JTA have teamed up to create a development strategy for the historic neighborhood.

A before and after rendering of potential redevelopment along Lee Street in LaVilla from the draft LaVilla Neighborhood Development Strategy report.

According to a recent press release, the Development Strategy for LaVilla is based on the dynamic combination of LaVilla’s position within Downtown and the unique land holdings of the City. These two factors, paired with the neighborhood’s rich history and the opportunity for transit-oriented development, are key to the neighborhood’s future.

On Thursday, April 25 at 5:30pm, the findings of this initiative will be shared with the community at the Ritz Theater.

An opinion of LaVilla’s market rate opportunities from the LaVilla Neighborhood Development Strategy draft report.

Additional LaVilla Coverage LaVilla’s Broad Street business district during the early 20th century. (Florida State Archives)

Vintage Photos: Vibrant LaVilla

The Line: Jacksonville’s Notorious Red Light District

Here is a plan to revive LaVilla

LaVilla: The rise and fall of a great black neighborhood

Memphis’ Beale Street an example for LaVilla?

Recalling Downtown’s Greek Railroad Row

Jacksonville’s early 20th century Chinese community

Remembering the Atlantic & East Coast Terminal Railroad

Ma Rainey: The Mother of the Blues

Writers of the First Coast: James Weldon Johnson

Unsung black women are notable in Jacksonville history

Update by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at