Aerial of the Sports & Entertainment District with proposed Hart Bridge ramp removal and Lot J site plans. (The Cordish Companies)
Close up rendering of proposed Lot J site plan. (The Cordish Companies)
In recent years, many references have been made to Ballpark Village in St. Louis and the Power & Light District in Kansas City. While some of their internal uses may be applicable, in reality both developments are bad comparable examples for Downtown Jacksonville because of the surrounding context. In the case of Ballpark Village, the development is located across the street from the nearest light rail station, two blocks from Citygarden and three blocks from the St. Louis Arch and core of Downtown St. Louis.
A Ballpark Village master plan rendering that visually illustrates its proximity to Downtown St. Louis. (The Cordish Companies)
On the other side of Missouri, the Power & Light District sits in a similar historically walkable setting. The $850 million mixed-use district is located in the heart of Downtown Kansas City and includes the adaptive reuse of the historic 34-story Kansas City Power and Light Building (yeah, JEA, we’re looking at you), which was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River until 1942. In addition, the Crossroads Arts District is situated just to the south of the Power & Light. With numerous buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Crossroads is a former early 20th century warehouse district with a collection of buildings that have been retrofitted into art galleries, restaurants, design studios, live music venues and other complementing enterprises.
A photograph of the Power & Light District that illustrates its proximity to the heart of Downtown Kansas City. (The Cordish Companies)
What About Lot J?
A few of Downtown Jacksonville’s skyline in the distant background from Lot J.
What we do know is that Lot J is a proposed $500 million mixed-use development adjacent to TIAA Bank Field, which is roughly a little over a mile away from the traditional pedestrian friendly core of Downtown Jacksonville. Anticipated to be built on top of the Lot J parking lot immediately west of TIAA Bank Field and Daily’s Place, the mixed-use dining and entertainment project will include a massive parking garage, 300-unit residential tower, 200-room boutique hotel, office building and an outdoor Live arena bounded by Daily’s Place, Gator Bowl Boulevard, Georgia and Adams Streets. The long term vision is for Lot J to serve as the first phase of a $2.5 billion mixed-use node around the stadium that will be incrementally developed as the market allows.
Long term master plan vision featuring Lot J and additional infill development around TIAA Bank Field. (Iguana Investments)
As a result, Lot J isn’t comparable to Ballpark Village or the Power & Light District. Both those developments are in the walkable core of their downtowns, clustered with complementing uses to drive activity. Lot J, located a mile from Downtown, won’t have the opportunities of those districts to feed off of other nearby attractions.
However, when it comes to gaining a visual understanding of what could be headed to the Sports & Entertainment District, a great comparison can be found in a another Cordish project in a similar setting. Located in Arlington, Texas, between the Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium and the Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Park, Texas Live! is a $250 million, mixed-use dining and entertainment district developed as a partnership between The Cordish Companies and the Texas Rangers. A part of a long-term, $1.25 billion vision for Arlington’s stadium district, Texas Live! features a full-service, 14-story, 300-room Live! by Loews hotel, 35,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, 200,000 square feet of restaurants, retail and entertainment venues situated around a 5,000-capacity outdoor event pavilion. Doors opened in August 2018, and as has also been said about Lot J, Texas Live! draws inspiration from Cordish’s Ballpark Village and Xfinity Live! in Philadelphia, while also being uniquely authentic to Arlington’s stadium district.
What makes Texas Live! an applicable and appropriate visual example of what Lot J could possibly resemble in Jacksonville is its setting. Unlike Ballpark Village and the Power & Light District, Texas Live! was not built in the middle of a densely populated area that has been urbanized for well over a century. Instead, it is located in an area traditionally characterized by a sea of surface parking lots. However, incrementally over time, it could become a central anchor to a larger scene of infill mixed use activity complementing existing sports and entertainment venues in the immediate vicinity.
A master plan rendering of Texas Live! (The Cordish Companies)
With this in mind, here is a look at Texas Live!