View Full Version : Will Jacksonville ever catch up to the rest of Florida?
November 14th, 2004, 09:30 AM
I'm under the impression that Jacksonville has the least interesting downtown in all of Florida, considering its population. Any chance it will ever catch up? I been all over Florida in the last couple of months and Tampa had the most impressive down, considering it's size, IMO. While Jacksonville had the most boring. I would even go so far as to rate Daytona Beach's little strip far more interesting than Downtown Jacksonville.
November 14th, 2004, 02:55 PM
Catch up in what way? Its booming with new projects from all sectors....residential, infill, public, office, restorations, etc. Imo, it was never really behind, especially for a southern urban area of less than 900,000 in population. In fact, I'd say its downtown is right on target, in terms of growth, with every other major metro in Florida. As far as public and civic improvements go, I'd rank it tops in the state. If you're attempting to compare it, by city population, you'll stay disappointed......because its a consolidated urban area. The actual original 30 square mile city (pre-consolidation city limits) current population is around 115,000.
downtown Jax street level pics
Jacksonville Projects & Construction list
November 14th, 2004, 11:28 PM
I think JAX is doing a good job turning things around, especially with the older buildings alongside new ones going up, it is a city that can benefit from its history. Having the urban fabric in place is a lot easier to work with than building everything from the ground up.
November 14th, 2004, 11:32 PM
Changing the Name to Johnsonville :) Could Improve the City. :cheers:
What I mean Is, Its The LARGEST CITY alnog the St. JOHN's River, So if they changed the Name to JOHNSONVILLE :) , Its would get more Attention and More Tourists. :cheers:
November 15th, 2004, 05:43 AM
This article doesn't really have to do directly with downtown development, but it does show that Jacksonville isn't as overlooked as it once was. In fact, it's doing pretty good these days.
By ROBERT TRIGAUX, Times Business Columnist
Published November 14, 2004
Mirror, mirror on the wall. What Florida metro area is the hottest of them all?
With Florida at the forefront of the rebounding U.S. economy, competition is keen.
The Tampa Bay area, with its low unemployment rate, could make a good run at the title. So could Orlando now that tourism is rebounding. Or Palm Beach with the soon-to-arrive biotech giant Scripps Research Institute. Or maybe Miami, so focused on winning the coveted free trade zone to Latin America.
My vote goes to . . . Jacksonville.
As the host of Super Bowl XXXIX in February, Jacksonville will be one of the smaller metro areas to host the championship game, one of television's most globally watched events. The city also pulled a rare economic coup last year by persuading two Fortune 500 companies to relocate their corporate headquarters to the area. Jacksonville has even managed in recent years to rank No. 1 or near the top on prestigious corporate relocation lists of "America's hottest cities."
That's just for starters. Florida's forgotten northern metro area - a place once renowned for the reek of paper mills, a city that people still joke is more part of south Georgia than Florida - is coming on strong as a potent economic force.
So potent that Jacksonville is on the radar of economic developers in the Tampa Bay area, still twice Jacksonville's population, as a new and serious competitor.
"As we see bigger deals going down, Jacksonville is consistently on the short list of locations," says Chris Steinocher, vice president of marketing and strategic direction at the Tampa Bay Partnership, this area's regional marketing organization. "Five years ago, Jacksonville would show up on occasion but was not consistent. But we would be kidding ourselves to say Jacksonville will not be more of a competitor."
There are economic lessons to learn here.
In many ways, Jacksonville and the Tampa Bay area appear to be much alike. They are both sprawling metro areas with active ports on the coast of Florida. They both rely on growing populations, Florida's sunshine lifestyle and the state's probusiness climate as selling points when recruiting new companies.
Each metro area convinced itself in years past that greatness was just around the corner by embracing self-inflated slogans. "Bold New City of the South" was Jacksonville's claim. "America's Next Great City" was Tampa's equally excessive choice. Both metro areas also suffered years of self-doubt and an inferiority complex when economic reality reduced these slogans to bad punch lines.
Now that both metro areas are on economic rolls with renewed confidence, they retain some striking differences. Jacksonville - the city and the county, Duval - are one and the same, which gives the area a singularly focused ability to pursue economic development with one voice. The Tampa Bay area, while improving as a cooperative economic region, remains by comparison a modern Tower of Babel. Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and dozens of smaller cities often pursue separate agendas, while Pinellas, Hillsborough and surrounding counties can act as adversaries as much as allies.
Jacksonville also enjoys a geographic proximity to the Southeastern states that has made it a major port for automobiles. Logistically, the Tampa Bay area is too far south on Florida's peninsula to compete in that business.
On the other hand, the Tampa Bay area enjoys the rising research and economic clout from the University of South Florida, one of the nation's top 20 schools in size. Jacksonville can only promote loose connections with the distant University of Florida in Gainesville.
Tampa Bay also has forged a power alliance of technology companies known as the Florida High Tech Corridor, based on the proximity of Interstate 4 and the research strength of USF and the University of Central Florida, that stretches to Orlando and Melbourne. Jacksonville has no similar tech compact.
And last but not least, the Tampa Bay area enjoys good airport travel connections. Jacksonville remains lean on flights and direct air connections.
One man who has watched both metro areas mature is Jerry Mallot. He worked on Tampa's Committee of 100 economic development group, then moved over to help start the Tampa Bay Partnership. In the early 1990s, Jacksonville business leaders tried to lure him away to help run their chamber of commerce.
"My first reaction was, "You can't be serious,' " Mallot recalls. "Why would I ever leave Tampa Bay?" But he agreed to travel to Jacksonville, where he was introduced to a diamond in the rough.
Mallot's visit also happened to coincide with the National Football League's decision to grant Jacksonville the NFL's 30th franchise. The Jacksonville Jaguars were a big risk. But Mallot saw gold.
"I knew the Jaguars franchise would have an enormous impact on this part of the state and Jacksonville proper," he recalled. Mallot took the job and serves as executive vice president of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Nobody likes to admit that pro football is so influential to the prosperity of a metro area. It's not that Jacksonville would be hurting without an NFL team. But the franchise gave unprecedented national attention to Jacksonville - a Florida town, frankly, that few people outside the state could easily find on a map.
The same thing happened to the Tampa Bay area when it won its own NFL franchise and began play in 1976.
"As hard as people do not want to hear it, football puts you on the map," says the Tampa Bay Partnership's Steinocher.
For Jacksonville, that was just the beginning. When the city and county became one geographic entity and a single government, Jacksonville became more nimble as an economic competitor. The area hit pay dirt in 2003, when the Fortune 500 railroad giant CSX Corp. decided to move its headquarters to the city.
Then Fidelity National Financial, another Fortune 500 company based in Santa Barbara, Calif., purchased Alltel's financial service division in Jacksonville. At the time, Fidelity CEO Bill Foley was fed up with the high costs and antibusiness climate in California. When Foley saw Jacksonville, he was impressed.
Gov. Jeb Bush twice contacted Foley to encourage the company to move to Florida. (If this sounds familiar, Bush also personally visited and lobbied another major California organization, Scripps Research Institute, to create from scratch a major biotech facility in South Florida.)
It worked. With Fidelity's relocation, Jacksonville snagged two Fortune 500 headquarters in one year. (The Miami Herald this summer named Fidelity National the state's No. 1 company in its annual statewide ranking of public companies.) That's one for the record book.
And it was enough to catch the attention and envy of economic developers in cities across Florida and the Southeast. With Fidelity, CSX and Winn-Dixie, Jacksonville boasts more Fortune 500 headquarters than either the larger Tampa Bay area, Miami or Orlando.
Hence my vote in 2004 for Jacksonville.
Short term, Jacksonville's economic bounce may mean the Tampa Bay area loses a few more businesses to its new metro competitor. Long term, a stronger Jacksonville will benefit all of Florida.
Robert Trigaux can be reached at 727 893-8405 or email@example.com
BY THE NUMBERS
Comparing five metro areas in the southeastern United States that compete for business.
Unemployment rate: 4.7 percent
Number of Fortune 500 headquarters: 3
Recent big deal: Hosting Super Bowl in 2005.
Unemployment rate: 2.9 percent
Number of Fortune 500 headquarters: 2
Recent big deal: Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. operations center.
Unemployment rate: 4.3 percent
Number of Fortune 500 headquarters: 13
Recent big deal: Newell Rubbermaid relocated its headquarters.
Unemployment rate: 4.4 percent
Number of Fortune 500 headquarters: 7
Recent big deal: Relocation of Johnson & Wales University culinary school.
Unemployment rate: 6.1 percent
Number of Fortune 500 headquarters: 2
Recent big deal: Trademarked "Gateway to the Americas" to attract free trade zone.
November 15th, 2004, 05:31 PM
I've been to Jacksonville many times, and I do believe that it's on it's way up. I also would have to agree with those that say that it has more things in common with Georgia than with Florida in that it really is a southern city, unlike the other larger florida cites like tampa and especially miami. In Florida, it seems like the further south you go, the less southern it gets!
On thing about Tampa's population of 2.5 million, that is with both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties combined (Tampa & St Petersburg) where as Miami's population of 2.4 million is only that of Miami-Dade county, but if you combine Broward county's (Ft Lauderdale) population of 1.7 million, you get a total of 4.1 million. Add Palm Beach's 1.1 million, and you have 5.2 million. So if you're going to compare "Tampa's" metro population with "Miami's" metro population, then it really would be 2.5 million vs 4.1 million.
November 15th, 2004, 10:53 PM
Jacksonville actually has the least people per square mile ratio in florida's major cities. Plus, it has to reach further to attract people downtown (seeing has how jacksonville and Duval are one and the same), battles countless strip malls and like three major malls plus suburbanization. With all that I think it's downtown does a fine job..
The Mad Hatter!!
November 15th, 2004, 11:16 PM
i didn't know miami' s unemployment rate was so high