Many of the downtown areas of the modern day cities fell out of favor in the 1990s and then they suffered for it during the last decade. We often wonder “Can downtown jacksonville be cool again?” Our great city had a great downtown, people lived downtown, shopping for items and services were everywhere in our old downtown, but the suburbs and the great flight seem to have put a strangle on downtown Jacksonville.
Can downtown Jacksonville be cool again to a new generation?
The median sales price of a home in Jacksonville is around $180,000. To qualify for a 30 year mortgage, an owner would need to earn at least $50,000 and be able to make the $1000-1500 monthly payment. So if you make $4200 the payment is 25-30 percent of your monthly expenses, which is the right amount and ratio, because people in real estate know owners have car payments, credit card debt, savings and other life needs. So what if you could find a great place in a cool part of Jacksonville that would allow for all of these things?
For Downtown Jacksonville to be cool again we need a few things
Having Jaguar games every other weekend in the fall, along with a Monster Truck Jam or Florida Georgia Football game or bowl game are not enough to sustain downtown Jacksonville. Some business owners have gone and built nice restaurants in the downtown area, and there is still the Landing, but what downtown Jacksonville needs to do is think like a suburb.
Town Center the new center of Jacksonville
Most people know that the intersection of J. Turner Butler (FL 202) and I-295 is the epicenter of Jacksonville. It did not happen overnight, but it was part of the flight from downtown to the Southside. Its been an amazing transformation for an open air mall that only opened its doors Spring 2005. A new Top Golf is located there and Ikea has plans to open near there in addition to many restaurants and residential apartments, condos and new housing developments. It is now the Cool area of Jacksonville.
So how can downtown Jacksonville be cool again?
Easy, duplicate what Town Center has done. Start with the residents. People need a place to live that is 1) economical, 2) close to where they work, and 3) close to where they have fun. If they cannot afford the housing, the “ghosts” will move in. In the day and age of Uber and Lyft, most people have a simple way to get to work, if they do not own an automobile. They need the “Fun” factor when they go out with friends and to see people. Downtown Jacksonville has a number of #3, fun places, but they fail to provide the economical places to live, which is #1. In a day when you can have groceries delivered and services provided by car and more automated, most people do not need the services next to their home. They can instead find people to help them with these services.
Downtown needs to look at more residential. Find ways to make loft apartments cool, if you have all these services to help you get around, you may not even need a car. More businesses allow people to work remotely, Downtown Jacksonville can become much cooler IF it markets itself to developers to build cool places that cater to the younger people. Convert old run down buildings into cool loft apartments. Add a fun factor to the buildings and include residents in fun events downtown. Turn the downtown suburb into a fun zone! We have the river, there is no reason why people do not use BOTH sides of the river.
I love Avondale, but I believe that downtown Jacksonville can be cool again!
I would consider leaving my residence and living somewhere downtown. As a Realtor, I need a vehicle, but my husband does not and I know my dogs do not either. Check out this great information from Realtor.com on about how much the Urban Core of Jacksonville has grown compared to the Suburban Core.