Jacksonville, FL - Could the Florida Theatre play a role in boosting Downtown Jacksonville?
“If you’re talking about Downtown development, this is a baby step,” says City Council President Bill Gulliford.
The City Council will vote Tuesday night on allocating just over $100,000 to renovate the 4th and 6th floors of the Florida Theatre with the intent to rent them to third parties.
Gulliford says five or six different organizations have already showed interest. He says they are open to anything from arts focused non-profits to schools or for-profit businesses.
“It will provide some revenue for us to hopefully renovate the other stories in there and get the building completely occupied,” he says.
Downtown Jacksonville has a significant stock of vacant or underutilized property. Small scale projects continue to surface building-by-building. Gulliford says the recent DuPont Fund conversion of Jacksonville’s old library into a home for non-profits is one way to make development work. He believes renovating and renting is another.
“It just makes sense to get this building utilized,” he says.
The bill that will be voted on Tuesday night will also establish a special fund where the money generated from the renovations- like from renting- will be earmarked for continued investment in to the Florida Theatre, after expenses. The contractor performing the renovation would also be required to turn over to the City any historical articles they located, according to an amendment which will be offered.
And that’s not the only Downtown Investment up for a vote Tuesday night. The City Council will also vote on allocating two million dollars toward completing renovations on the Southbank Riverwalk. Several years ago, $15 million was allocated to the project, but the contractor says that is no longer enough to do the entire span.
WOKV will be at Tuesday night’s meeting. Stay with 104.5FM/AM690 for updates every half hour and get instant updates on Twitter by following our reporter Stephanie Brown (@NewsAndNom).