In recent years, Jacksonville has seen several of its older, less glamorous neighborhoods experience something of a renaissance.
Once-struggling communities like Springfield, Murray Hill, and Oceanway have been reignited by renewed interest from businesses, developers, and their own residents. Springfield in particular has made quite the comeback, going from relatively derelict to a close-knit, local business-oriented neighborhood that is among the most desirable areas for investors within the city’s urban core.
But once those communities max out their potential, who’s next?
We’ve highlighted four other older local neighborhoods that could be next in line for revitalization, with details on what makes these areas ideal candidates for a renaissance.
St. Nicholas is a perfect candidate for revitalization thanks in large part to its geography.
Located right outside of the urban core and nestled in between two of the city’s most prestigious private schools, the St. Nicholas neighborhood has a residential history dating back to the 19th century. It was among the first areas to receive its own train station as the city’s streetcar service expanded beyond the core; its station house still stands today.
The neighborhood is a nice blend of residential and commercial land use, featuring multiple subdivisions, apartment complexes, and a stretch of commercial buildings lining Beach Boulevard. And thanks to its streetcar-based roots, many of those buildings are located directly along the street, making for an easily-walkable span.
The recent reconfiguration of the Overland Bridge made the area even more accessible from both downtown Jax and eastern San Marco – further paving the way for revitalization focused on continuing the strengths of those areas into St. Nicholas. And it’s quite easy to see an expanded Skyway system one day coming its way.
Right now, many of its transit-oriented commercial buildings are either vacant, in disrepair, or both. But it’s easy to see how a few well-placed tenants could spark a larger revival along Beach Boulevard.
Two key projects may help catalyze the neighborhood’s potential: a proposed redevelopment of Southgate Plaza, its largest shopping center, and the pending redevelopment of a former Kmart just outside of the neighborhood into the mixed-use Boulevard Crossing. If either – or both – of these projects prove successful, it could be the start of something special in St. Nicholas.