In our popular article series Jax Evolved, we discuss historic buildings in Jacksonville that have been repurposed into new uses and, as a result, are preserved and protected for the foreseeable future.
But for each of those buildings that find new life, there’s at least one historic property that continues to rot away. Whether it’s due to poor maintenance, structural issues, or lack of demand, many key historic properties in Jax – particularly in the urban core – continue to go unused.
And the longer they go unused, the worse their condition becomes, until eventually the city or the property owner opts to demolish them. It’s what’s happened to many properties over the years, decimating parts of the city’s history that could have been restored and lived on for years.
We’ve compiled a list of a few properties that would be great candidates for a Jax Evolved-style re-purposing, due to their historic value or their location – or both. For the purposes of this article, we left off buildings like the Laura Street Trio that have pending revival plans in the works.
Located next to Confederate Park in Springfield, the old Claude Nolan Cadillac building fell victim to a hideous remodel in the mid-‘40s that saw its original façade covered up with paneling.
But underneath what was added during that remodel lies a beautiful historic structure designed by Henry J. Klutho. The original Klutho-designed building opened in 1910, a grand three-story dealership worthy of the upscale brand it sold.
The dealership stayed in the building through its major exterior remodel into the 1980s, when they left for the Southside. E.H. Thompson Co. was the building’s most recent tenant, but it’s now been vacant for years.
As the building lies dormant, bits of the old brick exterior have become increasingly visible. A historically-minded developer willing to spend a pretty penny could potentially strip off some of that 1940s façade and restore some of the building’s original charm.
And its location within the close-knit – and fast-growing – historic Springfield neighborhood makes the building all the more appealing and a perfect candidate for reuse.
Any redevelopment effort would have to contend with ongoing efforts to clean up contamination that supposedly occurred on the land in the late 1800s.