The historic Dyal-Upchurch Building at 6 E. Bay Street holds two distinctions noteworthy to any Jacksonville history buff. It was the first high-rise building project to emerge following the Great Fire of 1901, and it was also the first building in Jacksonville to be designed by architect Henry J. Klutho.
Klutho designed the building, in collaboration with Atlanta, GA-based architect J.W. Goluche, for Dyal-Upchurch Investment Company. The timber and investments company had previously been based in Georgia but, like Klutho, they saw an opportunity in Jax following the fire.
Construction of the six-story, Renaissance Revival-style building took place between 1901 and 1902. Over four-hundred wood pilings bolted into the riverbed supported its foundation, and according to a city marketing brochure, over a million bricks were utilized during its construction.
Along with Dyal-Upchurch, the building featured offices for the National Weather Service and Atlantic National Bank.
By the end of the decade, Atlantic National Bank had opened its own headquarters building and moved out.
A fire in 1915 damaged some of the design features at the top of the building. It also destroyed NWS’s offices, prompting them to move to a new office on Main Street.
Dyal-Upchurch Investment Co. went out of business in 1924, leaving its building without a primary tenant. Other tenants shuffled in and out, but as newer, nicer office buildings opened in the central business district, the Dyal-Upchurch Building struggled and eventually ended up entirely vacant.
In 1980, the vacant building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Haskell Company purchased it and renovated it into workable office space, utilizing tax credits from its new historic designation.
In 1998, local advertising firm Husk Jennings purchased the building for $1.6 million and renovated the top floor to serve as its new offices. Husk Jennings would later put another $1.72 million into rehabbing the building in 2002, becoming one of the first projects to utilize the newly-created Downtown Historic Preservation and Revitalization Trust Fund.
Bold plans to add a restaurant on the ground floor of the building as part of the renovations never panned out, but an art gallery was added to the second floor of the building along with other improvements.
In 2005, Husk Jennings was purchased and became On Ideas. That same year, the company sold its building to Orlando, FL-based developer Cameron Kuhn.
Kuhn defaulted on payments for the building, resulting in it being repossessed by the bank. Another Orlando-area developer, A. Duda & Sons, bought the building for $3.73 million and began another round of renovations aimed at attracting office tenants.
Local auto dealer Jack Hanania purchased the building in 2017 for $2.8 million and is the current property owner.
Today, the Dyal-Upchurch Building lives on with multiple tenants, including On Ideas and its video-production sister company. And even though its original tenant went out-of-business way back in the 1920s, it’s survived to be a beautiful reminder of