Jacksonville Historical Society Reveals 2017 List Of Most Endangered Buildings

Jun 15, 2017

More than 20 buildings are featured on the Jacksonville Historical Society’s 2017 list of most endangered buildings.

The buildings on the list are subject to demolition if renovations are not made in the near future.  Wayne Wood of the historical society said the time frame for demolition varies with each building.

“Some of (the buildings), such as the shotgun houses in Lavilla, they don’t have much longer,” Wood said. “If something is not done — they are literally falling apart and at some point — it may not be worthwhile to restore them.”

In order for the preservation of endangered buildings to make sense, Wood said there has to be a use for them.

“That doesn't mean if you can build a new building cheaper you should tear down the old one,” Wood said.

Wood said endangered buildings are important to Jacksonville’s history. He said he hopes when people see the list, they will be inspired to help preserve them.

“By calling attention to these buildings in such a way that someone out there is going to see it and say, ‘Yes, I can do that; I can fix that; that’s an important part of our city’s heritage and it should be preserved,’ ” Wood said.

Some of the endangered buildings have plans for renovation. The Laura Street Trio, located at the corner of West Forsyth and Laura streets, is owned by the SouthEast Group. The plans call for the Bisbee and Florida Life buildings to become a Courtyard Marriott hotel and the marble Florida National Bank Building to become the Bullbriar restaurant.

Wood said the adjacent Bisbee and Florida Life buildings will be connected by an elevator shaft.

Jennifer Morrissey has run a hot dog stand on the corner of West Forsyth and Laura streets for the past seven years. She said she’s happy the buildings are going to be renovated rather than demolished because they are beautiful and historic.  

“I think with the restaurants coming in and the Marriott, or whatever hotel is going in there, it’s going to keep people in here and it’s going to keep the downtown alive,” Morrissey said.

For more information, visit the Jacksonville Historical Society’s website. 

Tiffany Salameh can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org or on Twitter at @tiffanysalameh