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JTA Transportation Center, Not Yet Built, Already Spurring LaVilla Growth

Jacksonville Transportation Authority

On Tuesday, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority is set to break ground on its regional transportation center, dubbed the Jacksonville Intermodal Station. 

Ennis Davis with The Jaxson says the new center represents a return to the neighborhood’s past, and it’s already shaping future development.

The center will bring several modes of transportation under one roof, including Greyhound buses, JTA buses and the Skyway monorail. Passenger rail service could be added as well, as the Brightline train line begins operating between South Florida to Orlando with plans to expand to Jacksonville and Tampa.

That would be a return to LaVilla’s roots, Davis said.

“If you look at LaVilla’s past, that was a neighborhood that grew around the Jacksonville Terminal, which during its heyday, was the largest passenger rail station south of Washington, D.C.,” he said.

Today, the new transportation center is already spurring the same kind of “transit-oriented development.” Hundreds of apartments are already being built around the corner near the Prime Osborn Convention Center, with hundreds more planned.

“You should expect to see new stores, office buildings, and we’ll also get to a point where we will have to discuss what is the future of the Prime Osborn Convention Center and how does it fit into the new development?” Davis said.

The aging center’s future is in question because it lacks the capacity and attached hotel boasted by some competitors. 

And it’s going to be increasingly surrounded by a new, walkable neighborhood.

“This will certainly kick off all sorts of changes in downtown,” David said. “You can see it now, if you drive down Bay Street. There’s multi-family residential units already well under construction, and within another month or so, you’re going to see significant construction at the regional transportation center site.”

Contact Jessica Palombo at 904-358-6315, or on Twitter at @JessicaPubRadio.

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP