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Design Contest Underway To Raise Phoenix Arts District In Springfield

Ennis Davis
Modern Cities
Murals line the walls in the district.

A set of vacant warehouses in Jacksonville’s Springfield neighborhood is being transformed into an arts school and walkable arts district.

The Jaxson co-founder Ennis Davis says a $10,000 prize is being offered for the most transformative design for what’s being proposed as the Jacksonville School for the Arts and Phoenix Arts District.

The plans include 100,000 square feet for the school, with classroom space and artist-in-residence studios, plus room for shops or cafes.

Davis said the area between Main Street and Liberty streets, along 11th and 14th streets, is attractive for this type of walkable development for the same reasons manufacturing declined in the area. The alleys next to the warehouses are too narrow for tractor trailers, and the facades of the buildings are right up against the street.

That has a pair of entrepreneurs envisioning something similar to Miami’s Wynwood arts district, with its colorful murals.

To make the Phoenix come to life, they’re holding a design competition, with the winner to be announced in October. Those interested in the contest can get more information by emailing

To see Ennis Davis’s photos from the Phoenix Arts District launch party, visit Modern Cities.

Contact Jessica Palombo at 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