When the suburb of Murray Hill Heights was platted in 1906 its main thoroughfare, Murray Hill Avenue, was envisioned to be a landscaped boulevard served with a streetcar line similar to St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans.
Now known as Edgewood Avenue, the main thoroughfare’s “First Block” quickly developed into a compact and walkable mixed-use commercial district around the neighborhood’s streetcar line. By the 1930’s, Edgewood became known as the “Avenue of Progress”, featuring a large number of specialty shops and four grocery stores.
In recent years, Edgewood Avenue and the First Block have been rediscovered as an attractive location for locally owned businesses. Anchored by popular establishments such as Moon River Pizza, Perfect Rack Billiards, Maple Street Biscuit Company and new popular businesses like Fishweir Brewing Company, Town Beer Company and Murray’s Taco Bodega, the time has come for the redevelopment of its largest property, the former Edgewood movie theater.
Located at the intersection of Edgewood Avenue and Plymouth Street, the 26,691 square foot Edgewood Theater opened in 1947.
Situated at the main entrance to Murray Hill, the one-screen movie theater attracted patrons from Murray Hill, Riverside, Avondale and other Westside neighborhoods for decades before finally closing its doors in the mid-1980s. It later become the West Campus of Jacksonville-based Jones College. However in 2017, just shy of its 100th year anniversary, Jones College closed its doors for good, placing the attractive property on the market.
Now there is a new proposal for the property at 1195 Edgewood Avenue South. Yet, it’s one that most residents may not have anticipated. Riverton Tower Senior Center, Inc. plans to redevelop the property with a 97,200 square foot, three-story storage facility for the Silverfield Group.
The preliminary site plan indicates the storage center would be located on the rear of the property at the intersection of Plymouth Street and Nelson Street. The vacant theater building would be razed and cleared for future infill development facing Edgewood Avenue.
To make this happen, an application for administrative deviation from certain zoning requirements has been submitted to the City of Jacksonville. There will be a public hearing on the application at 10am on May 24th at City Hall.
Specifically, the items requiring an administrative deviation would pave the way for four things:
- Reduce the minimum lot area from 87,120 feet to 52,272 feet
- Reduce the setback on the east property line from 30 feet to 4 fet and reduce the setback on the south property line from 30 feet to eight feet
- Reduce the minimum number of off-street parking spaces from 51 to three
- Decrease the minimum number of loading spaces from three required to one loading space.
For those interested in the development of this property, the Murray Hill Preservation Association (MHPA) will be hosting a community meeting on Monday, May 13th at 7:00pm at Fishweir Brewing Company to discuss the project.