JAX Chamber Unveils Concept for Downtown’s New Front Door | Business

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JAX Chamber Unveils Concept for Downtown’s New Front Door


The JAX Chamber unveiled its plans to build Downtown’s New Front Door at its 127th Annual Meeting today.

Announced in 2011 as part of the Chamber’s new brand and approach, the redesign includes the renovation of the building’s interior and exterior facade, designed by Content Design Group, and a complete redesign of the adjacent parks and a new sustainable parking area, designed by Marquis Halback Inc (previously Halback Design Group Inc.). 

“Downtown speaks to the character of our community,” said Mayor Alvin Brown. “I applaud the Chamber for its efforts to lead by example in taking steps to revitalize Downtown by redesigning its headquarters.”

With sustainable design as a guiding principle, the Chamber’s vision is to create a welcoming and professional environment that honors Downtown’s history and place in the community while improving the facility’s ecological features, energy efficiency and value to its membership.

“As our community works together to revitalize Downtown Jacksonville and inspire redevelopment of our urban core, we believe it is our responsibility to also re-energize and enhance the appearance and functionality of our headquarters,” said Wally Lee, president of JAX Chamber.  “We are excited about our facility’s upcoming transformation and believe our new look will better reflect our organization and the vibrant city we serve.”

The Chamber selected Content Design Group and Marquis Halback to redesign the building through a design competition in early 2011. Response to the competition included entries from numerous qualified design companies throughout the JAX region.  The design teams were selected for their enthusiasm, creativity and professionalism as well as their understanding of the project’s importance.

“This project can be a turning point for Downtown, and more importantly, the City of Jacksonville,” said Jason Fischer, principal with Content Design Group.  “This is not only about the Chamber building serving as the front door to Jacksonville, completion of this project significantly contributes to the ongoing improvement of the urban core.”

“Having an iconic presence in Downtown is a source of pride for members and the entire community,” said Jeremy Marquis, principal with Marquis Halback. “We are excited to be part of this important project for our region’s Downtown.”

Because member dues and revenue from the Chamber’s general operating budget will not serve as a source to pay for the project, fundraising is already underway. 

“Everyone has an opportunity to be part of this once-in-a-generation legacy project, “said Paul Tyler, chair of the JAX Chamber Facilities Committee and president for Haskell’s Commercial Group. “We are grateful to those who have already stepped in to support the project.”

The companies already committed to in-kind services and materials include:

·         Auld & White Contractors – builder of Downtown’s New Front Door

·         Jen Jones Art Consulting – providing artwork

·         Perdue Office Interiors – providing furnishings for the first floor

·         Solid Rock Engineering – providing structural and civil engineering

·         Trane - conducting energy audit


There are many opportunities to contribute products and services and provide monetary donations.

“The Chamber is modeling great behavior by redesigning its headquarters in the urban core,” said Michael Hightower, chair of the JAX Chamber’s Downtown’s New Front Door Fundraising Committee and vice president of government and legislative relations for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. “Every great city has a great downtown.”  

The design incorporates space for members of the business community to meet, attend training sessions, network and utilize common area work spaces with free WiFi.  While there are numerous features to improve members’ overall experience, leaders are also looking at the bigger picture.

“In the national and global competition for new business—downtowns—not their suburbs, frequently serve to define the communities,” said outgoing JAX Chamber chair Hugh Greene and CEO of Baptist Health. “This project is an integral part of the efforts to improve our Downtown, which ultimately plays a role in economic development and job creation.”

Because more than 20 countries have a presence in Jacksonville, the project includes an International Plaza that will feature the flags representing each of the countries. “Many dignitaries and international CEOs visit our city and region, so it is essential that we present ourselves in the most welcoming and desirable manner,” said 2012 JAX Chamber chair Tom Van Berkel, who is chairman and CEO of The Main Street America Group.

More information is available at www.downtownsnewfrontdoor.com. Follow the blog about downtown’s new front door at www.myjaxchamber.blogspot.com.

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