ULI North Florida hosted the 5th Annual Awards for Excellence event last night in downtown Jacksonville to showcase projects throughout North Florida that represent the best practices in all aspects of real estate development, planning, design, construction and economic viability.
Four awards were presented in the following categories of Public Sector/Non-Profit, Open Space, and Reuse/Repurpose. The awards criteria are based on the ULI mission to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Nominations were solicited from ULI North Florida’s more than 500 members in the District Council of 34 North Florida counties.
The winner in the Public Sector/Non-Profit category was Infinity Hall, Gainesville, FL:
Infinity Hall – Located in Gainesville, Fla., Infinity Hall is a living-learning center for the University of Florida’s entrepreneurship program and innovation academy. This 90,000-square-foot community is the first residential public-private partnership with the University of Florida. More than 20,000 square feet is dedicated to its Innovation Academy partners that include two 3-D printing labs, a CNC fabrication and milling lab, “Made@UF” mobile app development suite, UF’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and “MINT,” a UF student run graphic design studio. Launchpad, located within Infinity Hall, provides start-up companies and entrepreneurs with an environment to bring their businesses to life.
The winner in the Open Space category was Maritime Park, Pensacola, FL:
Vince Whibbs Sr. Maritime Park – Dating back to 1784 as a trading post, the 32-acre site of the Vince Whibbs Sr. Community Maritime Park is located on the Pensacola Bay in the heart of downtown Pensacola, Fla. After Hurricane Ivan in 2004, an opportunity was born to revitalize this the urban waterfront into something unique for Pensacola residents. This award-winning mixed-use development that has re-established a dynamic public waterfront park featuring a multi-use stadium suitable for baseball and festivals, a performing arts amphitheater and a world-class playground designed to reinforce learning, encourage social skill development, inspire imagination and provide physical challenges. Current private development includes office space, retail, residential and café/restaurant space. The connection between downtown and the waterfront now draws thousands of visitors annually to a once separate and unused space.
The winner in the Reuse/Repurpose category was The Edison, Tallahassee, FL:
The Edison Restaurant – Constructed in 1921 and located in Tallahassee, Fla., The City Power and Light Plant, more commonly referred to as the Old City Electric Building, has undergone a surge of revitalization. The Edison Restaurant is the end result of several key objectives identified by the City of Tallahassee and the Tallahassee Community Redevelopment Agency: preservation of the character of the building’s exterior, connection to the building’s history as the City’s first electric power generator, and complementary to recent improvements to Cascade Park. In partnership with Cascades Holdings, LLC, the once vacant building is now a destination restaurant in Tallahassee’s premier downtown park while also generating new lease income, increasing sales tax income and creating new jobs.
Additionally, a special Judge’s Awards was presented to the Arc Jacksonville Village, FL:
Arc Jacksonville Village – Built on 17.75 acres on Hodges Boulevard in Jacksonville Fla., Arc is the first development of its kind in the country: a village where residents with development disabilities can live independently in a supportive atmosphere at affordable rents. The Village serves as a prototype for other developments to meet the needs of this underserved population by offering independent living to 122 residents in duplex and triplex units highlighted by amenities that include a community room and dining facility, swimming pool, basketball courts, fitness trails and other recreational activities.
The evening events also recognized Robert (Bob) Rhodes as the 2016 Visionary Leadership award. This award recognizes an individual who demonstrates exemplary leadership in “Placemaking” in the community. This award reflects Mr. Rhodes’ 30-plus years of civic engagement, leadership and commitment to generating remarkable results.
Judges for the 2016 Awards for Excellence were Russ Ervin, ELM | Ervin Lovett Miller, Jacksonville; Bill Killingsworth, City of Jacksonville, Jacksonville; James Moore, Jacobs, Tampa; Eric Swanson, Treadwell Franklin Infrastructure Capital, Miami; and Stephanie Wasser, Urban Land Institute, Washington, D.C.