The Great Fire of 1901 eliminated more than 2,300 buildings and left thousands homeless in downtown Jacksonville. The city was demolished and with that came a rebirth that would see architects from all around transverse upon Jacksonville to piece the city back together.
With all of the empty space the city would see dozens of building erected over the years into the modern age, many of which claimed record of tallest building in Florida until they were slowly outdone by each other and eventually by several Miami structures.
Following is a brief glimpse into several of Jacksonville’s notable skyscrapers.
Bank of America Tower
617 ft. – 42 floors – 1990
The Bank of America Tower is Jacksonville’s most recent and tallest skyscraper. The building would originally be known as Barnett Center until Barnett was sold and eventually swallowed by Bank of America.
It is the 9th tallest building in the state of Florida and took the title of tallest building in Jacksonville from the Wells Fargo Center. The building was designed by Architect Helmut Jahn.
268 ft. – 19 floors – 1963
Originally named the Universal-Marion Building after the structures largest tenant, the tower was the second largest in Jacksonville when built and the largest on the Northbank. In addition to the Universal Marion Company the IRS and others called the building home.
For many years the round top of the building was known as Embers Restaurant, a 360 degree revolving dining room that was then the largest in the world. It is said that Florida Senator Bill Nelson met his wife on a blind date here.
Unfortunately the restaurant declined with downtown and this spinning rooftop destination is no longer operational and closed to the public.
Wells Fargo Center
535 ft. – 37 floors – 1974
Undoubtedly one of Jacksonville’s most photographed residents the building was originally named and still known by many as the Independent Life Building. The Independent Life and Accident Insurance Company were at one point the largest tenant and worked with KBJ Architects to erect the structure. The building has gone through several large tenants and names over the years inc
luding Modis and now Wells Fargo. When originally built it was the tallest building in Florida through 1981. The prestigious River Club, a members-only dining destination, maintains the buildings top two floors and was founded in 1954 as a rival business club to those in other major cities such as New York and Chicago.
328 ft. – 28 floors – 2006
Heralding some of the greatest views of the city, The Strand sits along the St. John’s River on downtown’s Southbank and professes itself beholder of Manhattan style living in Jacksonville. It is currently the seventh tallest building in the city. For a hefty price you can experience a sundeck with a pool and spa, fitness centers, saunas, fountains and everything else you would expect in luxury.
11 East Forsyth
200 ft. – 17 floors – 1926
It doesn’t even crack into the top 20 largest buildings in Jacksonville but it is one of the more recognizable structures in the city’s skyline due to the large 11E signage protruding from the roof. The building was constructed as office space by architects Pringle & Smith and opened by the early pioneer of film Stephen Andrew Lynch. Years later the building would find itself unoccupied until Vestcor preserved the unit and converted it to residential space that opened in 2003. 11 East Forsyth holds 127 apartment units.
432 ft. – 28 floors – 1967
One of Jacksonville’s most notable architectural feats, the Riverplace Tower was not only Florida’s tallest building at the time of erection but also the tallest precast, post-tensioned concrete structure in the world for 35 years. The building is home to the renowned University Club, a members-only club for entertaining and networking. As of 2002 the building also houses the Gate River Run Hall of Fame.
Jacksonville’s Tallest Structures
Building Height Floors Built
1. Bank of America Tower 617 ft. 42 1990
2. Wells Fargo Center 535 ft. 37 1974
3. Everbank Center 447 ft. 32 1983
4. The Peninsula 437 ft. 36 2006
5. Riverplace Tower 432 ft. 28 1967
6. SunTrust Tower 357 ft. 24 1989
7. The Strand 328 ft. 28 2006
8. Aetna Building 309 ft. 22 1954
9. Two Prudential Plaza 305 ft. 21 1985
10. One Enterprise Center 299 ft. 21 1986
World’s Tallest Structures
Building Location Height Floors Built
1. Burj Khalifa Dubai 2,717 ft. 163 2010
2. Shanghai Tower Shanghai 2,073 ft. 121 2014
3. Makkah Royal Clock Mecca 1,971 ft. 120 2012
4. One World Trade New York City 1,776 ft. 104 2013
5. Taipei 101 Taipei 1,670 ft. 101 2004
6. Shanghai World Shanghai 1,614 ft. 101 2008
7. International Hong Kong 1,588 ft. 118 2010
8. Petronas Tower 1 & 2 Kuala Lumpur 1,483 ft. 88 1998
10. Zifeng Tower Nanjing 1,476 ft. 89 2010