There’s always something new coming soon to Jacksonville, if you just know where to look. So while you might’ve heard about a few changes coming soon, here are a few fun new places that you might not’ve known about.
Eating and Drinking
When Bold City and Intuition pioneered craft beer in Jacksonville, they paved the way for many new breweries and even distilleries. The people who brought Green Room Brewing to the beach have spawned a new addition to the craft beer scene, this time in Southside. Bottlenose Brewery is moving into the location vacated by World of Beer. In addition to some great house brews, they will offer an eclectic variety of craft beer from around the country. Hyperion Brewing is another new addition to the craft brew scene that is soon to open in Springfield. Located at 1740 North Main Street, Hyperion is opening May 19.
A new whiskey distillery in Jacksonville, Burlock & Barrel, is planning to open in the Dealers Equipment warehouse located at 417 Magnolia Street and 476 May Street, in the Brooklyn neighborhood. The distillery is the brainchild of Ian Haensley and Colin Edwards, who brought their concept to OneSpark in 2014. The enterprise was made possible by partnering with the founders of Forking Amazing restaurants, Jacques Klempf and Fraser Burns. Their first offering will be a white whiskey called “Naked,” an un-aged spirit made in a 120-gallon copper still.
Forking Amazing is also the driving force behind the much-anticipated opening of the Cowford Chophouse downtown. Located in the historic Bostwick Building, the steakhouse will feature a two-story dining room as well as a rooftop lounge with impressive views of the city.
Art and Music
While Art (Re)Public has been discussed for their work on attempting to establish Jacksonville’s urban core as a nationally-recognized art district, the organization isn’t finished yet. In 2017, they have been adding public art in the form of murals that can be viewed all within walking distance in downtown Jacksonville, with plans to do even more events in the future.
More music is also coming to downtown this spring at the newly built amphitheater, Daily’s Place. Located next to EverBank Field, Daily’s Place will feature 5,500 seats as well as a covered “flex field” for events. The project was a collaboration between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the City of Jacksonville.
Evansville, Indiana’s loss is Jacksonville’s gain, as professional hockey is coming to Jacksonville this fall. The Jax Icemen is an ECHL hockey team formerly based in Indiana. The ECHL started as the East Coast Hockey League, but now it encompasses both coasts, including 28 AA hockey teams. The Icemen will play a full 36-game schedule, with home games played at Veterans Memorial Arena.
The much-anticipated Jacksonville Ikea is slated to open this fall. The metal beams that will support the structure are visible from 295 and Gate Parkway, and the first blue-paneled walls have been installed. A specific opening date has not yet been announced.
The popular convenience store chain, Wawa, has also begun construction on their first two Jacksonville locations. One is at Town Center and Gate Parkway, and the other is at Blanding Boulevard and Filmore Street in Orange Park. At least nine more locations are in the works all around the Jacksonville area.
A new series of skate parks has been proposed for the Northbank of downtown by the owner of the venerated Kona Skate Park, Martin Ramos. Ramos said his intent is “to create a cultural change that would lead to an economic revival in that area.” The concept emerged following a proposed skateboarding ban by the city council. The plan is to build five different skate parks built within skating distance of each other, inside currently existing parks in downtown Jacksonville. Each park will be dedicated to a different style or purpose. For example, one would feature a streetscape plaza, full of street elements optimized for skateboarding. Another would have a pump track flow course (Brooklyn Park), great for longboards and cruiser boards. The Florida Dwight Park near LaVilla would be an entry level park, with nothing over three feet tall, which is perfect for beginners and families. Another park would feature bowls and pools. The first one to be developed will likely be Main Street Park, a full street plaza park.
All could potentially be completed within the next three years. Ramos said the parks represent “an effort to change the culture downtown, make it really progressive and attract next-gen millennial crowd, and help to replace the current culture with a skate culture that includes music, art and skateboarding.”
Another entertainment opportunity planned for the Doro area of downtown is a boutique bowling alley and restaurant complex, modeled after Nashville’s Pinewood Social. Pinewood is a social gathering spot, anchored by a bowling alley, that also includes gourmet food. The location selected for the Jacksonville spot is convenient to Intuition Ale and Manifest Distilling, not far from the newly built entertainment complex, Daily’s Place.
Tourism and New Residents
When you have fabulous restaurants, an epic craft beer scene, and a minor league team named after an oxymoron, it naturally follows that you will have tourists and new residents flocking to your metropolis. According to the Smith Travel Research report in February 2017, Jacksonville saw more growth in tourism over the past couple of years than anywhere else in Florida. That beats the Bold City’s previous record during the 2005 Super Bowl. Tourism revenue increased steadily for 40 consecutive months, while other cities like Miami and Fort Myers saw losses, and even Orlando saw slower growth. Take that, Mickey.
One new attraction luring visitors to the area is the newly opened SurfStream at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort and Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach. Sawgrass is the first resort in the country to include the SurfStream, an artificial wave machine designed for surfing.
New neighborhoods have also popped up, particularly in Northern St. Johns County. One enclave called Twin Creeks features a 14-acre “Crystal Lagoon.” It will be the largest manmade lagoon in the country to date. New residences are also being built in Jacksonville’s urban core, including a 13-story apartment complex on the Southbank, the first high rise to be built there since 2008.