If you’re from Jacksonville, or even been here for the last 20 years, chances are you have heard the name Barnett. There’s the historic Barnett Building downtown, Barnett Park and Barnett Bank.
Founded in 1877, the Barnett Bank experienced over a century of success before reaching its slow demise in 1997. At one point the largest commercial bank in the state of Florida, the company made its headquarters in the Barnett National Bank Building in 1926. It would hold the reign of tallest building in Jacksonville until the construction of the Aetna Building in 1954. It was designed by architects Mowbray and Uffinger who also designed 121 Atlantic Place.
The building remained occupied until the 1990s, but has since been rejected and subject to disrepair.
Today, much of downtown Jacksonville is experiencing restoration and redevelopment and the Barnett Building is joining in the revival. Steve Atkins, a managing partner with SouthEast Group, plans to make the Barnett Jacksonville’s Millennial, startup and innovative hub.
Void was invited for a tour of the historic beauty.
Upon entry, one should immediately notice the light pouring in through the large arched windows along Adams and Laura streets. The intricate design of the exposed brick and stone frames is still visible. From one corner to the next, the character that can only be found in an old building clings to hope and hints at its potential.
The building will be split into several sectors, with each floor possessing a unique resident.
Floors one and two will be devoted to retail. Though we’re told it won’t be a Publix or Save-A-Lot, we are assured it will be something downtown Jacksonville has yet to see. There will be a coffee shop going in with some relaxed seating to serve as the third place for residents.
Elton Rivas, co-founder of Jacksonville ventures such as One Spark, CoWorkJax, and KYN has partnered with Atkins and agreed to move each project to the Barnett. Floors three through eight will be the new home of One Spark, CoWork Jax and KYN, as well UNF continuing education classes. The floors will operate something like a small business development center. Lisa Goodrich, director of Marketing and Community Engagement for the group, says the hotspot of talent is exactly what they want.
Floors eight to 16 will be residential units. There will be 10 apartments per floor, ranging in size from 500-700 square feet. At $1.50 a square foot, the Barnett will be one of downtown’s most affordable living spaces. This works nicely for the crowd that will be the group’s largest target market: college students, techies and entrepreneurs.
The 17th floor will be corporate space and the 18th a lounge and conference center.
Being this is Void’s Tech Issue, we would be remiss to not discuss the awesome technology being implemented at the Barnett.
“In support of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and to meet the needs of the tech-savvy residents moving into the Barnett, we will be installing a state-of-the-art, high-speed wireless system, including Enterprise Wi-Fi and Das,” said Goodrich.
Additionally, mixing the history with the future, the interior of the building will be 3-D scanned to assure the remodeled interior keeps the original character of the building.
The group has so much more planned for the property, ranging from a possible rooftop garden to supporting the local art scene. The project will intertwine with the revitalization of the Laura Street Trio across the street. Construction is expected to start by year’s end.
If you are interested in living at the Barnett, please visit www.thebarnettjax.com.