The area along Hendricks Avenue between the FEC railroad tacks and Cedar Street contains three (3) of San Marco’s most treasured historic structures: South Jacksonville City Hall (renovated by San Marco Preservation Society in 2008), the “Ice House” building on the east side of Hendricks Avenue and the South Jacksonville Utility Building on the west side of Hendricks Avenue.
During the San Marco by Design workshops, this area was recognized as a vital component to future growth in the area that would link the past to the present. In 2011, several of us on the San Marco by Design steering committee met with the owner of the property to discuss redevelopment plans for the South Jacksonville Utility Building and the surrounding vacant land.
The developer had been told by others that the only viable solution for the site was to demolish the utility building and construct a new structure with suburban style parking surrounding the new building. We were very opposed to the demolition concept and presented an alternative plan to keep the historic building, construct a 4,000 sf new building for Panera, create a public outdoor plaza and put all of the parking at the rear of the site (gaining more parking spaces through a more efficient layout).
The developer immediately recognized the value of the proposition and hired us to engineer the site. The higher density meant an underground stormwater management system would be required. The groundwater was too high for a conventional system of prefabricated chambers so we turned to pervious concrete. When complete, this parking lot will be one of the largest pervious concrete lots in Jacksonville. The public plaza also utilizes a pervious surface system (pavers) for drainage.