by Max Marbut
When the marketing team and fashion photographer that each year create new print ads, in-store merchandising and catalogs for Abercrombie & Fitch decided on the “look” they wanted for a new campaign, one of the places they looked was Jacksonville. As it turned out, two of the visual requirements were able to be met less than two blocks apart on East Bay Street.
“The Abercrombie & Fitch people contacted us and said they wanted a really unique urban loft setting, so I sent them the link to the Churchwell Lofts Web site,” said Todd Roobin, chief of Jacksonville’s Film & Television Office, which is part of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission. “As soon as they saw those lofts, they called back and said ‘That’s it. We’re on our way’.”
Robert Pavelka, developer of Churchwell Lofts, said the crew of about 60 people chose his street-level space for their headquarters while they were Downtown and shot lots of pictures upstairs.
“Having Abercrombie & Fitch choose this location for their new ad campaign proves what a unique environment we’ve created here at Churchwell,” said Pavelka. “We probably won’t get any credit on any of the ads, but I’ll know they were done here.”
Another background that was needed for the layouts was a “trendy upscale lounge” and the Ivy Ultra Bar less than two blocks from the lofts turned out to be the perfect spot. Ivy partner Lee Spell said Abercrombie & Fitch rented the lounge just like anyone can for a private party and then, “They had what looked like a high school prom, except some of the guys weren’t wearing shirts.”
Roobin said the economics of the event were very similar to an independent film production coming to Jacksonville.
“They brought some crew with them from New York and South Florida, but they also hired some local technicians and rented a lot of equipment. They stayed in hotels and ate at restaurants when they weren’t hiring caterers for on location. I would estimate the total economic impact of the entire week-long project at well into six figures,” he said.