by Max Marbut
When most people think of the food court Downtown, the first location that might come to mind is the second floor at the Landing.
There’s another food court a couple of blocks away that’s also open to the public. It’s on the second floor at AT&T Tower 301.
The space offers several choices for breakfast and lunch as well as an expansive seating area that’s scheduled for a complete redesign.
The project has been assigned to interior design students at the Art Institute of Jacksonville and Florida State College at Jacksonville.
“We’re looking for out-of-the-box thinking,” said Pam Smith, the representative for building owner Elad National Properties.
“We want people to walk in and feel good about eating there,” she said.
Smith said the food court is open to the public, but many people may not even realize it’s there. The building’s proximity to the new County Courthouse is also a reason for the redesign project.
“We want to attract people from the new courthouse and everywhere Downtown,” said Smith.
Tuesday morning, two design students from the Art Institute of Jacksonville, Rachel Durante and Holly Califano, were working on ideas for the competition.
“The idea is to make the space more vibrant,” said Durante.
She said she realizes that the building is developing a reputation as an art center, with a pair of working studios and commissioned art recently installed in the lobby.
“The art element is huge, but I want to keep it corporate enough for the tenants,” said Durante.
“I want to take natural elements and make it more inviting and appealing. Some color and texture would warm up the space. I think it’s a little cold now,” said Califano.
Smith said all the students will submit their designs, which will be evaluated by a panel of judges in July. Elad is offering a cash prize for the best design.
“We told them to be creative, but be reasonable, since we are working on a budget. We’re not looking for Cirque du Soleil,” said Smith.
Five dance groups from Jacksonville Country Day School performed for the Tuesday lunch crowd at the Landing.
It was part of the “Spring on the St. Johns” dance and concert series patterned after the annual holiday performance series that takes place at the Landing each December.
Emily Dickert, dance director at Jacksonville Country Day, said the dance program began five years ago for students in grades 1-5. Classes are offered in ballet, tap, hip-hop, jazz, acrobatic and cheerleading.
Dickert said the performance at the Landing was a rehearsal for the program’s 10th recital, which is scheduled in three weeks as part of the school’s 50th anniversary celebration.
The performance series continues through Friday. For the complete schedule, visit www.jacksonvillelanding.com.
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