One of the items City Downtown Investment Authority CEO Aundra Wallace said is on his agenda is increasing the number of Downtown residents.
Two of the neighborhood's largest residential rental developments – the 127-unit 11 E. Forsyth and the 100-unit The Carling – were the result of the City partnering with Vestcor Inc. to renovate the historic buildings.
The City provided low-interest loans and Historic Preservation Trust Fund grants to help finance the renovations.
Work began at 11 E. Forsyth St. in 2001.
Originally the Lynch Building and later the American Heritage Life Building, the 17-story structure opened in 1926.
It was the city's second-tallest building at the time, a single story shorter than the Barnett Bank Building along Laura Street.
The building is L-shaped, which allowed all of the offices access to light and ventilation, a common design in the era before air conditioning.
In addition to the apartments, the conversion of 11 E. Forsyth St. included 4,000 square feet of retail space.
Vestcor began the two-year renovation of The Carling at 33 W. Adams St. in 2003, about the time renters started moving into the 11 E property.
It opened in 1926 as The Carling Hotel, named after Carling Dinkler, who, at age 31, was vice president of the Atlanta-based Dinkler Hotel Co. and claimed to be the youngest hotel executive in America.
In 1936, the hotel's name was changed to the Roosevelt.
On Dec. 29, 1963, a fire killed 22 people in the hotel, which was full of college football fans in Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl game.
After the fire, the hotel closed and it remained abandoned for years until re-opening as Jacksonville Regency House, a retirement apartment property.
Both buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Each is more than 90 percent leased, said Holly Rood, Vestcor marketing manager.