Illuminate JAX proposes to light up the skyline
The Illuminate JAX design team, from left, Jeremy Marquis, Mark Kingsnorth and David Lafitte.
The Northbank Skyline before Illuminate JAX.
The skyline after Illuminate JAX.
Lighting up the night along the St. Johns River Downtown is the concept behind "Illuminate JAX."

The plan was shown to the public for the first time Friday morning to the Downtown Council of the JAX Chamber.

The idea is to install LED lighting on Downtown's office towers as a way to make the skyline more attractive – and to attract new business to the urban core, said Margie Seaman, national director of commercial real estate services at Sellers Realty Group Inc.

She described the project as "a new vision for Jacksonville" that could "put our city on the world stage."

Seaman said one color scheme would be teal and gold after the Jacksonville Jaguars' color combination. With three nights of NFL football on primetime television, "chances are our skyline will be on national television," she said.

"No other NFL city has what we're proposing," said landscape architect Jeremy Marquis, vice president of Marquis Halback Inc.

"It would put our most dramatic architecture in front of people and give it a different look at night," he said.

Marquis said in addition to LED lights, static or animated images could be projected onto buildings to create "seasonal attractions" such as for the 4th of July or holiday themes.

"We want something that's artfully done," he said.

Pamela Smith did not see the presentation Friday, but said when she moved to Jacksonville from Miami to be the owner's representative at EverBank Center at 301 W. Bay St., lighting the building was a consideration. Smith said she is familiar with a similar project, "Light Up Miami."

According to lightupmiami.org, the south Florida nonprofit organization's purpose is "enhancing the image of Greater Miami through illumination, arts and festivals, because this increases our safety, economics, quality of life and community pride while attracting visitors, conventions and business to our area."

Smith said she investigated lighting the office tower and estimated the cost at $250,000, which she said she doubted at the time the owners of the building would approve.

Smith said she is open to looking at the concept again, but is not sure that lighting up the building would attract more tenants.

Each installation would likely be subject to approval by the city Downtown Development Review Board. Installation of lighting on a building would require city permits due to the scale of such a project and that would invite review, said Jim Klement, Office of Economic Development redevelopment coordinator and staff liaison to the review board.

The board set a precedent at its Sept. 5 meeting when a permit for the installation of a digital billboard along Interstate 95 near Downtown was denied based on aesthetic concerns.

"When signage and lighting become extreme, I would think it would have to go through some review process," Klement said.


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