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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Nov. 29, 200512:00 PM EST

SRG breaks ground for 2006 Symphony Showhouse

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

by Max Marbut

Special to the Daily Record

The Symphony Showhouse is usually in places like Ponte Vedra, Ortega and World Golf Village. Not next year.

The Guild of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra is working with SRG Homes & Neighborhoods to present the 31st annual Symphony Showhouse in Springfield, the neighborhood just north of downtown that spent the past few decades in decline, but is seeing a true revitalization. The Showhouse is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the organization and will be Oct. 7-22.

“This is a whole new venue for us and we’re very excited about it,” said Symphony Guild President Sue Ashby. “The Springfield Historic District is beautiful and it’s being wonderfully restored.”

SRG has begun work on four new homes at the corner of 4th and Silver streets for the event, with each one having a different look and theme.

“We’re custom builders, so this project gives us the chance to show off that side of our business,” said Mack Bissette, CEO of SRG Homes & Neighborhoods. “One home will be traditional, one will be craftsman-style, one will have a modern interior design and the fourth will be what we call ‘a vintage.’ That design is historically-based.”

Having four distinctive homes for the Showhouse creates new opportunities for the event.

“We’re going to have a lot more designers involved this time,” said Ward Lariscy, Symphony Guild design chairman. “Looking at the plans, we’re going to need 40 designers for the four homes. We’ll have the chance to match each designer with a different house and theme.”

Ashby said, “We’ve never done these kinds of homes before. It’s going to be fun.”

Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council President Louise DeSpain said bringing the event to the neighborhood is a great opportunity to share the area with the entire community.

“Springfield is the new up-and-coming place to live and work and we’re delighted it’s going to be here,” she said.

City Council member Pat Lockett-Felder, whose district includes Springfield, agreed.

“This will be a new light for Springfield,” she said. “You have to have interesting things here to bring people to this community. Having this event in Springfield will bring people from all over Jacksonville down here.”

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