Top Newsmaker: Suzanne Pickett: Advocate for city’s Historic Eastside

Here is a look at some of the biggest newsmakers in 2023.

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Suzanne Pickett, president and CEO of the Historic Eastside Community Development Corporation, continued to be a force in the transformation and revitalization of the Jacksonville neighborhood north of EverBank Stadium.

Historic Eastside CDC’s partners include LIFT JAX, a nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty in the Eastside,

On Nov. 27, LIFT JAX anounced that the Eastside was accepted to the National Register of Historic Places, the official list of places worthy of preservation across the United States.

Pickett has said the designation would be a turning point in the Eastside’s revitalization.

A LIFT JAX news release said it “will play an integral role in preserving the neighborhood for years to come.”

The release said nonprofit organizations, like LIFT JAX and the Historic Eastside CDC, are dedicated to supporting the vision of resident leaders, and being on the National Register will further their efforts. “Now, as part of the National Register, leaders in the Eastside can apply for funding opportunities to complete revitalization projects,” it said.

Pickett, a visual artist by trade, is also an adviser to Miami-based Future of Cities, which wants to regenerate 8 acres in North Springfield as the Phoenix Arts & Innovation District, or PHX JAX. The property is near the Eastside.

In April, Pickett said Future of Cities plans a place for artists to engage with the communities of Eastside, Phoenix and Springfield. She said she was helping to identify organizations to work with the group.

“I hope to see a destination in Jacksonville where artists can have studios but also a creative place for people to come,” Pickett said.

“We really would like for it to be community-centered and we would like this community to be beneficiaries of this project,” she said.

Pickett said there are about 3,300 families on the Eastside who can benefit, in addition to residents of Springfield.

Top Deals and Newsmakers of 2023

Here is a look at some of the biggest deals and people who made headlines in 2023.

Top Deals:

Cosentino Group plans $270 million first phase of manufacturing plant. Story here

Phoenix Arts & Innovation District launches in New Springfield. Story here

Blackwater Development says it has Regency Square Mall deal. Story here

Ponte Vedra Inn & Club wins approval to start expansion, renovations. Story here

ICE finalizes its $11.9 billion acquisition of Black Knight Inc. Story here

‘Stadium of the Future’ plans are unveiled by the Jaguars. Story here

Gateway Jax plans $500 million Downtown project in NorthCore. Story here

Aldi buying Winn-Dixie, Harveys parent Southeastern Grocers. Story here

Regency Centers buys Urstadt Biddle in $1.4 billion deal. Story here

Top Newsmakers:

Donna Deegan makes history as Jacksonville’s first female mayor. Story here

Bryan Moll poised to help revitalize Downtown with Gateway Jax. Story here

Nick Allard guides JU College of Law toward new Downtown campus. Story here

Aundra Wallace an assured but low-key leader in region’s growth. Story here

Obituaries of 2023:

Activist and community advocate Ben Frazier. Story here

Beaver Street Fisheries Chairman Hans ‘Harry’ Frisch. Story here

Civic leader and insurance executive Marvin Cecil 'Ceree' Harden III. Story here



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