Friday, January 27, 2012

One Week Post Launch

This week has been very exciting...but VERY busy!  We had tons of meetings about the building, and I am proud to report that we are currently at $937,000 in committed pledges.  Under advisement from some individuals who have done building campaigns in the past, we have slight bumped up the fundraising goal from $2.1M to $2.5.  We were probably not considering enough in the budget to effectively cover the ongoing maintenance of the property.  We were advised that we should consider future maintenance cost at about 1/3 the entire project budget!  We are a little bit below that just because this is not a new building and many of the things we are doing should reduce operating expenses by using sustainable features but it was still a good idea to bump that up so we don't have to try to fund raise again for something WAY less sexy than "Downtown's New Front Door."  I guess the maintenance campaign could be called "Paint Downtown's Middle Aged Front Door."  Hahaha.

So, now, here is the breakdown. $1.6M for construction with an additional $300k for "contingency" know, all those things we haven't thought of and to cover ourselves when we realize the river is the only thing under our parking lot :-) We are budgeting about $100,000 for technology upgrades because what fun is a cool new space with people in it all the time without cool features like computers that work and WIFI?  That gets us to $2M.  There is about another $100k for new parking equipment so people don't keep getting stuck in the parking lot and we can do things like validate parking..  The additional $400k is future maintenance.  It is still a pretty tight budget.  The plans for the building are aggressive to reach the vision for less than $2M!  This is especially aggressive considering we are renovating an entire city block plus the entire inside of an 18,000 sq ft three story building!

This week has also been exciting because we sent out the link to the
YouTube video about the building.  We received tons of great response!  We have people wanting to donate products and services as well as people wanting to donate cash.  It is going to take lots of both kinds of donations to actually make this dream a reality.  Our top gift right now is $150,000!  I will post more about our donors soon.  The media blew up with posts and articles about the project:

We even got a little coverage on our own favorite architects for Downtown's New Front Door blog: Content Design Blog.  Thanks y'all.  Glad you like the project. :-)

Thank you, Jacksonville media, for all the coverage and thank you to everyone who is donating money, products and services.  Let's keep this ball rolling.  Downtown revitalization starts here

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's Official!

The JAX Chamber officially unveiled the design concepts for Downtown’s New Front Door. Check out the press release here.

Getting ready for the Annual Meeting

HUGE thanks to David Reed at SpeedPro Imaging for the world's fastest turn around on the posters with the images of Downtown's New Front Door for the event tonight!

Downtown's New Front Door

Tonight, at the Florida Theatre, the Chamber will host the 127th Annual Meeting!  I am so excited that after months of hard work and dedication, we are able to reveal the plans for Downtown's New Front Door.  I have to give a huge shout out to the Architects and Landscape Architects for this project.  They have worked diligently for months now creating the concept that will be unveiled tonight.  James Blythe, Jason Fisher and Greg Beere, all principals with Content Design Group designed the interior and exterior of the building.  Jeremy Marquis with Marquis Halback Inc (Formerly Halback Design Group - Congrats Jeremy) designed all the landscape and hardscape for the property.

We are so glad to have these creative professionals excited about this project, and it just keeps getting more exciting.  I look forward to the roll-out tonight and the momentum that will follow.