• Jacksonville-based development company wants to bring arts & cultural district to downtown

    By: Courtney Cole , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    A local company named Metropolis Community Development Corporation, is proposing a space for art, Micro-theaters, and pop-up restaurants near the Duval County Courthouse.

    Action News Jax Courtney Cole spoke to the CEO of the company to learn more about the art project.

    Right now, there’s a vacant lot on 337 West Adams street in what’s considered to be the Central Civic Core District of Jacksonville. It’s only being used by a few cars and some empty trailers.

    But a man by the name of Rafael Caldera, the CEO and President of Metropolis Community Development Corporation, say he would like to bring the space to life by turning it in to an open, mobile, multi-unit cultural arts center.

    "This will be a point for people to come and enjoy, 7 days a week,” Caldera told Action News Jax Courtney Cole.

    He said the idea is inspired by other spaces in Europe and here in the United States—like the popular Wynwood District in Miami-Dade, Florida.

    As a member of the Downtown Development Review Board, he says he’d like to create a unique experience for visitors and ultimately help make Jacksonville a destination for visitors in-and-outside of the state.

    "I believe the impact will be great for Downtown. If we manage to bring the pedestrian activity from La Villa to this section and also ‘The Elbow’...it's going to be incredible,” Caldera said.

    Caldera is asking the city to temporarily lease 10,000 square feet of re-usable modular buildings for art, micro-theaters, and restaurants.

    The lease would only before 24 months.

    It would be called La Rue Des Arts, which translates to The Street of Arts.

    Caldera sent his proposal to the Downtown Investment Authority just last week.

    Inside, Caldera explained how the location would serve as a place for artistic and educational events, including: seminars, expositions, lectures and live performance.

    One woman told Action News Jax if this idea is approved, she'd come every weekend!

    “We need something that's going to be a centerpiece to bring people here. We want people to come to  Jacksonville, we want people to love and enjoy Duuuval!" Hailee Bouchey exclaimed.

    Darsey Mayer said she thinks it would help to make Downtown more inviting to people from all walks of life.

    "I think it's a good way to educate people, too! I think it's a good way to open them and like culture them."

    If the proposal is approved, it would cost about $120,000.

    This price tag would cover design, construction for the entire project and would be covered by Caldera and several other art institutions and schools throughout the state.

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