Hallmark Partners deeds plot to Unity Plaza

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

On Tuesday, Apr. 30, Mayor Alvin Brown and new executive director Jen Jones accepted the deed to Jacksonville Unity Plaza, Inc., the future urban public square that will operate under a unique public-private partnership between Hallmark Partners and the City of Jacksonville. The partnership is part of a redevelopment agreement that obligates the private developers of 220 Riverside to donate the Unity Plaza property, establish the 501(c)(3) non-profit and fund the basic operations of the non-profit entity that will manage the property as a community ‘central park.’

The proposed Unity Plaza will be adjacent to the housing and retail space currently under development at 220 Riverside in the city’s Brooklyn area north of Riverside. Hallmark Partners are also committing a portion of the rents from retail space to fund the cost of operating the facility, including full-time staff and programming.

“This project is an iconic Central Park for Jacksonville. It’s too easy to just look at this as a real estate deal; that so dramatically understates what we’re doing,” explained Alex Coley, principal and co-founder of Hallmark Partners. “We believe we are bringing a heartbeat, a new central focal point, to the city. We are bringing our living room to life in the community.”

Approximately the size of a football field and able to accommodate more than 1,000 people, Unity Plaza will support more than 260 days of programming and special events throughout the year.

Jones noted, “This will become known as the place to go in Jacksonville. It sits in such a phenomenal location to create a nucleus for the historic districts and Downtown. It’s the perfect logistical space for the heartbeat.”
Jones is owner of and lead designer at Jen Jones Art Consulting in Avondale and is a member of the Board of Directors for Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“We are so excited to have someone of Jen’s caliber breathing the life we’ve had in our hearts for such a long time into this project,” said  Coley. “We’ve studied this for a long time and seen how other people do it and could not have found a more ideal fit than Jen.”
“I have been a major a community volunteer and advocate for my entire career, including bringing major monumental art opportunities to Jacksonville,” Jones said. “Unity Plaza is an incredible opportunity to bring every piece of what I love into one space and give back to the city.”

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