Developer. Engineer. Photographer. World Adventurer. Storm Chaser.
The Ambassador Hotel opened in 1924 as the 310 West Church Street Apartments. It was the first upscale apartment building in downtown Jacksonville, housing up to 110 people
in 50 apartments. The building was designed by one of Atlanta's most prominent architectural firms, Hentz, Reid, and Adler and constructed out of brick and limestone in the
Georgian Revival style. At six stories tall, its H-pattern allowed for every room to have a large viewing window.
In 1944 the building went through its first of many short-lived name changes. It was converted into a hotel and renamed the Three-Ten Hotel (as seen in the photo to the
right). Then in 1947 the name was changed to Hotel Southerland, followed by The Grinner in 1949. Finally, in 1955 it assumed the name, the Ambassador Hotel.
The building was purchased by Sam Easton in 1970; and added to the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1983. By that time, the building was a shell of its original
glory, having been converted into single room, low-rent apartment, and was quickly becoming dilapidated. Many of the residents living there had relocated from the adjacent
LaVilla neighborhood which had been condemned and demolished. During its final years, the building had numerous drug raids and code enforcement violations.
In 1997 the building no longer complied with code and needed to be brought up-to-date to remain open. The building closed for good in 1998, which many of the rooms today
still displaying a sticker showing the date of condemnation, 7-11-97, and 11-13-97.
Since its closure there have been few attempts to revitalize the building. One plan submitted in 2005 was put on hold when plans for the new downtown courthouse were halted.
In 2009, plans were released to repurpose the building into the Ambassador Lofts, which consisted of a mixed retail and living space. The price tag for this project was
estimated to be in a range of $8 million, with the prospective owner, Lamonte Carter, able to raise half the funds himself, with hopes that the city government would
produce the rest in terms of grants and low interest loans. The project was set to be completed by 2011.
As of 2012, the building remains empty and in limbo.