The Ambassador Hotel opened its doors in 1924 as the 310 West Church Street Apartments, as the first upscale apartments in downtown Jacksonville. The building,
which could house up to 110 residents in 50 rooms, was designed by architects Hentz, Reid, and Adler, one of Atlanta's most prominent architectural firms.
It was constructed of brick and limestone in the Georgian Revival style. The building was built six stories tall in an H pattern which allowed for every
room to have a large viewing window.
Starting in 1944 the building went through many short lived name changes. It was converted into a hotel and renamed the Three-Ten Hotel as seen in the black and white photo to the right. In 1947 the name was changed to Hotel Southland, and again in 1949 to The Grinner. The final name change took place in 1955 where it became known as the Ambassador Hotel.
In 1970 the building was purchased by Sam Easton, and was added to the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1983. By that time the former hotel had been converted into single room, low-rent apartments and was quickly becoming dilapidated. In its final years, the building would go through multiple drug busts and raids along with numerous code enforcement violations. Many of the residents living there had relocated from the adjacent LaVilla neighborhood which had been condemned and demolished.
By 1997, the building no longer complied with code and in order to stay open needed to be brought up to date. In 1998 the building was closed for good. Today many of the rooms still display a sticker showing the date of the condemnation, 7-11-97, and 11-13-97.
Since its closing, there have been few attempts to revitalize the building. One plan in 2005 was put on hold when the plans for the new downtown courthouse were halted. In 2009, plans were released to turn the building into the Ambassador Lofts, which consisted of retail space and up to 50 apartments. The price tag for this renovation had an estimate cost of $8 million dollars. The prospective owner, Lamonte Carter, could raise half the funds himself, with hopes that the city or government would produce the rest in grants and low interest loans. The project was to be complete by 2011.
As of 2012, the building still remains in limbo.
1. Davis, Ennis. "Abandoned Jacksonville: The Ambassador Hotel." Metro Jacksonville.
N.p., 9 Nov. 2011. Web. 10 June 2012. <http://www.metrojacksonville.com/>.
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