The old Lawton Pratt funeral home is a perfect example of adaptive reuse. The funeral home, which will be called LaVilla Place, as a nod to its location, will become a chic short-term rental complex with a tapas and wine bar and a swimming pool. Completed in 1916, the existing building may be one of the last surviving commercial structures designed and constructed by noted Black architect Joseph Haygood Blodgett, according to The Jaxson.
The building had living quarters upstairs and a funeral parlor downstairs, along with stables for horses and later, a garage for automobiles, which gave the customers a choice of a horse-drawn or motorized hearse. The building has several interesting details, which will be saved, where possible, and used in the new design.
Avant was hired to work with the owner, Eric Adler, owner of Silver Street Management, to complete the renovation. Avant has extensive experience in adaptive reuse, as well as working with the city on historic renovations.
According to CEO Alan Cottrill, “This project is the type of thing we love to do. Not only is it restoring an old building, but it’s breathing new life into an area that has been forgotten over the years.”
Our Meaningful Mondays series honors the history and integrity of the beautiful old buildings in Downtown Jacksonville. The series will highlight a project that we’ve been involved with, are currently involved with or will be involved with.
( Much of the historic information was taken from and inspired by Wayne Wood’s newly-released book, Jacksonville’s Architectural Heritage-Landmarks for the Future, available at Jacksonville Historical Society )