On the morning of October 22th 2011, something terribly shocking happened. It was so shocking and so unspeakable that the people involved would go on remembering it for as long as they lived.
But to understand how it all happened, one must first understand where it all happened.
The student housing complex had been built a little after the Great Fire of 1901, in Jacksonville, Florida, though back then it was merely a small family-owned hostel with just a dozen rooms to start up. Then, a few decades later, due to rapid urban sprawling, a long-sighted real estate entrepreneur saw the potential of the place to become much more enticing than just a little, two-bit lodging space, and in a rather bold move, he bought the family out of their business, especially because of the largely undeveloped land attached to the premises. The idea was to develop some fancy private homes for vacation rentals by hot-shot, out-of-towners. And when, later on, it became clear that this prospect wouldn’t successfully pan out, a purpose-built student housing complex was erected instead.
Flystone, it was called (short for Dragonfly Stone – the name deriving from the apartment complex shape when seen from an aerial point of view). The complex really reached full-build in the mid-nineties, with its singles converted into full apartments and with hall lounges and terraces added on to each floor. With about nine buildings holding north of two hundred tenants—students for the most part—Flystone was a premium off-campus housing choice. That is what the glowing ads said in any case. Then a string of petty incidents, ranging from thievery to illicit prowling, called into question housing safety.
To ward off the unavoidable bad publicity, management took proactive measures and fitted the buildings with electronic locks for each floor’s doors in every building, thus moderating accessibility for nonresidents during specific late hours in the night. This high-tech device was officially implemented in 2001 to general tenants’ satisfaction (the then-new Flexible Lease Terms that came with the upgrade certainly helped incentivize the tenants). Since then, Flystone has gone on to add more beds to its portfolio for a countrywide expansion.
But we shall focus on the original housing complex founded in Jacksonville, Florida, all those years ago, the one which is closely bounded by the St. Johns River to the south of its dragonfly-like structure. So yes, this is where it all happened. The madness … if you can even give it a name. And, truth is, the unexpected resolution of this occurrence was twice as shocking as its troubling nature. This is what happened…
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish