M. C. Blanchard Judicial Building
The M. C. Blanchard Judicial Building is the primary seat of the First Judicial Circuit Court of Florida in Escambia County and home to much of the county's governmental offices, including Clerk of Court. It is located between Baylen Street (which it faces), Government Street, Spring Street and Zaragoza Street, with the address 190 Governmental Center.
The Escambia Governmental Center Authority was established in 1969 to study and make recommendations regarding the master plan of Escambia County government's presence in downtown Pensacola. After contentious debates with certain members of the Escambia County Commission, particularly Grady Albritton, who wanted the government complex to remain on Palafox Street, the Commission and the Governmental Center Authority agreed upon the site known as "Block 11" (bounded by Baylen, Government, Spring and Zaragoza Streets) in December 1973.
However, a year later, on December 23, 1974, Albritton and two other commissioners (Zearl Lancaster and Kenneth Kelson) pushed through a surprise motion to purchase the adjacent "Block 10" (bounded by Palafox, Zaragoza, Baylen and Government Streets) for an estimated $750,000. The commissioners said the block would be razed and considered for the site of the new judicial center; and if it were not used for that purpose, it could be converted to parking or a public park. Project architect William Graves pointed out that his current design would not fit on Block 10, and others complained that it would be redundant as either a park (across the street from Plaza Ferdinand) or a parking lot. Circuit Court Judge William Frye III issued an injunction on December 24 blocking the purchase of Block 10 until a full review could be made.