Permit approved to renovate office of slain head of Episcopal School
Almost seven months after Episcopal Head of School Dale Regan was slain in her office by a fired teacher, the City has approved renovations to the space to turn it into a science laboratory.
A veteran teacher, Regan was killed in her office March 6. Police said fired Spanish teacher Shane Schumerth, 28, shot 63-year-old Regan and then killed himself.
Elkins Constructors Inc. was approved for “selective removal of existing improvements in preparation for new improvements.” The project cost is $76,420. Plans show that the vacant 800-square-foot former principal’s office will be renovated into a science lab.
Those plans show that the office is within a structure that surrounds a courtyard. The office is between an existing science lab and an existing learning resource center.
Meg Sacks, director of marketing at Episcopal School, said previously the decision to renovate the space involved Regan’s family and the school’s faculty and staff.
“We had to take into consideration what the building could do, so working with her family and working with what we had, we decided the science room would be fitting,” she said. “Dale was a consummate teacher at heart.”
Regan began teaching English at Episcopal in 1978 and became head of school in 2006.
R. Dean Scott Architects Inc. is the architect and Baker Klein Engineering is the consulting engineer. Completion is expected in early January.
Episcopal is planning the “Dale D. Regan Plaza at the Great Oak” to memorialize Regan.
Baptist Health plans imaging center
A pending permit shows plans for a Baptist Health imaging Center at 5432 Blanding Blvd. The leasehold improvement is a 4,470-square-foot project at a cost of $489,416. Spokeswoman Cindy Hamilton said Baptist Health hopes to have the new MRI center open by spring.
Firehouse to leave original store for nearby site
Firehouse Subs will close its first location — 10131-8 San Jose Blvd — and move into a larger location at 9825 San Jose Blvd., the former site of a Woody’s B-BQ. The location is being renovated.
Meg Rose, Firehouse of America LLC director of company operations, said two factors led to the decision.
First, more restaurants were opening in the strip center where the Firehouse Subs operated, making parking a concern. The Tax Collector’s branch office at the center was busy at lunchtime, also affecting parking.
Second, southbound traffic access was tricky because of northbound traffic, and the traffic light in front of the new location and visibility at the new location were factors in the decision.
“We feel the location is close enough to the original not to create a deterrent and as we move closer to the ‘move’ date we will work very hard to ensure all of our current guests are aware of the upcoming move,” she said.
Centers sold for Walmarts
Gatlin Development Co. Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, through GDC Jax 3 LLC, bought the Merrill Station and Crossroads at Mandarin shopping centers for development of Walmart Neighborhood Markets, which would be the first in Duval County. The Walmart stores would be developed at former closed Food Lion stores.
GDC Jax 3 LLC paid $3.6 million for Merrill Station and $5.2 million for Crossroads at Mandarin, for a total $8.8 million. The sales closed Sept. 7. GDC took out a $17.6 million mortgage Sept. 11 from Ladder Capital Finance LLC.
Gatlin Development has been shown on site plans as the developer for the 8011 Merrill Road store in Arlington and the 10550 Old St. Augustine Road store in Mandarin.
The Merrill Road Walmart Neighborhood Market is shown as 38,466 square feet on the 8.4-acre site. The Old St. Augustine Road store is shown as 38,640 square feet on a 10.58-acre site.
Meanwhile, a former Food Lion at San Pablo Road and Atlantic Boulevard also has been shown on plans as a Walmart Neighborhood Market but was not sold to Gatlin. The San Pablo store is shown as 49,433 square feet and plans for that project indicate Wal-Mart Stores East L.P. as the developer.
CPH Engineers Inc. is shown as the engineer for all three market locations.
Ovinte on the way
The City OK’d a permit for tenant build-out for the Ovinte Wine-Cocktails-Tapas at St. Johns Town Center at the former Original Pancake House.
Garza Constructors Inc. will handle the project, shown at a job cost of $35,000.
Ovinte is being developed by Wine Lounge Concepts LLC. The limited liability company’s partners are Fraser Burns, Charles Munsey and Jacques Klempf.
Plans for the building, at 10208 Buckhead Branch Road, show bar, lounge and dining areas. The design is by Design Cooperative LLC.
Dollar General, 7-Eleven, Si Senor Fresh Mex
• The Hatch Group will demolish a two-story building and pavement at 13807 N. Main St. The site is slated for a Dollar General store.
• Molina Interior Design Construction was OK’d to make interior improvements for 7-Eleven at 2203 Dunn Ave. It’s a $187,000 construction project.
• The City approved a wall sign in the Shoppes at East Pointe Landing, at 3546 St. Johns Bluff Road S., No. 103, for Si Senor Fresh Mex.
Bedrosians adds to logistics moves
Addison Commercial Real Estate Inc. reported last week Bedrosians tile and stone bought the former Mazda Motors parts center at 8313 Baycenter Road in Southside to serve as a Southeast distribution center.
Addison said the center is 327,403 square feet. That is more than four times the size of its existing center at 7750 Philips Highway, according to Duval County property records.
As Paragon Industries II Inc., Bedrosians paid $7 million for the Baycenter building, property records show.
State corporate records show that Paragon Industries II’s officers are Larry, Gary and Janice Bedrosian of Fresno, Calif. Its address is the Baycenter Road location.
Bedrosians, based in Fresno, Calif., currently operates its Jacksonville branch in a 74,970-square-foot building at the Philips Highway address.
Records show that building also is owned by Paragon Industries Inc., whose officers are the Bedrosians.
Paragon Industries Inc. bought the Philips Highway building for $3 million in 2004. It was built in 1982 and carries a taxable value of $2.6 million.
Addison said the seller of the Baycenter Road center is Corporate Holdings L.L.C. Records show it bought the structure in 2004 for $5.5 million. It was built in 1974 and its taxable value is $5 million.
Addison said Bedrosians is one of the country’s largest independent ceramic tile and stone importers and distributors and has 30 branches in California, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Washington state.
It said the 64-year-old company factored in Jacksonville’s port, interstate highways and transportation costs in choosing the city as its distribution center over other Southeastern port cities.
It didn’t request any City incentives, Addison said. Its other two Florida locations are in Miami and Pompano Beach.
Addison said Steve Orman with Addision represented Paragon Industries II Inc., the buyer. Gary Marcy of CBRE represented Corporate Holdings, the seller.
The move joins several other distribution centers announced or filed for the area in recent weeks.
Samsung Electronics, Sam’s East, Vistakon, Union Supply Group, JanPak, SSI Lubricants LLC and ATI Products Inc. are several of the companies that have opened or plan to develop distribution centers around
Jacksonville, according to building plans or corporate news releases.
Duval unemployment rate drops
Duval County’s unemployment rate dropped in August to a seasonally adjusted 9.33 percent from an adjusted 9.51 percent in August and from 11.12 percent in August 2011.
University of North Florida economics professor Paul Mason adjusted figures released from the state to account for seasonal factors.
While Duval County’s rate dropped, the Duval rate was higher than the five-county metropolitan area rate all three months.
Mason said the unemployment rate in the area of Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties rose slightly to 8.62 percent in August from 8.61 percent in July, but was down from 10.31 percent in August 2011.
Duval County dominates the workforce. Its labor force of 450,692 accounts for 65 percent of the five-county area’s labor force of 696,423.
The labor force comprises people employed and those who are unemployed and seeking jobs.