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Freedom Commerce Centre becomes ‘Prominence’

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Boca Raton-based Crocker Partners, which bought the 54-acre Freedom Commerce Centre office park in December 2012, has renamed it "Prominence" and intends to make a multimillion-dollar capital improvement to the property.

Crocker announced it will upgrade and renovate the property, comprising seven buildings totaling 752,154 square feet of office space, with modern design features, a new entrance monument, landscaping and parking upgrades.

"Because of the lack of large spaces in the Jacksonville suburban market, this creates a huge opportunity," said Kaycee Gardner, vice president of Jones Lang LaSalle and a member of the leasing team.

"This park is going to get totally renovated and have a great ownership in place," she said.

Freedom Commerce Centre is at southwest Baymeadows Road and Interstate 95. The business park sits between Philips Highway and I-95.

Groundbreaking on the Baymeadows Road monument sign is expected in February.

Each of the seven buildings will drop its individual name and instead be numbered from 100 to 700, Gardner said. Each building will have its own monument sign and tenant directory.

Gardner said the improvements will start in several months.

Crocker said the new name of "Prominence" reflects its confidence in Jacksonville's office market, its commitment to the property and its long-term investment.

Crocker Partners named Gardner and Jesse Shimp, an associate of Jones Lang LaSalle, as the leasing team.

Crocker Partners plans to upgrade the buildings and amenities to make the park more competitive with office space built east of I-95 in recent years.

"Prominence provides tremendous potential and is centrally located in one of the most sought-after suburban markets in Jacksonville," Gardner said in a news release.

"With the strong Crocker Partners ownership in place and its commitment to make a bold statement with the park's redevelopment, we expect to attract tenants seeking value and efficiency in their office space," she said.

The park is 40 percent occupied, led by tenants such as Chase Bank, ING Financial Services and InComm, a prepaid product and transaction services company.

Crocker considers Prominence's large contiguous office spaces to be ideal for back-office operations.

The available space can accommodate tenants needing from 2,000 square feet to more than 200,000 square feet of contiguous space.

Gardner declined to discuss leasing rates.

Crocker said upgrades to the individual buildings will include a new facade for the lobbies, restrooms and elevator cabs, as well as installation of new lighting fixtures throughout the properties. Significant parking upgrades also are underway to increase the parking ratio up to eight spaces per 1,000 square feet, Crocker said.

Crocker Partners principals have owned, managed and developed more than 31 million square feet of Class A mixed-use, office or residential projects valued at $3.7 billion in major markets in the Southeast and Texas.

Its portfolio includes more than 6 million square feet of office space in the Southeast U.S. and Texas, representing an investment of more than $1 billion.

Crocker Partners owns and operates more than 3.1 million square feet of real estate across Florida, including Miami Center, Orlando University Center and Two Harbor Place in Tampa.

Crocker Partners also owns an 18-story Class A office building in Atlanta named Prominence.

With annual revenue of $3.9 billion, Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle operates in 70 countries from more than 1,000 locations. It provides management and real estate outsourcing services to a property portfolio of 2.6 billion square feet and completed $63 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2012.

Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $46.3 billion of real estate assets under management.

Jones Lang LaSalle has 650 employees in Florida and oversees a leasing and management portfolio of more than 28.6 million square feet statewide.

In late 2012, the seven buildings in Freedom Commerce Centre were sold for $27.8 million to Crocker Partners V Freedom LLC of Boca Raton. The group bought the buildings from JPMCC 2005-CIBC13 Orlandville Offices LLC, in care of LNR Partners LLC of Miami Beach.

The park was developed from 1988-98 by Koger Equity Inc.

While Crocker bought the office park within the larger Freedom Commerce Centre, other property there also was sold.

The Crocker Partners acquisition is separate from a deal last summer in which NeoVerde-St. Johns LLC, a partnership based in Dallas, bought 629 acres in Freedom Commerce Centre for $12.5 million from The Goodman Co. of West Palm Beach.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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