JTA Public Relations Manager Leigh Ann Rassler said Monday the agency will lease 33,000 square feet among three floors on a five-year lease, with an opt-out after four years.
Rassler said the move is part of JTA’s overall master plan.
The Myrtle Avenue property, on the edge of Downtown close to Interstate 95, will become the operations campus, allowing JTA to move Connexion, its paratransit service, from leased space on Richard Street.
It also will allow JTA space to build a new compressed natural gas fueling facility on the site.
The 100 N. Myrtle Ave. site also will accommodate the 40 new First Coast Flyer buses that will be added over the next four years for the Bus Rapid Transit program.
Rassler said the 121 W. Forsyth St. building was chosen because of its central location and its access to the Skyway. She said employees can park for free at the Kings Avenue parking garage on the Southbank and take the Skyway across the St. Johns River to the Northbank offices.
The 121 Atlantic Place offices will serve as an interim location pending construction for the regional multimodal Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center, she said.
She said the $21 million project is funded with $10.5 million from the JTA budget and state matching funds of $10.5 million. Initially, JTA and the Greyhound bus station are expected to move there.
The center will manage all traffic operations throughout Northeast, Florida and be the central connecting point for JTA’s current and planned future transit services.
The center is to the north of Prime Osborn Convention Center, adjacent to the Skyway station.
The 90-100 JTA administrative employees moving Downtown will relocate Dec. 12, she said. They will report to work Downtown the following Monday, Dec. 15.
JTA will lease the second and third floors and also maintain a 1,700-square-foot customer service center on the ground floor. That center will enable customers to obtain their STAR cards, search for lost-and-found items and other functions, and prospective employees can apply for jobs there, too.
The city is reviewing a building-permit application for a $694,708 project to renovate 32,280 square feet of space on the first, second and third floors of the building.
CBRE Inc. represented JTA. Bob Retherford, senior director of brokerage for Cushman & Wakefield, represented the landlord.
The 10-story, 120,000-square-foot building is the former Atlantic National Bank headquarters. Property records show the building was developed in 1908 and a second structure was built in 1951.
Retherford said the JTA lease boosts the building to occupancy of about 80 percent. He said Cushman & Wakefield has improved the building’s occupancy from 2 percent – the café – to almost 80 percent in 3˝ years. Cushman & Wakefield leases and manages the structure.
“It was basically a vacant building,” Retherford said.
About 24,000 square feet remains to be leased. He said Cushman & Wakefield is working with several prospective tenants, including some law firms, another tenant for about 10,000 square feet and a few more. He said proposals are out for about 20,000 square feet of space.
Downtown’s urban core gains another 90-100 employees in December when the Jacksonville Transportation Authority moves its administrative employees from its Myrtle Avenue headquarters to 121 Atlantic Place.