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- 2014 - July - 15th -

JTA moves Downtown

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

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.

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 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 the 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 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 former Atlantic National Bank headquarters and a five-story additional building comprise 120,000 square feet.

The two buildings connect on the first five floors, creating floor plates of 15,000 square feet. The top five floors are smaller, about 5,000 square feet each.

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 31/2 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.

GSA seeks North Jacksonville customs site

A Boca Raton developer is proposing a New Berlin Road site to the General Services Administration, which wants to lease space for a U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection facility in North Jacksonville.

The GSA solicited responses for sites in an area involving North Jacksonville and Arlington, specifying that close proximity to Blount Island is strongly preferred. It added later that locations immediately west of Interstate 295 and south of Heckscher Drive, fronting the service road and New Berlin Road, were determined to be part of the area.

Solicitation information shows the administration wants a 46,014-square-foot, two-story office building with 254 parking spaces, including 162 inside the security perimeter. It seeks a lease term of 15 years.

Procacci Development Corp. of Boca Raton applied to the city for a mobility fee calculation certificate for a proposed two-story, 50,000-square-foot building on 8.74 acres at 10205 New Berlin Road on land owned by New Berlin LLC.

The plans specify security features that include anti-ram gates and an anti-ram berm area, a 6-foot security fence, guard house, communication tower, secure parking, a fitness/training area, a dog run and more.

GSA spokeswoman Jackeline Stewart said by email the deadline for the initial offers was March 14 and that GSA has not awarded a contract yet.

She said beginning in mid-2016, the facility will house Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Customs and Border Protection assists the Port of Jacksonville by inspecting incoming shipments and the Coast Guard patrols the surrounding waterways.

The site is near the JaxPort Blount Island and Dames Point marine terminals.

Stewart said the consolidation of their offices throughout the region into one facility will help them to fulfill their missions more efficiently.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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