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- 2014 - July - 31st -

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Toy importer Ja-Ru Inc. applied to the city for a permit to build the $12.8 million first phase of its Flagler Center headquarters and distribution center.

It’s the first indication of the cost of the structure, shown as a first-phase 352,677-square-foot building on 22.05 acres at 12901 Flagler Center Boulevard, in the Bayard area of South Jacksonville.

Equipment, furnishings and other work will boost that investment cost. Ja-Ru paid $3.03 million in December 2012 to buy the property, which boosts the projected cost to $15.8 million.

Jacksonville-based Ja-Ru intends to consolidate operations from its current headquarters and warehouse at 4030 Philips Highway and two other warehouses it uses. Company representatives have not returned calls for comment.

Ja-Ru’s plans show the new project is designed as a two-phase, almost 490,000-square-foot operation.

Building plans show business, factory and assembly space on the first floor along with 310,788 square feet of warehouse space. The first floor, totaling 332,197 square feet, will include a cafeteria, fitness center, training room, work room and open office space.

The second floor comprises 20,480 square feet of space that includes executive offices, managers, conference space, a showroom and offices for art, product development and purchasing.

The company must start construction on or before Dec. 31 and be completed by Dec. 31, 2015, to meet its economic development agreement with the city that was approved in November. The city adopted a resolution in November approving two grants totaling $496,000 for the project.

Plans show Infinity Design Builders Inc. is the contractor and its Bruce-Terrell Architects Inc. division is the architect. Janet O. Whitmill is the landscape architect and Abbey Civil Engineers Inc. is the civil engineer.

Ja-Ru’s website, jaru.com, says Ja-Ru is a Florida-based toy company with offices and showrooms in Jacksonville and Hong Kong.

`Ja-Ru employs more than 150 people, with more than 100 in the United States. State records show the privately held company was incorporated in 1967 in Florida.

Ja-Ru bought its Philips Highway property in 1984 and constructed its building in 1985. The site is about 12.5 miles north of Flagler Center.

Citizens rebids Jacksonville project

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. re-issued the bid proposal Tuesday for a consolidated Jacksonville operations center.

Responses are due Sept. 4, a decision could be made Nov. 3 and the lease would start July 1.

The state government corporation provides insurance protection to Florida property owners.

The insurer re-issued the Invitation to Negotiate for the consolidated Jacksonville operations center that will need about 226,400 square feet of space.

It now leases four buildings in the Baymeadows area and wants to consolidate in a single building or among several buildings at a single site.

The invitation now says that if a single building or a single site is not chosen, Citizens Property would consider a proposal or proposals that encompass multiple landlords and/or locations.

Citizens’ site boundary is an 8-mile radius from Interstate 95 and Butler Boulevard, which would include Downtown.

The pre-bid conference will be Aug. 6 for vendors to ask questions.

Cushman & Wakefield of Florida Inc. represents Citizens in seeking the lease opportunity.

Citizens Property received four bids in the last round and said it identified at least one deficiency in each.

Citizens Property intends to consolidate its Jacksonville operations, which have 800 employees, and move another 148 IT jobs into one large office.

The information for the ITN for Jacksonville Office Space is available at citizensfla.com.

Newman Housing a $6M construction project

Newman Student Housing has applied for site development and a construction permit for the 204-bed project it wants to build near the University of North Florida.

Certified General Contractors Inc. is shown as the contractor for the almost $6.2 million building, a three-story, 76,463-square-foot structure on 3.1 acres at 11291 Alumni Way.

It will be Building 100.

Dallas-based NSH Jacksonville LLC and Bowman Consulting of Melbourne previously filed site development plans with the city for the project. Newman Student housing offers housing for University of North Florida students who want to live a campus housing life aligned with faith-based principles.

The building is open to all faiths. The ministry is provided by the Catholic Church but not all programs are Catholic specific.

Plans show a multiphase project on 6.43 acres at 11277 Alumni Way, near the UNF campus in Southside.

The first phase would provide 69 apartment units for students and three for resident assistants.

Matthew Zerrusen, president of the Newman Student Housing Fund, said pending financing and agreements with UNF and the Diocese of St. Augustine, ground breaking could take place in early fall so that the center would be open in fall 2015.

USNR permit issued

The city approved a permit for USNR to start renovations of the Westside warehouse it bought in April at 6630 Broadway Ave.

Gulf Tech Construction LLC can start interior demolition and remove concrete from the floor slab to prepare to handle future bridge cranes. Those will be part of a future permit application.

The project approved Tuesday is listed at a cost of $100,513. The 170,000-square-foot warehouse formerly served as a warehouse for Football Fanatics.

USNR, a forest products equipment company based in Woodland, Wash., has seven divisions in North America, including in Jacksonville at 1220 W. State St., just west of the Kings Road postal facility.

SunTrust issues $4M mortgage for Westside development

SunTrust Bank made a $4 million mortgage to Palmer Cleland Realty of Jacksonville LLC, the property owner of the Ernie Palmer Toyota dealership site in West Jacksonville.

Last month the city approved permits for Ernie Palmer Toyota to start construction to redevelop the dealership at a project estimate of $7 million project.

RLH Construction LLC is listed as the contractor to build a 47,730-square-foot new-car dealership with a showroom, service area and inventory parking, at a project cost of $4 million, and to renovate the existing 4,110-square-foot detail building at $300,000.

The dealership property is at 1290 and 1310 Cassat Ave. The used-car operation at 1290 Cassat Ave. would be demolished and the site rebuilt as the new-car dealership and a renovated detail shop. Ernie Palmer Toyota won approvals in April to demolish structures in anticipation of construction.

The existing Ernie Palmer Toyota new-car dealership at 1310 Cassat Ave. will be demolished and the site will become a parking lot to store vehicle inventory.

Palmer Cleland Realty is based at 1310 Cassat Ave., mortgage documents show. The agreement was made Friday.

BofA closing Downtown drive-up facility

Bank of America notified customers this week it will close its drive-up banking facility Downtown at 50 W. State St. on Nov. 7. “Fewer customers have been visiting us here and instead are using Online and Mobile Banking,” says the notice.

Bank of America reminds customers it continues to operate two other nearby facilities at 50 N. Laura St. on the Northbank and 2011 San Marco Blvd. on the Southbank.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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