- 2014 - September - 23rd -
The Barnett Bank Tower and the Laura Trio, four historic buildings proposed for adaptive re-use by developer Steve Atkins.

Developer of Barnett Building and Laura Street Trio project says he needs $7.7 million from city

By Max Marbut, Staff Writer

Developer Steve Atkins has been pitching a historic restoration project comprised of the former Barnett Bank Tower and the Laura Street Trio since May 25, 2010, when he first showed the plan to former Mayor John Peyton.

Speaking Tuesday to the World Affairs Council Jacksonville, Atkins filled in many of the blanks about the project, including possible tenants, construction time line and the budget for the project to transform the long-vacant buildings into a boutique hotel, restaurant, grocery store, retail and residential space.

A big blank not filled in is how the city might come up with $7.7 million Atkins said he needs to complete the financing for the project.

He said commitments are in place for the $70 million project to cover 44 percent equity interest and 45 percent debt, leaving 11 percent for the city’s share of a private-public partnership.

After the presentation, Downtown Investment Authority CEO Aundra Wallace said he and Atkins have been “dancing around numbers” and it was the first time he had seen the percentages.

He said if the city eventually reached an agreement with Atkins, the project would have to be complete before the city would write a check for the project.

“I’ve heard the request and we’ll try to get there,” said Wallace. “But the DIA doesn’t have that capital.”

Atkins made his presentation just hours before City Council is scheduled to debate whether to withdraw about $7 million in reserve funds to pay for public safety and other essential services.

In earlier budget discussions, council members refused to approve $11.8 million for improvements at the Jacksonville Landing.




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