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- 2016 - December - 29th -
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Bank of America Tower

Bank of America Tower wants CSX

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Ownership of the city’s tallest office tower hopes CSX chooses it for relocation of 550 employees from Southpoint to Downtown — becoming the building’s largest single tenant.

And it hopes to hear so soon.

“We were hoping to have heard something positive from CSX before the holidays,” said James Ingram, executive vice president and chief investment officer of Hertz Investment Group.

Hertz owns the 42-story Bank of America Tower at 50 N. Laura St.

Ingram said Wednesday that Hertz is planning for 100,000 to 140,000 square feet for CSX.

A lease of that size would help fill the approximately 660,000-square-foot tower, where 200,000 square feet is available for tenants.

The lease would boost the tower from 70 percent leased to 85-88 percent, “having a meaningful impact on our occupancy and would create the largest single tenant at Bank of America Tower,” Ingram said.

Ingram said he anticipates CSX’s site decision by mid-January.

Asked whether that could lead to signage on the building for CSX, Ingram said Bank of America has exclusive signage and naming rights at the tower.

CSX is looking at the suburbs, where it has been leasing space for the jobs, as well as Downtown, said CBRE Senior Vice President Michael Harrell, who is working with the company.

Harrell said CBRE is working with CSX Real Property Inc., the real estate arm of CSX, to find alternative locations for the suburban operations.

He said they have looked at locations Downtown and in the suburbs, including staying where they are in a different configuration.

In looking Downtown, CSX also is considering the SunTrust Tower and One Enterprise Center, according to Ingram and Downtown Investment Authority CEO Aundra Wallace.

CBRE represents One Enterprise Center and Senior Vice President Oliver Barakat referred questions to Harrell. A representative of SunTrust Tower could not be reached.

Ingram said he did not know of the status of CSX’s consideration of those other buildings.

He said depending on which CSX divisions move, the company could occupy five to seven floors of about 20,000 square feet each. The space would be among the lower 21 floors.

Ingram said CSX would move by the middle of the first quarter of 2018, “so there is plenty of time.”

CSX is based on the Downtown Northbank at 500 W. Water St. and also owns the nearby 550 W. Water St. building. Combined, they provide almost 690,000 square feet of space.

Spokeswoman Kristin Seay issued a statement Wednesday that was similar to that of spokeswoman Melanie Cost earlier this month.

Seay said as part of CSX’s initiative to continually operate more efficiently and reduce overhead costs, it is terminating its lease of the two adjacent Southpoint office buildings it has occupied for more than 25 years in March 2018.

She said “if all else were equal, as part of its continuing effort to assist in the revitalization of Downtown,” CSX would like to bring the Southpoint employees to about 120,000 square feet on the Northbank.

Cost said in mid-December the workers to be moved are in the company’s finance, technology, labor relations and corporate real estate organizations.

CSX has suggested the DIA work with landlords to determine the feasibility of a move, Seay said.

A city report showed DIA could offer a grant of more than $271,000 a year for five to seven years to a Downtown landlord.

The incentives would have a $1.9 million maximum indebtedness to the Northbank Community Redevelopment Area.

The deal is contingent on CSX relocating a minimum of 550 employees Downtown and the company would have to provide written notice it wouldn’t seek other city incentives for the move.

Wallace said previously the authority was approached in mid-October about a possible move and he hopes to complete a deal in the first quarter.

He also said CSX was “sincere about looking Downtown” and was adamant it be on the Northbank.

He said few Northbank buildings provided 120,000 square feet of vacant space and did not say specifically which are under review — only that three of them can accommodate the need.

Leasing brochures show up to 150,000 square feet is available in SunTrust Tower at 76 S. Laura St. and up to 153,452 square feet of contiguous space is available in One Enterprise Center at 225 Water St., which is near CSX’s existing buildings.

Wallace said Wednesday the incentives are pending the DIA staff’s due diligence and review and there is no set timetable to complete that review.

Ingram said with incentives negotiations incomplete, “we are still hoping that we can attract them to the Bank of America Tower.”

“There still are a lot of moving parts here,” he said.

Meanwhile, Colliers International is marketing the structures at 6735 and 6737 Southpoint Drive S. for lease as a corporate office campus.

Together, they provide 275,229 square feet.

Colliers International says the 6735 Southpoint Drive S. structure is a four-story, 135,404-square-foot building built in 1992.

Floorplates range from 29,227 to 36,451 square feet in size.

The 6737 Southpoint Drive S. building, at three floors and 139,825 square feet, was developed in 1983 and renovated in 1991.

Those floorplates run from 42,597 to 49,021 square feet.

Colliers executives Chuck Diebel and Preston Phillips, both executive vice presidents, and Lisa McLatchey, office associate, are the contacts.

Baptist Convention buys NFRC offices

The Florida Baptist Convention Inc. bought the Northeast Florida Regional Council building near Southpoint last week for $2.3 million.

Based at 1230 Hendricks Ave., the convention intends to move to the 6850 Belfort Oaks Place building and sell its San Marco site for redevelopment.

The convention intends to move its corporate offices and about 30 employees to the Belfort site in early 2017. It is near Butler Boulevard and Interstate 95.

The regional council relocated to WJCT Studios Downtown.

The Belfort Oaks Place structure is a two-story, 28,000-square-foot building on 3.5 acres. It was built in 1990.

Jacksonville-based Block One Ventures wants to buy and clear the 3.45-acre Hendricks Avenue property to develop a multistory structure with up to 345 residential units and 30,000 square feet of retail and commercial uses.

The Baptist Building is on a full city block near the Downtown Southbank.

The main building is about 50,000 square feet and five stories. Construction began in 1958 and was completed in 1960.

kmathis@jaxdailyrecord.com

(904) 356-1466

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