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Jax Daily Record Friday, Sep. 13, 201907:28 PM EST

Ameris Bank, SoBA apartments want to put up new signs on Southbank

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The Downtown Development Review Board is scheduled to hear both requests at its meeting Thursday.

Ameris Bank and the SoBA apartments want to put up new signs on their Downtown Southbank buildings.

Ameris wants to put signs on all four sides of the 28-story riverfront tower it anchors at 1301 Riverplace Blvd.

SoBA wants to put up a blade – vertical – sign on its 1444 Home St. apartment building.

They are seeking special sign exceptions in the Commercial Central Business District.

The Downtown Development Review Board scheduled both requests among the action items it will hear at its meeting Thursday.

The meeting is scheduled at 2 p.m. in the eighth-floor boardroom at the Ed Ball Building at 214 N. Hogan St.

A before and after rendering of the new Ameris sign.

Ameris Bank wants to replace its two signs on the north and south sides of the tower with larger signs of its new logo and branding and it wants to add its logo on the east and west sides.

It seeks to increase the north and south elevation signs from 400 square feet to 1,356 square feet. The east and west logos would be 196 square feet.

The applicant is the Priority Inc. brand and signage company of Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

The building is called Riverplace Tower and, as the anchor tenant, Ameris has signage rights for the top.

Gulf Life Insurance Co. built the tower in 1966 as its headquarters. It was the tallest building in the state and became the defining Jacksonville skyline landmark for than 10 years, says the request.

The tower’s name history starts with Gulf Life followed by SouthTrust Bank, WACHOVIA and then Ameris, according to the board’s agenda documents.

The Downtown Development Review Board staff recommends final approval for the special sign exception to the Downtown Overlay District to allow for the signs.

Ameris Bank estimates it will start putting up the signs Oct. 18 and complete the job Nov. 3.

AmerisBank.com reported Aug. 1 that Ameris Bank’s merger with Fidelity Bank, announced in December, was completed in July.

“We look forward to their transition to Ameris Bank’s systems and signage in November of this year,” said the corporate website.

“Our new look will introduce a bolder, sharper tone and image to illustrate our position in the financial industry as well as our no-nonsense approach to helping our customers achieve financial peace of mind,” said the site.

It said Ameris will share its new logo with customers and communities in September and then “immediately begin updating branch signage, ATMs, electronic banking services and our website.”

The lion logos with the Ameris Bank name on two sides and standing alone on the other two reflect Fidelity Southern Corp.

With the merger, Ameris Bank has 176 branches in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, including 62 acquired from Fidelity (which is not related to Jacksonville-based Fidelity National Financial Inc.).

The combined bank has about $16.4 billion in assets and $13.8 billion in deposits. 

Ameris Bancorp moved its executive offices to the Riverplace Tower on Jacksonville’s Southbank in 2015. Ameris is headquartered in Moultrie, Georgia.

SoBA asks for an exception to increase a projecting – blade – sign from the allowed 24 square feet to up to 57 square feet.

Harbinger Signs is the agent.

An artist's rendering of the SoBA apartments sign.

SoBA wants to put a projecting sign along the north façade of the apartment building, which soon will be completed.

Downtown Development Review Board staff supports the request, “noting that that the building is obscured from the most prominent right-of-way (Hendricks Avenue) by existing buildings, making conventional wall signage impossible to see.”

Staff said a blade sign along Home Street is the most effective signage and said a wall sign, if proposed, would be allowed up to 300 square feet.

The sign would be installed by Oct. 31.

The 147-unit, four-story community was developed by Catalyst Development Partners of Atlanta and is managed by Greystar, based in Charleston, South Carolina.

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