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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Aug. 30, 201711:45 AM EST

CBRE to oversee JEA headquarters project

Utility negotiating land swap with the city for a Downtown site.
by: David Cawton Associate Editor

Real estate and investment firm CBRE won a bid to oversee the potential development of a new JEA headquarters Downtown.

Los Angeles-based CBRE scored highest on the evaluation. It has had an office in Jacksonville since 1984.

JLL, out of Chicago came in second.

Two other firms, CMS Group LLC from Jacksonville and Michael Baker International Inc., based in Pittsburgh, also submitted bids.

Each company was scored on its project management skills, experience, time and proposed budget, the quality of its presentation and other metrics.

Jordan Pope and Nancy Kilgo with JEA government relations and JEA Manager of Facilities Chris Crane comprised the selection committee assigned to score each bid.

All scored CBRE higher than JLL.

The next step will be for JEA, the city-owned utility, to negotiate a contract with CBRE, after which CBRE will be responsible for managing the project from start to finish.

According to the bid, CBRE would need to study the feasibility of the new site at 337 W. Adams St. for construction, business needs and future growth.

From left, Jordan Pope and Nancy Kilgo with JEA government relations, JEA Manger of Facilities Chris Crane, Nathan Woyak with JEA procurement, and JEA Chief Procurement Officer John McCarthy go over the bids.

It would select a construction manager and design architect while working with JEA on all facets of the project, including establishing its scope, budget and schedule.

CBRE also would represent the utility at City Council and other government meetings through completion of the project.

CBRE did not respond to a request for comment.

During the public meeting Tuesday to review the scores, Crane said CBRE was “very detailed” in its bid, while Kilgo and Pope both listed the company’s experience as reasons for its higher score.

JEA is based in a 19-story tower at 21 W. Church St. It proposes to swap that 1.84-acre site with the city for a 1.52-acre vacant parcel near the Duval County Courthouse.

The proposal won the support of the Downtown Investment Authority on June 22.

JEA spokeswoman Gerri Boyce said negotiations continue on a land swap agreement with the city.  

After a new campus is built, JEA would be responsible for marketing and selling the Church Street property. If no buyer can be found, the buildings would be demolished and the vacant property given to the city.

If JEA can’t sell the property, which is valued at $1.63 million, the demolition process might not be easy.

Both the tower and the attached customer service center office were built in 1962 and are considered contributing properties in the Downtown Jacksonville Historic District as listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The city Historic Preservation Commission would need to approve any demolition.

JEA bought the buildings for $8 million in 1989 and has stated that both are in disrepair.

JEA has said the 55-year-old building’s systems need replacement, including elevators, plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning.

In 2016, the utility hired a consultant to determine whether it should try to repair the buildings or find a new home.

The JEA board decided June 21 that it was best to pursue a new headquarters.  That option could cost between $53 million and $78 million.

A preliminary timeline shows a new headquarters would not be completed until at least 2020.

If a contract for the land swap agreement is reached, it would need council approval.


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