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Jax Daily Record Friday, Jul. 12, 201905:10 AM EST

City puts historic armory up for sale, redevelopment

Sealed bids for the 5-acre property are due no later than 2 p.m. July 31.
by: Mike Mendenhall Associate Editor

The city-owned former Florida National Guard armory on the northeast edge of Downtown is for sale.

The city published a request for proposals July 3 seeking bids from developers to buy the 2.02-acre site at 851 N. Market St., with an option to redevelop an adjacent 2.97-acre property at 928 N. Liberty St. The building has been empty for nine years.

According to the RFP, the city also might consider a long-term lease with a developer.

The three-story, 80,826-square-feet Gothic Revival-style armory was constructed in 1908. The building and land on North Market Street are valued at about $2.8 million, according to the Duval County Property Appraiser.

The optional property on North Liberty Street comprises three stucco warehouses with 21,594 square feet of usable space. The city Parks, Recreation and Community Services department has used the facility for storage. The optional property and buildings are valued at $653,600. 

City Council designated the armory as a local landmark in 2001. It has been vacant since 2010 because of issues with flooding. City records show the two properties, separated by Hogan’s Creek, are in a flood plain.

The city is offering the armory site and an adjoining property for development.

Attempts have been made to reuse the armory. In 2011, the city sought redevelopment ideas from nonprofit organizations. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, Kirby-Smith Camp No. 1209 approached the city with a plan to turn the armory into a museum.

 After legislation was filed in support of the plan, a group of four nonprofits came to council proposing a $9 million art education facility and gallery. The council could not come to agreement and the legislation was withdrawn, ending both proposals.

In 2012, the armory was one of seven sites the city considered as a day center for the homeless, but the location did not receive the support of then-Mayor Alvin Brown or the Emergency Services & Homeless Coalition of Northeast Florida. 

Sealed bids for the armory are due by 2 p.m. July 31. The bids will be read at that time in the Ed Ball Building at 214 N. Hogan St., Suite 110.

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