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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Aug. 21, 201905:20 AM EST

DIA will seek proposals to relocate former Fire Station No. 5 in Riverside

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The 109-year-old building stands in the way of city plans to realign Forest St. for development.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

The Downtown Investment Authority intends to ask the public for proposals to relocate former Fire Station No. 5 at 347 Riverside Ave. 

At the City Council Finance Committee meeting Tuesday, Chief Administrative Officer Brian Hughes told council member Tommy Hazouri that the DIA will issue a request for proposals to move the 109-year-old station.

The conversation preceded a 6-0 vote by the committee approving a bill that clears the city to purchase 1.21 acres at 347 Riverside Ave. and along Alfred Dupont Place for $2.6 million from Fidelity National Financial Inc. 

The city wants to use the fire station site, built in 1910, to realign Forest Street across Riverside Avenue with the two parcels. City officials say it will provide better access to Sidney J. Gefen Riverwalk Park, as well as to riverfront property shown in DIA documents as the future development site for the $145 million headquarters for an international financial technology services company code-named Project Sharp.

Hughes said the purchase will start a six- to 12-month process in which the fire station will be moved or demolished.

The city wants to use the fire station site to realign Forest Street across Riverside Avenue with the two parcels.

“The DIA will take in anyone interested in the building. They’ll have to demonstrate a plan for relocation — where they’ll take it and some process (where) they can verify the components needed to relocate the building,” Hughes said. “But the building cannot stay in its location because it’s directly in the path of the straightening of Forest (Street),” Hughes said.

Hughes said any proposal will need to show how the organization or individual intends to move the fire station, the relocation site and have the necessary financial capital to do so.

City officials say the fire station does not meet criteria to deem it historically significant to save it from demolition. The land where the station sits is appraised at $2.3 million.

District 14 council member Randy DeFoor abstained from Tuesday’s vote because she is employed by FNF. 

The full City Council likely will take a final vote Aug. 27 whether to approve the purchase. The council meets at 5 p.m. at City Hall, 117 W. Duval St.

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