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Jax Daily Record Monday, Oct. 26, 202005:19 PM EST

$3 million grant for Independent Life renovation headed to City Council

Augustine Development Group’s $30 million Downtown project will include apartments and a grocery store.
by: Mike Mendenhall Associate Editor

A $3 million city grant for Augustine Development Group’s $30 million proposed renovation of Downtown’s historic Independent Life Building is moving to City Council.

The Mayor’s Budget Review Committee voted 7-0 on Oct. 26 to authorize legislation to offer the developer the grant through the Historic Downtown Preservation Trust Fund.

The Downtown Investment Authority unanimously approved the St. Augustine-based developer’s request June 17 for the project at 233 W. Duval St.

Augustine Development Group President Bryan Greiner and investment partner DLP Capital LLC purchased the 19-story office building at 233 W. Duval St. on Sept. 30 through PEP10 LLC for $3.7 million.

The proposed $30 million renovation includes a 21,000-square-foot grocery store, 140 market-rate apartments, a parking garage and a 10,000-square-foot top-floor restaurant and executive sky lounge.

The restaurant and grocery store will be leased to a private operator.

Augustine Development Group is managing the project through PEP10 LLC. Dasher Hurst Architects is the architect of the reuse project.

DIA CEO Lori Boyer said during the meeting that the grant is being administered under the city’s former historic incentives program. 

The DIA and Council replaced that program Oct. 13 with one offering a wider range of forgivable loans to historic redevelopment projects.

The bill could be introduced as early as Nov. 10.

Greiner said in October 2019 that his group plans to invest about $28 million into the 165,000-square-foot building.

The former Independent Life and Accident Insurance Co. home office building, developed in 1955, is designated historic. 

City-owned utility JEA used it as its headquarters from 1976 through the mid-1990s. It has since been vacant.

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