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Jax Daily Record Thursday, May 29, 201412:00 PM EST

Downtown in play for Citizens Property Insurance deal


Downtown is in play for the large Citizens Property Insurance Corp. office consolidation that could bring at least 900 jobs to the urban core.

Citizens Property has extended the boundaries for the site search, which had been limited to a 5-mile radius from its Baymeadows area offices.

The boundary requirement is listed now as an 8-mile radius from Interstate 95 and Butler Boulevard. The company posted on its website Wednesday that it had amended the requirements.

Because of that, Downtown buildings can compete for the deal.

Two weeks ago, EverBank Center's representative said during a pre-bid conference the owners will bid to bring Citizens Property to the Downtown tower if the boundaries are extended.

Citizens Property, which is a state government corporation that provides insurance protection to Florida property owners, wants to consolidate and expand offices in Jacksonville into about 226,400 square feet of office space.

"We will definitely bid if they amend the boundaries to include Downtown Northbank," said El Ad Florida LLC representative Pamela Smith, who participated in a Citizens Property pre-bid conference May 15 about the Invitation to Negotiate.

She raised the question about the company's requirement that the office space be within a 5-mile radius of a Citizens Property office at 7215 Financial Way in Southside.

"We are eight miles," she said. "Can we submit a bid?"

Citizens Property Procurement Officer Patty Davis responded that Smith's property was outside the boundaries but encouraged her to send the question in writing so it can be considered.

The response posted Wednesday included Downtown. The radius stretches north to Arlington, east to Hodges Boulevard, south to below Old St. Augustine Road and west to Ortega.

Smith said EverBank Center, at 301 W. Bay St., has about 250,000 square feet available from AT&T's departure.

Citizens will consolidate the four Jacksonville offices, which focus on underwriting and claims operations, into one larger location along with 148 new IT jobs that will be shifted to Jacksonville from Tallahassee and Tampa.

Citizens Property wants to lease existing space preferably in a single building or buildings in an adjacent complex or campus setting. It is looking for 215,080 to 237,720 usable square feet.

Citizens Property leases 211,288 square feet of space in Jacksonville in four buildings among Cypress Point, Cypress Plaza, and Corporate Center.

The landlord for Cypress Point Business Park will continue to evaluate the invitation to negotiate, its broker said last week.

Bids are due by 2 p.m. June 24 and the company expects to start relocating staff into the chosen building Jan. 1, 2016.

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