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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Aug. 22, 201905:20 AM EST

Fort Lauderdale-based armory bidder plans cultural facility, workforce housing

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A recommendation for the property’s use will be made within 30 days.
by: Katie Garwood Staff Writer

Fort Lauderdale-based REVA Development Corp. proposes 100 units of workforce housing and a cultural arts facility at the former Florida National Guard armory Downtown.

REVA was among three groups that submitted bids to purchase the vacant city-owned historic Gothic Revival-style Armory Building at 851 N. Market St.

The more than 100-year-old building, along with an optional adjacent property with three warehouses at 928 N. Liberty St., was offered for sale by the city.

“MADE at the ARMORY” would be an adaptive reuse of the Armory Building, said Don Patterson, president of REVA Development Corp. 

 It would include working art studios, a performance stage and facility, art galleries and event space. 

The company plans say it would “help transform the neighborhood and community for greater economic development, live/work housing, retail, restaurant, arts, and entertainment.”

REVA was among three groups that submitted bids to purchase the vacant city-owned historic Gothic Revival-style Armory Building at 851 N. Market St.

Armory Flats Art Lofts would be built on the property adjacent to the Armory Building. Some of the 100 units would be set aside as residential and workspace for artists and their families. Armory Flats also would include commercial space for local nonprofits and art-focused small businesses. 

Armory Flats would “transform a vacant and underutilized facility into a hub of creative and commercial activity,” according to the plans.

Sealed bids for the property were opened last week. There were two other bidders. Arkest LLC plans an architecture school and B&H Fine Foods Co.’s proposal includes a farmers market.

The Office of Economic Development is evaluating the bids and will submit a recommendation within 30 days of the bid opening, which took place Aug. 14. 

Once a bid is selected, it will be submitted to the Competitive Sealed Proposal Evaluation Committee, which will review the recommendation and vote. The CSPEC will negotiate a sale, lease or possibly both with the selected bidder. City Council would then approve the deal. It will then go to Mayor Lenny Curry for final approval.

The three-story, 80,826-square-foot Armory Building at one time contained a swimming pool, gymnasium, bowling alley, reception rooms, a shooting range, billiard room and library, according to the city website.

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