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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Nov. 18, 201412:00 PM EST

Growing KIPP Schools to add fourth floor, then new building


The KIPP — Knowledge is Power Program — Jacksonville Schools are filling up the former Jacksonville Kennel Club they occupy in Northwest Jacksonville.

Already using three renovated floors, they will expand onto the fourth for use as classrooms and administrative space.

Tom Majdanics, executive director of KIPP Jacksonville Schools, said the free, nonprofit public schools comprise 660 students in the KIPP VOICE Elementary School, now grades K-2 but designed to move up to the fourth grade, and the KIPP Impact Middle School of grades 5-8.

“It’s going to be an intriguing renovation — there will be a lot of hard work happening in the building between our students, teachers and construction workers. We’ve all got work to do between now and summer,” Majdanics said.

VOICE stands for the school’s values — vision, optimism, imagination, community and empowerment.

The middle school opened in 2010 and the elementary school was founded in 2012.

Majdanics said the seventh and eighth graders will move to the renovated fourth floor and the younger students will occupy the first three floors.

The city is reviewing a permit for the school project at 1440 McDuff Ave. N.

The fourth floor should include eight or nine traditional classrooms, a music room, a science lab, a computer lab and some space for principals.

Majdanics said construction should start no later than January and should be completed by the time school starts in early August. The job is out for bid.

After the fourth floor is used, he said a little more space remains but he doesn’t anticipate needing it for five or six years.

He calls the donated 150,000-square-foot former greyhound-racing facility

“Jacksonville’s most extreme makeover ever.”

Majdanics said all of the renovations were designed by the Jacksonville-based Fisher Koppenhafer architecture and interior design firm.

The KIPP schools are free open-enrollment college preparatory public charter schools that serve north and west Jacksonville. Majdanics said the middle school is the highest-performing open-enrollment middle school in that area.

Nearly 900 students are on the waiting lists for both schools.

He said by next year, the schools will accommodate 800 students and the elementary school will add third grade as the second graders rise.

That total encompasses 400 students who will attend the elementary school, 350 at the middle school and 50 at a new K-8 school.

Majdanics said the Duval County School Board has approved a charter application for an additional KIPP K-8 school, which he anticipates developing on land at the site.

Majdanics expects to expand to serve more kindergartners at the start. The 100 spots last year at the existing school drew up to 260 applications. “We know there’s a need and there are many families that don’t know about KIPP,” he said.

KIPP expects to expand the next building to 750 students from K-4 by its fifth year. He anticipates opening that school in 2015.

He said plans are to start the classes inside the current building for a year with the 50 kindergartners while a dedicated space for the school is built to be ready by summer 2016.

Majdanics said there are no details on the next potential building and that many possibilities are in consideration.

“There’s a lot of activity here,” he said. “It’s exciting but also, I have very full days.”

The officers of KIPP Jacksonville Inc., established in 2008, comprise influential community and corporate leaders including Patriot Transportation Holding Inc. Executive Chairman John Baker II and Acosta Inc. Executive Chairman Gary Chartrand, who is chairman of the Florida State Board of Education.

Asana Wellness among new fitness clubs

Asana Wellness will move into the former YMCA space at 9119 Merrill Road, a center just east of the Interstate 295 East Beltway.

Mike Forrest, marketing director for Asana Wellness, said construction has begun and the 15,000-square-foot center should open in the first quarter of 2015.

Asana Wellness Centers LLC is based in Homestead. Its brand name is capitalized ASANA.

“We feel that Jacksonville is one of the top-growing cities in the country with residents that will be open to our new wellness concept,” Forrest said.

Forrest described Asana as “a complete wellness destination by providing fitness classes, nutritional counseling, health care consultations and much more.”

He said Asana Wellness will offer an extensive range of classes, most of which are included in the membership.

Forrest did not provide an investment cost for the project build-out, but said it also will involve staff and equipment.

“Don’t expect to walk into the former YMCA location. This will be a brand new gym with state-of-the-art equipment and innovative fitness programs that are designed and monitored by health professionals,” he said.

Forrest said there will be a medical clinic on-site, providing health professionals to monitor members’ progress.

“Our interdisciplinary ap-

proach will allow you to see a nutritional counselor, a medical physician, a chiropractor physician and other disciplines of health care professionals all under one roof,” he said.

Planet Fitness adding Beach Boulevard site

Planet Fitness intends to open in the Promenade Shopping Center in Southside at 8595 Beach Blvd.

It anticipates a $450,000 renovation of almost 15,000 square feet of space in the western wing of the shopping center.

The chain already has eight area locations — Baymeadows, Westside, East Arlington, San Pablo, St. Augustine and Orange Park along with a grand opening expected in Fleming Island and a re-opening in North Arlington.

Wheel Pros continues renovations

Wheel Pros LLC, a Colorado-based distributor of after-market wheels, tires and accessories, continues to invest in its new Jacksonville warehouse at the Crossroads Distribution Center.

The warehouse and office total about 20,000 square feet, plans show.

Wheel Pros is adding a $100,000 project for storage racking for its wheels and tires, having already landed a $205,000 permit to renovate space at the 6600 Pritchard Road center off the Interstate 295 West Beltway.

Penn Veterinary leases at Westside park

Penn Veterinary Supply of Lancaster, Pa., has leased a 30,500-square-foot industrial building at 8100-3 Westside Industrial Drive in Westside Industrial Park.

NAI Realvest Chairman George Livingston, principal Christie Alexander and broker associates Paul Vera and Drew Saphos represented Penn Veterinary Supply. Dave Cattell was co-broker.

Peter Anderson of Pattillo Industrial Real Estate represented the landlord, Stone Mountain Industrial Park Inc. based in Stone Mountain, Ga.

USNR applies for Phase 3

USNR, the Woodlands, Wash.-based forest products equipment company expanding in Westside, has applied to start the third phase of renovating the warehouse it bought in April at 6630 Broadway Ave.

The total renovations are approaching $3 million.

The $1.39 million third phase comprises the addition of a two-story office shell inside the existing warehouse. Plans for the pending building permit show a two-story, 21,600-square-foot office project within the warehouse.

The 170,000-square-foot structure formerly served as a warehouse for Football Fanatics. The warehouse was built in 1974.

Gulf Tech Construction LLC is the contractor for all three phases.

USNR was approved in September for the second phase, a $1.48 million renovation of 150,000 square feet of space.

The project included exterior improvements and tenant improvements in the warehouse of its existing building.

In the first phase, Gulf Tech Construction began interior demolition to remove concrete from the floor slab to prepare to handle future bridge cranes. That project was $100,513.

In the third phase, Gulf Tech will create an entry lobby, men’s and women’s locker rooms, office areas and other space.

USNR has seven divisions in North America, including in Jacksonville at 1220 W. State St., just west of the Kings Road postal facility.

Vistakon tank farm starts as $600,000 project

Jacksonville-based Vistakon’s proposed solvent tank farm appears to be taking shape at the contact lens-maker’s 69-acre Deerwood Park campus. The foundation construction is estimated at $600,000.

The proposed tank-farm structure, at 8,640 square feet, boosts the Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc. company’s expanding presence at 7500 Centurion Parkway to almost 797,000 square feet. Vistakon also leases space nearby for administrative offices.

Spokesman Gary Esterow said previously the tank farm houses ingredients used to make Vistakon’s Acuvue brand of contact lenses, which have been manufactured at the site for decades.

Vistakon wants to relocate its existing system to an alternative location on the campus. All the necessary environmental permits have been filed, he said.

The construction should be completed next year.

Vistakon employs almost 2,000 people at the campus. Esterow said no additional jobs would be associated with the relocation of the tank farm.

He said the company does not disclose specific business or investment costs for such facility improvements.

The company has been expanding in Deerwood Park since its first building was developed there in 1993. It has developed a manufacturing plant, distribution center and research and development facility.

Sale complete, Hess becoming Speedway

The switch is on from Hess to Speedway.

Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Speedway LLC subsidiary completed its acquisition of Hess Retail Holdings LLC on Sept. 30 for $2.82 billion. The deal was announced May 22 and includes all of Hess’ retail operations, transport operations, and shipper history on various pipelines.

Marathon Petroleum Corp., based in Findlay, Ohio, said in May the company had three years after completing the deal to convert the company-owned Hess stores into Speedways, but sign permits have been issued in Duval County so it shouldn’t be long before the switch is completed.

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