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Jax Daily Record Friday, Sep. 7, 200112:00 PM EST

Humana building a downtown landmark

by: Michele Newbern Gillis

Standing 23 stories tall with a pink granite exterior and mirrored plate glass that reflects the city, the Humana building is one of the most recognizable buildings downtown.

Located at 76 S. Laura St., the building was developed by Rouse and Associates and was completed in 1989. It was the former home of the American Heritage Life Insurance Company and at one time was called the AHL Building.

When AHL moved out after five years, the building was renamed the Jacksonville Center.

Humana bought the building in April 1998 for $32 million and then spent $12 million on renovations. The purchase was aided by a $6.8 million incentive package from the City.

“The City recognized that this was the first major employer to move downtown in over 30 years,” said Jack Davis of Southeast Leasing and Management Company, who represents Humana in leasing, brokerage and development.

“It was something we worked on very closely with the City to bring Humana downtown,” said Pam Gadinsky, spokesperson for Humana. “We were scattered in seven buildings around town and this brought us all into one building.”

Tenants occupied about about 70,000 square feet in the 383,000 square-foot building when Humana bought it.

“We were very excited to move downtown and be a part of the downtown revitalization,” said Gadinsky.

Humana occupies 280,000 square feet and has several amenities including a fitness center and cafeteria. The company also has about 1,000 local market office and regional service center associates in the building.

Currently, tenants other than Humana include Jacksonville Bank, Palmer and Cay of Florida, The Energy Authority, Cole Stone and Stoudemire, George K. Brew Esq., Take Stock in Children, Riley Court Reports, the NFL Players Association Jacksonville Chapter and Heidrick and Struggles.

There’s about 50,000 square feet available for lease including the 19th and 20th floors, which are 10,000 square feet each. The rest of the space is scattered throughout the building. Almost 9,000 square feet will become available in October when Cole Stone Stoudemire moves out of the building.

“We are currently developing our high profile space for tenant occupancies,” said Richard Pierson, manager of business services for Humana.

Lease rates range from $16.50 to $19.50 per square-foot for a full-service lease. The building offers 24-hour/seven day security. It has a fitness center on the fourth floor that has 350 members and is open to tenants and non-tenants. The building has a 220-person restaurant on the top floor that is open only to building occupants.

Davis said the type of tenants he is looking for are professionals who would appreciate a Class A building, including law firms, insurance companies, accounting firms or financial-oriented businesses.

“It probably is — and will be — the best location in Jacksonville,” said Davis. “It has the advantage of the waterfront view, it’s very accessible to the Central Business District, and it is close to many restaurants.”

There’s also easy access to the Skyway and bus routes, and Humana will begin construction on a 1,100 space parking garage on the corner of Hogan Street and Independent Drive in about six months.There are also plans for a 750-space garage at Forsyth and Main streets in the future.

“The two distinct advantages we offer is parking and security,” said Pierson. “We can guarantee parking spaces to any business that wants to move downtown in our building.”

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