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Jax Daily Record Friday, Feb. 2, 201805:18 AM EST

Hyatt Regency Jacksonville still working on renovations

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Pending permit shows the Downtown hotel is adding grab-and-go market along with restaurant private dining.

Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront guests still don’t know when the first-floor lobby and restaurant will reopen, but a pending permit shows a significant renovation to the ground-level food options.

Just as previous plans indicated before hurricane flooding and a sale, the Downtown hotel intends to add a grab-and-go market on the side of the restaurant nearest the elevators and registration desk.

Architect Jonathan Nehmer + Associates Inc. designed the project, shown as a $500,000 renovation of the first-floor restaurant and market.

The 5,600-square-foot project is called Phase 3 of renovations to the hotel, which was affected by flooding by Hurricane Irma in September and a sale of the property in August.

Plans also show seating and a lounge area on one side of the grab-and-go section and a new private dining area in the center.

A spokesman said he would provide details when they are available.

The 19-floor, 951-room property at 225 Coastline Drive E. is owned by MCSW JAC Hospitality LLC, in care of Westmont Hospitality Group of Houston.

The jacksonville.regency.hyatt.com site says the front drive and lobby level are closed to arriving guests. It directs arriving guests to use the Newnan Street entrance and take the elevators to the second level for registration. 

The gift and accessories shop remains open on the ground floor, but temporary walls block the entrance to the lobby area.

Restaurant, lounge and guest services also are on the second floor, the site says. The food service on Thursday was moved to the 17th floor Regency Club as the second floor was filled with attendees at the 13th Annual Academic Surgical Congress.

Access to escalators from the second floor to the lobby remained blocked off and covered, although it appeared that new tiles were installed on the floor below. That was reinforced by a sign on a first-floor door: “Do Not Enter … Wet Tile Inside.”

Coastline Drive remains closed to traffic as the city reconstructs it and the Liberty Street Bridge. The city said pile installation starts the first week of February in front of the Hyatt. Full completion is expected in February 2019.

Almost a year ago, the Hyatt submitted plans to the city for a grab-and-go food market and coffee area in 4,000 square feet of space. The work included upgrades to the buffet and kitchen, but didn’t take place.

Just as it is in the newest plans, those designs located the work for the market near the elevators.

A spokesman in March didn’t share details. That project was valued at $624,292. Nehmer, of Rockville, Maryland, was the architect.

The additions are similar to what is available at other Hyatt Regency hotels.

The Hyatt Regency Minneapolis features a market that offers a seasonal, deli-style concept along with snacks and beverages, including Starbucks coffee. 

That lobby-level market is open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily and food prices are listed at $10 and below. It offers breakfast and all-day food choices and snacks.

The Grand Hyatt New York announced its “innovative grab-and-go restaurant concept” in April 2010, calling it a reinvention of room service.

While the hotel continued to offer traditional room service, the market provided food choices to travelers and visitors.

The Jacksonville hotel was built in 2001 as the Adams Mark and was sold in 2005 for $67 million to become the Hyatt.

It underwent extensive renovations in 2015 to add more meeting rooms and upgrade the lounges and amenities.

The hotel was sold Aug. 31 for almost $110 million, 10 days before floodwaters from Hurricane Irma shut the hotel as the ground floor sustained heavy damage.

It was sold by Jacksonville Hotel 2014 Purchaser LLC to MCSW JAC Hospitality LLC. The seller is a subsidiary of New York-based Fortress Investment Group, which bought the hotel for $53 million in a foreclosure action in 2014.

MCSW shares an address with the privately held Westmont Hospitality Group, which has an ownership interest in more than 500 hotels worldwide.

The property sale included the former Daniel Building, which is used as meeting rooms and has a  parking garage.

The hotel continues to be managed by Hyatt.

Morton’s The Steakhouse, which opened on the eastern corner of the first floor in June, closed after Irma and reopened in October.

Whit’s Frozen Custard to add Bayard location

Whit’s Frozen Custard is building-out at the Shoppes of Bayard at 12525 Philips Highway. A pending permit shows a construction cost of $50,000 for the 1,500-square-foot project in an end unit at the shopping center. Doherty Sommers Architects Engineers Inc. is the architect. Whit’s has shops in Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Avondale and Mandarin.

Bistro Aix restaurant to reopen Thursday

Bistro Aix restaurant in San Marco will reopen Thursday, nearly five months after it closed because of damage from Hurricane Irma.

Bistro Aix, at 1440 San Marco Blvd., is co-owned by Jacques Klempf and Fraser Burns.

“Ever since Hurricane Irma passed, we have been working hard to get Bistro Aix ready for service again. We are eager to welcome back our valued guests, neighbors and friends next week,” Klempf said in a news release.

“The support we have received from the Jacksonville community over the past several months has been nothing short of incredible,” Burns said. 

“We extend our deepest gratitude to our design team, construction partners and Bistro Aix team members for their dedication,” he said.

Danis Builders LLC led the restoration effort and Design Cooperative was the designer.

Changes include a lighter color palette in the floors, curtains and subway tile in the open kitchen. Recovered chairs and tables were sanded to reveal a lighter finish.

For more information, visit BistroX.com.

Bistro Aix is part of Forking Amazing Restaurants, which also operates Cowford Chophouse.

North Florida Land Trust names exec team for board

North Florida Land Trust named a new executive team for its board of directors.

 Keith Holt is board chair, Ellen Williams is vice chair, Patrick Carney is treasurer and Trey Mills is secretary.

They each will serve a one-year term.

“Each of these members brings an essential asset to our board that will help to guide us to make the very best decisions for our mission and the environment,” said North Florida Land Trust President Jim McCarthy.

“I look forward to working alongside them in their leadership roles as we continue to focus on preserving environmentally sensitive lands throughout North Florida,” he said.

Holt joined the board in 2015. He serves as a principal at Heritage Assets.

 Williams has been a member of the board since 2016 and is senior director of behavioral health at St. Vincent’s HealthCare. 

Carney joined the board in March. He is director of capital planning with CSX.

Mills joined the board in 2013. He is a shareholder with Rogers Towers, where his practice is focused on environmental and land use law. 

The North Florida Land Trust supports environmental protection primarily in Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Union and Volusia counties. 

For more information, visitnorthfloridalandtrust.org.

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