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Jax Daily Record Friday, Sep. 13, 201905:20 AM EST

JEA wants to learn ‘best use’ for its property

Utility says the request for proposals is not directly related to its privatization efforts.
by: Mike Mendenhall Associate Editor

In an effort to shed surplus properties, JEA officials want to hire an outside professional real estate firm to determine the “best use” of the public utility’s property holdings.

JEA released a request for proposals for professional real estate, land planning and civil engineering firms to implement best use plans for all JEA-owned property in Duval, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties.

Online documents published by JEA’s procurement department state any firm awarded a contract could also be responsible for an evaluation and assessment of JEA properties, creation of development alternatives and marketing support information.

JEA media relations manager Gina Kyle said Thursday the move is not related directly to the public utility’s recent push to explore privatization. 

Kyle said the need for outside real estate services is an expansion of a program JEA outlined in March to liquidate “non-core” assets.

At the utility’s March 26 board meeting, JEA Vice President and Chief of Energy and Water Planning Steve McInall identified four properties JEA could sell with an estimated combined market value of $40 million to $65 million. 

• 9201 Atlantic Blvd.  The former Coggin Pontiac auto dealership; 5.088 acres; estimated sales price $5 million to $7.8 million.

The July, Grunthal & Schueth Properties Inc. bid $3.21 million for the property.

• 13601 Normandy Blvd. Electric substation, electric transmission corridor, water treatment plant, wells and interconnecting piping at Cecil Commerce Center; 305 acres; estimated sales price $4 million to $6.5 million.

• 21 W. Church St., 421 Laura St. and 21 E. Church St. JEA’s existing Downtown headquarters; 3.26 acres; estimated sales price $20 million to $35.1 million

• 4215 Talleyrand Ave.  The site of two combustion turbine generators and two substations; 48 acres; estimated sales price $11 million to $16.5 million.

In addition to the sale price, JEA officials estimate the utility can save $1 million per year in operating and maintenance expenses at each of the properties if sold.

Officials plan to use the proceeds from the sales to offset the costs of JEA’s new proposed Downtown headquarters. The Downtown Investment Authority voted Aug. 21 to grant Ryan Companies US Inc. development rights for the $72.2 million JEA headquarters at 325 W. Adams St.

JEA procurement documents state the firm must also be able to provide environmental resource permitting services and coordinate with government regulators, funding sources, the general public and other stakeholders on the results of the property analysis on behalf of the utility.  

The firm would communicate the results of: 

• Hydrologic and hydraulic analysis and design studies

• Feasibility and due diligence studies 

• Traffic and transportation studies 

• Financial planning 

• Civil infrastructure forensic analysis 

• Drainage studies 

• Master planning 

• Grant procurement and grant administration services

The bids for real estate services are due by noon Oct. 1 and will be announced at 2 p.m.

JEA Privatization

JEA’s proposed property liquidation comes as it seeks private companies and organizations interested in buying some or all of Jacksonville’s public utility.

JEA released Aug. 2 an invitation to negotiate with stipulations including a promise to give $400 million in rebates to JEA customers, at least $3 billion to the city and protection of employee jobs, pension and retirement benefits.

The new Downtown headquarters could move forward if the JEA board, City Council and Duval County voters approve privatization or a recapitalization of the utility.

Mayor Lenny Curry has proposed using proceeds of the utility’s sale to pay off the city’s $2.2 billion debt.

JEA asked interested and qualified parties to submit their proposals by noon Sept. 30.

Utility officials expect to begin negotiations with a company or organization by Oct. 15.

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