As Downtown supporters yearn for more investment in the core city, they can look to law firms to invest in renovations in the city’s tallest building — the Bank of America Tower.
One major firm, Holland & Knight, is wrapping up a $2.2 million renovation, not including technological upgrades, while Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough is preparing to start a $500,000 build-out that likely will end up higher when furnishings and other interior work is included.
And they’re not the only firms planning to upgrade their space at the 42-story Class A office building, built in 1990 and the newest high-rise Downtown.
Jenny Wilkes, property manager for landlord Hertz Jacksonville One, said at least two more law firms are preparing to file renovation plans there.
“That’s a good sign,” she said. “Keeping tenants in the building is a good thing.”
Law firms are among the most prominent tenants at the tower, accounting for more than a third of its space.
Wilkes said 15 law firms lease a total 225,000 square feet, or 34 percent, of the 660,000-square-foot building.
The Holland & Knight law firm is renovating its three floors, while Nelson Mullins will move from about 10,000 square feet it subleases on the 28th floor to the full 13,700 square feet on the 41st floor, which gives it the highest view in the city.
Nelson Mullins also has the option to expand to the 42nd floor, which features a conference center and the closed Skyline Dining cafe. Wilkes said tenants can use the space for meetings.
Managing Partner Daniel Nunn said previously the firm has 10 lawyers, one associate and four staff positions in Jacksonville. It plans to grow to about 20 lawyers in the next 18 months to two years.
Building plans show at least 13 partner offices, seven associate offices and three paralegal offices as well as conference and break rooms and a club room.
Wilkes said Nelson Mullins should move into its larger offices by Aug. 1, and one of the other firms planning a renovation should complete it by that date, too.
Wilkes said the building is more than 70 percent leased.
Bi-Lo adds to executive leadership
Sharry Cramond, a former Kraft Foods and Tesco executive, will join Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers LLC as executive vice president of marketing and communications. Southeastern Grocers is the parent company of Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie.
Cramond replaces Mary Kellmanson and starts the position May 18 as a member of the executive leadership team. Southeastern Grocers is commonly referred to as Bi-Lo Holdings.
The Shelby Report of the Southeast said Southeastern Grocers President and CEO Ian McLeod made the announcement Wednesday in a company internal memo.
Theshelbyreport.com said the memo stated Cramond’s career began at Kraft Foods as a brand manager before she joined the world’s third-largest retailer, Tesco, for 12 years in the United Kingdom. She then moved to Australia in 2009 to join Coles Supermarkets as senior vice president of marketing communications.
In late 2013, after a brief period as senior vice president of marketing for Coles’ sister company, Target Australia, Cramond returned to the United Kingdom with her family to rejoin Tesco as senior vice president of marketing strategy and brand development.
Most recently, she led the marketing team in Tesco’s biggest market, the United Kingdom, where she was responsible for overall brand positioning and all marketing communications.
The company said in early March that Kellmanson, Bi-Lo Holdings’ senior vice president of marketing, left to pursue other interests. She was one of the company’s longest-serving top executives, having joined Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. in 2008, before Winn-Dixie merged with Bi-Lo in 2012.
Five Below plans at least 3 area stores
The Five Below chain of stores aimed at teens and pre-teens is considering at least three area stores — Argyle Village, South Beach Regional and The Markets at Town Center.
It is hiring for an assistant manager at the Argyle Village store in West Jacksonville, where it is building out an 8,000-square-foot store at 6001 Argyle Forest Blvd. at a cost of $464,642.
It also is hiring for an assistant manager at the South Beach Regional store in Jacksonville Beach. The landlord’s website, equityone.net, shows Five Below will lease 8,880 square feet adjacent to the Ross Store. South Beach Regional is the Home Depot-anchored center at 3740-4194 S. Third St.
Both the Argyle Village and South Regional stores are listed on its fivebelow.com website as “coming soon.”
At The Markets at Town Center, a building-permit application shows the company wants to build out 4,475 square feet of space at 4871 Town Center Parkway.
Five Below Inc. offers products priced at $5 or less in categories such as style, room, sports, tech, crafts, party, candy and “now.”
As of Jan. 31, Five Below operated 366 stores in 21 states across urban, suburban and semi-rural markets in the U.S. Including the Argyle Village and South Regional stores, it has nine Florida locations.
Council takes up rezoning for proposed $30M office park
City Council will consider a rezoning request for almost 15.5 acres in Southside envisioned for a $30 million office development.
The council Land Use & Zoning Committee introduced Ordinance 2015-240 to rezone the land, called the Gate Parkway Professional Center Parcel A Planned Unit Development.
The vacant property is at the southwest corner of the eastern intersection of Gate Parkway and Burnt Mill Road.
Land owner Space Coast Credit Union refiled the rezoning request after an initial filing last fall was approved by the Planning Commission and then appealed by a neighboring homeowners’ association.
Council denied the requested modification on a procedural technicality, and the applicant refiled.
The rezoning is from one Planned Unit Development District to another. Space Coast Credit Union adds a limit of 180,000 square feet of nonresidential space. It also wants to limit the roof structures to 46 feet and the parapet to four feet, for a total 50 feet in height.
Chestnut Hill Investments partners J.J. Conners and J.T. Thornton want to buy and development the land with a pair of three-story, 90,000-square-foot buildings. Conners, principal with Chestnut Hill and Fairlead Commercial Real Estate, said Monday the group intends to buy the site this year, but did not specify a timeframe.
Conners said he could hold both structures for build-to-suit tenants, build one as a speculative office building or do nothing and watch how the market progresses. The property could be held for later development or even sold.
Conners said the $30 million estimate includes the purchase price, construction and tenant improvements to both buildings.
Miami-based Space Coast Credit Union took title to the land in March 2014. Property records show it had been owned by a group based in Miami Beach and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Conners said the Gate Parkway and Butler Boulevard area was a strong office market. He said Class A office space in the Butler and Baymeadows area market is about 93-95 percent occupied with little new development to meet demand.
Johnson & Johnson wants to add utility plant
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., busy with plans for a Phase 7 expansion and solvent tank farm, also plans a central utility plant at its Deerwood Park campus in Southside.
Known also as Vistakon, the company filed plans with the city and the St. Johns River Water Management District for the 9,600-square-foot building addition at 7500 Centurion Parkway.
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care employs about 2,000 full-time, part-time and temporary workers at the campus to make Acuvue disposable contact lenses at the 69-acre campus.
The utility plant boosts the company’s total enclosed area to almost 880,600 square feet of manufacturing, distribution, office and research and distribution space.
England, Thims & Miller Inc. is the project’s civil engineer.