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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Sep. 8, 202004:00 PM EST

MBRC approves Armory Building redevelopment agreement

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REVA Development plans to convert the structure into a cultural arts facility with a neighboring apartment building.
by: Katie Garwood Staff Writer

The Mayor’s Budget Review Committee on Sept. 8 approved a request to authorize the execution of a lease and economic development agreement for the conversion of the city-owned Armory Building into a cultural arts facility. 

Don Patterson

The agreement is between the city and Fort Lauderdale-based REVA Development Corp., led by Don Patterson. REVA Development will lease the Armory Building and purchase an adjacent 3-acre site. 

The committee approved the agreement 7-0.

The 80,826-square-foot former Florida National Guard armory is on 2.02 acres on the edge of Downtown at 815 N. Market St. The adjacent 2.97-acre site at 928 N. Liberty St. with a 21,594-square-foot warehouse is included in the agreement. The Armory Building, constructed in 1908, has been vacant for more than a decade.

REVA will redevelop the Armory Building into “Made at the Armory,” a mixed-use facility focused on the arts. It will include event space, art studios, performance space and art galleries along with retail and restaurant space. 

REVA Development plans to develop the Armory Building as a cultural arts facility and the adjacent property as apartments.

REVA will purchase the adjacent site for $864,800. It plans to demolish the warehouse to construct a $20 million, 100-unit mid-rise apartment building called The Armory Flats.

Kirk Wendland, executive director of the city Office of Economic Development, said REVA Development would sign a 40-year lease with the city for $1 a year. It would have two 20-year renewal options. 

REVA is required to make a $3 million initial investment in the property, Wendland said. It also must maintain “minimum levels of maintenance” on the building. The city could terminate the lease if the building is not maintained or if activity at the property is not sufficient. 

The developer would have the option to purchase the building after the lease begins. The exact terms of the agreement were not immediately available. 

REVA’s proposal for the project said it would “help transform the neighborhood and community for greater economic development, live/work housing, retail, restaurant, arts, and entertainment.”

“I think this agreement reflects some lessons learned from past long term leases across a few decades recently,” said Brian Hughes, Mayor Lenny Curry’s chief administrative officer.

“It has some attractive components for the developer. It ties them to a series of benchmarks and timelines that I think are pretty strict and well-balanced,” Hughes said.

REVA Development’s bid was selected by the Competitive Sealed Proposal Committee in September 2019. 

Phoenix Products expansion grant

The committee also unanimously approved a $100,000 grant from the Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development fund for Phoenix Products to expand its facilities at 1727 Bennett St. near Talleyrand. 

The company manufactures custom generator enclosures, fuel tanks and fueling systems. Phoenix Products wants to acquire an adjacent parcel at 1544 E. Eighth St. to expand its operations. 

The company plans to demolish the vacant building on the adjacent parcel to construct an administrative building. It would then reconfigure its existing site to expand its manufacturing operations and add 12-15 employees. 

Wendland said the project cost is estimated at $2.1 million. Of that, $420,000 would go toward infrastructure improvements. 

The $100,000 grant will not be disbursed until the project is completed.

The Armory redevelopment and Phoenix Products grant next move to City Council.

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