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Jax Daily Record Friday, Jul. 26, 201312:00 PM EST

Regus plans Downtown Jacksonville business center in Bank of America Tower

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Regus, the global provider of flexible office work spaces with more than 1,500 locations in 600 cities in 100 countries, plans a Downtown Jacksonville center in the Bank of America Tower.

Regus, founded in 1989 and based in Luxembourg, already operates five centers in the Jacksonville area, according to its website, regus.com.

The centers provide office space on flexible terms. Clients can lease offices for short periods, meeting space, executive suites as well as use the service as a "virtual" office for the purpose of an address, such as for home-based businesses or businesses that don't need a brick-and-mortar location.

Regus's lease on the 25th floor of the tower, at 50 N. Laura St., would be the company's sixth center and the second Downtown. Its first Downtown center is on the 12th floor of the Aetna Building on the Downtown Southbank.

The Regus site says the other four Regus centers are in Ponte Vedra Beach, Deerwood Park and two Office Suites Plus centers in Southpoint and the St. Johns Town Center area.

The City is reviewing plans for tenant renovations of 12,551 square feet of space for Regus in the 42-story tower at 50 N. Laura St.

Adams Interior Contractors Inc. is shown as the contractor for the $580,000 project.

Spokesman Grant Greenberg said Thursday the new Downtown Regus center tentatively is scheduled to open in late October.

He said the center would offer about 75 offices, depending on demand and size requests. "We can customize to meet needs," Greenberg said.

"Packages include office rental by hour, day, month or year," he said. Pre-selling is underway.

Greenburg said clients also can rent meeting rooms for an hour. For information about services, visit regus.com.

Greenberg said the center will be operated with three staff members and that the opening will bring the Regus employment to 18 in the area.

Plans also show a boardroom, a refresh bar and other amenities for customers leasing space.

Regus Business Centers offer offices; meeting, board and training rooms; video communications, products and meeting facilities; business lounges; IT, telecommunications and free Wi-Fi; business services such as administrative support and equipment.

The Downtown Northbank has been attracting such businesses.

Jacksonville-based Executive Suite Professionals recently opened nearby on the 14th floor of EverBank Center, at 301 W. Bay St.

Lisa Gufford, a co-founder of Executive Suite Professionals, said the business opened 21/2 weeks ago and is 20 percent leased.

She said its first phase comprises 50 offices. She also offers three meeting rooms, a reception area, a client lounge and some break-out areas with windows that provide views of Downtown.

She said the second phase will offer another 50 suites, totaling 100. The company has about 32,000 square feet of space.

EverBank Center is near the Duval County Courthouse, which Gufford said is convenient for clients who do business there.

She said her clients include attorneys, contractors, court reporters, financial advisers, CPAs and others.

Gufford said most of the agreements are for a year or more, but she will build a package to meet the client's needs.

"Most clients will sign for six months to a year to two years, and that is standard for the industry," Gufford said, emphasizing she offers all-inclusive packages.

Gufford said she has been in the area for 32 years and in the industry since 1999. "I've always wanted to be in Downtown Jacksonville," she said.

"I'm local, and this is my town," she said.

Gufford said the need exists for the services.

"There is definitely a market Downtown," she said.

Greenberg said Regus centers provide entrepreneurs, small businesses and large corporations flexible workspace, short-term leases, virtual offices and professional co-working business lounges.

He said Regus caters to national and international businesses "in a way they can enter the Jacksonville market at a low cost."

"Currently there is high demand in Jacksonville to support additional centers. We are always looking for more areas to support the demand of our current and future customers," he said.

"Business owners are looking for more flexible options, without the long-term commitment as more and more people telecommute and look to improve work-life balance," he said.

Microsoft confirms Town Center retail store

Microsoft Corp. spokeswoman Leigh Jendrusina sent an email Thursday in response to questions the past several months about the technology company's plans that had been filed for a retail store at the St. Johns Town Center.

"I can now confirm for you that a Microsoft retail store will be coming soon to St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville, FL.," she said in the email.

Jendrusina said she would soon provide more information about the store and the opening date.

The microsoft.com site has added the Jacksonville store to its location list and refers to it as "coming soon."

The store will open at 4791 River City Drive. Its hours will be 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, according to the site.

Jendrusina said more information about the Microsoft stores is available on Facebook, Twitter and microsoft.com.

Microsoft's Jacksonville plans have been reported since April, but the company did not confirm them until Thursday.

The Microsoft plans filed with the City show a theater, Xbox area, Skinit room and more. The stores sell computers, software, games, music, tablets and mobile phones. The site lists product selection as "a curated assortment of products" including desktops, laptops, tablets and all-in-one PCs running Windows 8; Xbox 360 consoles and accessories, including Kinect for Xbox 360; Windows Phones; Microsoft Office; and personalization options and accessories.

The St. Johns Town Center store isn't far from the Apple store.

[email protected]

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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