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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Dec. 2, 202105:00 AM EST

TEA moving from one riverbank to another

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The firm that provides services for public power companies, including JEA, will lease at Riverplace Tower.

TEA is moving across the river from the Northbank TIAA Bank Center to the Southbank Riverplace Tower.

Susan Boggs, vice president of administration and chief people officer, said Nov. 30 that the Jacksonville-based public power services firm hopes to relocate by summer 2022.

TEA employs 170 people in Jacksonville and 50 near Seattle.

The Energy Authority, which calls itself TEA, provides services for public power companies. JEA, Jacksonville’s public utility, is a founding member and one of its seven owners.

JEA CEO Jay Stowe serves on its board.

TEA, which is a nonprofit, says it partners with utilities to provide technology systems and other resources. It offers portfolio management, energy trading, analytics and advisory services.

It has more than 60 public-power clients.

“As a national portfolio management company, we evaluate challenges, manage risks and execute solutions to help our clients maximize the value of their assets and meet their goals in a cost effective manner,” TEA says.

Its clients use natural gas, coal, wind, hydro, nuclear, biomass, fuel oil, petroleum coke and landfill gas.

Boggs said TEA’s lease is expiring at 301 W. Bay St. after 14 years there and the company will move to take advantage of better lease terms. 

TEA is on the 26th floor at TIAA Bank Center, according to its website and state corporate records.

Boggs said TEA will occupy 2½ floors at Riverplace Tower.

A building-permit application shows that TEA will move to part of the 25th floor and the full 26th and 27th floors at Riverplace Tower at 1301 Riverplace Blvd. along the St. Johns River.

That takes it to the top floor, previously used by anchor tenant Ameris Bank. Ameris moved its headquarters from Jacksonville to Atlanta in 2019 and downsized to one floor in the 28-story Riverplace Tower.

The 27th floor is the top office space, which Ameris occupied after renovating the former private University Club, which closed five years ago.

The 28th floor is a partial space formerly used as a club athletic facility.

Boggs said the leased space remains similar in size to TEA’s current space at about 31,000 square feet, while the new offices will be configured to better support how TEA’s employees work now.

“We will incorporate more collaborative workspaces into our office design and utilize technology to support virtual meetings as well,” she said.

“We have learned so much from working remotely and will leverage it to our advantage. We value our time together and know that as a company we are even ‘better together.’” 

Boggs said each employee adds value and TEA wants to make sure it has an office that supports its culture.

“It is important for us to have a dedicated seat for everyone so that coming to the office is easy. We didn’t want them to have to worry about reserving a seat in the office or ‘hotel,’” Bogg said.

Hoteling is the practice of workers scheduling office use for desks, cubicles and offices rather than having assigned seats.

Boggs said many but not all TEA employees have returned to the office since deploying to work from home in March 2020. That is when the pandemic resulted in shutdowns.

“Our ultimate goal is to leverage what we’ve learned,” she said.

“It is important to have personal space and meeting space to talk through ideas as well as pull up your spreadsheet and collaborate.”

The city is reviewing a permit application for Adams Interior Contractors Inc. to renovate the Riverplace Tower space at a cost of $330,341. 

Boggs said TEA originally moved to TIAA Bank Center because of the large floor plan of about 31,000 square feet.

Boggs said TEA, founded in 1997, previously was in what is now VyStar Tower before relocating to TIAA Bank Center.

Riverplace Tower keeps TEA Downtown.

“It was important for us to look at all our options,” Boggs said. TEA evaluated office spaces across the city but chose to remain Downtown.

“It was important for us to stay in the Downtown core area to support Downtown growth,” she said.

Downtown is convenient to the airport and Interstate 95, she said.

JEA is based Downtown, where it is moving from the City Hall area to a headquarters under construction near the Duval County Courthouse.

JLL Managing Directors Michael Loftin and Jesse Shimp represent Riverplace Tower. 

Riverplace Tower, whose owner says is under a pending sale to a buyer, is more than 90% occupied. 

The BDO tax, assurance and financial advisory services office also is moving from the north side of the St. Johns River into Riverplace Tower. It will lease the ninth floor in a move from the Brooklyn area.

NAI Hallmark Partners is marketing TEA’s 26th-floor space for lease at TIAA Bank Center.

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