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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Jan. 28, 201512:00 PM EST

Unity Plaza close to announcing 'six-figure' sponsor


Jacksonville Unity Plaza Inc. expects to announce a “six-figure donor” next week that would sponsor its classroom and corporate center.

A commitment by the expected $100,000 sponsor launches the nonprofit’s naming-rights news at the Brooklyn area amphitheater and public park that is next to the 220 Riverside residential and retail project.

Unity Plaza Executive Director Jennifer Jones said Tuesday the sponsor, a Brooklyn-area company, and the plaza would both issue news releases. She declined to identify the company.

Jones said another large donor for another opportunity is confirmed, which she described as a “benevolent steward of the community.” The sponsor’s name could be attached to a park element that would be completed in the fall. Some of that donor’s funds would be directed toward operations.

She would not say how much that sponsorship would be.

Jones was the keynote presenter Tuesday to the International Council of Shopping Centers North Florida Idea Exchange at the Aloft Hotel in Tapestry Park. Program Planning Chair Leed Silverfield said almost 300 people attended the event.

Unity Plaza was formed by Hallmark Partners, the developer of 220 Riverside, a seven-story, 294-unit apartment project and 18,000 square feet of retail space in the Brooklyn area, which connects Downtown and Riverside.

The first 140 apartments should be available for tenants in March or April. The second phase of 69 units should be ready in May-June and the third phase of 85 units should be online in July or August.

A Unity Plaza marketing brochure outlines almost 80 10-year naming opportunities from $3,000 to $575,000; about 50 three-year opportunities from $700 to $50,000; and a one-year naming opportunity for a Wi-Fi sponsor at $25,000.

The $575,000 sponsorship is for the tensile sailcloth structure stage and plaza band shell. The other six-figure rights, from $100,000 to $350,000, include decks atop the pond, the living garden, the steel frame for a lotus garden flower sculpture, a site asset storage compartment and a rigging structure with lighting, sound and AV equipment inside the band shell.

Among Jones’ other comments:

• The first big-name performer at the park could be the caliber of Sheryl Crow, John Legend and Adele — or possibly one of the three. She could not say when the performance would take place. However, she did say the park would be used daily, weekly and monthly for wellness, community engagement and education, and performing arts events. She said 48 festivals were planned already this year. The first scheduled event is “Community Stewardship Day” on Feb. 7 featuring Orender Unlimited’s Gen WOW. Also, she said the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra has chosen Unity Plaza as one of its outdoor concert venues.

• Unity Plaza is working with Jacksonville University’s Glass Blowing Institute for development of a 65-foot-tall blown-glass and steel lotus-flower fountain in a regional retention pond that was remodeled and cleaned as a central water feature. She said the fountain will be the equivalent of five stories tall. It can be delivered in the next two years.

• An acre of green space could be donated to Unity Plaza to use for festivals and open-air activities. That space along with the amphitheater and botanical garden also are available for rent, she said.

The park’s website is

Retail notes

Retailers and developers throughout the morning Tuesday presented other market insights. Among them:

• Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, a national chain, has an “imminent” lease for a 30,000-square-foot store in the Regency area, according to real estate director Jeff Powers. He declined to identify the site, but said the store should open this year. Regency Square Mall manager Jim Kramer said the store wasn’t planning to open there.

• The Pink Nickel women’s clothing boutique will open at Brooklyn Station on Riverside at the west end of the Fresh Market-anchored center along Riverside Avenue.

• Stephen Atkins, principal and managing director of Southeast Group, told the retail brokers and developers that he was working with the city on legislation for a development agreement that he hopes to announce in two weeks about the Laura Street Trio and Barnett Bank Building Downtown. He said once financed, it would take 20 months to complete the Trio and 12-14 months for the Barnett Building, and he wanted to mobilize both in the same timeframe. Downtown Investment Authority CEO Aundra Wallace told the Daily Record Tuesday night no legislation was pending and talks with Atkins on a deal were ongoing.

• Intuition Ale Works founder Ben Davis said the venture’s new brewery and taproom in the former Noland Co. building at 929 E. Bay St., in the city’s sports complex area, should be up and running by mid-October.

• Sola Salon Studios, which develops salons with individual studios for rent, wants to add a few more area locations in addition to the two announced in Atlantic Beach and Mandarin.

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