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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Sep. 15, 202012:00 PM EST

VyStar could buy Regions Bank parking lot to expand Downtown parking garage  

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The deal would expand the credit union’s proposed structure to 798 spaces and include nearly 12,600 square feet of retail. 
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

VyStar Credit Union could expand its proposed Downtown parking garage by acquiring a neighboring Regions Bank parking lot.

VyStar Email Marketing Manager Christina Weber said via email Sept. 15 that the credit union entered into a contract with Regions and is doing due diligence on the 0.26-acre lot at 54 W. Forsyth St.

The Regions lot space would be used to expand VyStar’s planned 550-space parking structure to 798 spaces and 293,929 square feet, according to Weber.

Regions and VyStar employees will use the garage and Weber said 250 spaces will be leased to the city.

Plans for the garage expansion include about 12,600 square feet of ground-floor retail.

“We are actively working on identifying the right tenants for this space and for (Downtown Jacksonville),” Weber said.

VyStar is under contract to buy this lot at 54 W. Forsyth St. (Google)

The garage will support the 1,000 employees VyStar is relocating to its headquarters campus Downtown.

It bought the 23-story VyStar Tower at 76 S. Laura St. in July 2018 for $59 million. It acquired an adjacent parking garage and is renovating a seven-story building next door at 100 W. Bay St. 

Cyndy Trimmer, a Regions attorney and a partner with Driver McAfee Hawthorne & Diebenow, said during a Sept. 10 Downtown Development Review Board meeting that the bank was in talks with VyStar to sell the lot.

Regions submitted designs for proposed rooftop and projecting signs at its 51 W. Bay St. Downtown headquarters to the DDRB for review.

Trimmer said Regions will lose its exterior wall signage facing the parking lot if the deal with VyStar goes through. 

City Council unanimously approved an agreement Feb. 25 to sell the adjacent 0.77-acre city-owned lot to VyStar for the parking garage. The credit union has not closed on that property, according to Duval County Clerk of Court records.

The city agreed to sell its parcel for $943,403. Regions bought its parking lot for $462,000 in April 2014, property records show.

The proposed Main and Forsyth parking structure was part of Barnett Tower LLC’s lease agreement with the city before the Downtown Investment Authority board voted in September 2019 to terminate the garage portion of the Barnett contract.

The developer of the historic Barnett National Bank Building and the companion Laura Street Trio project missed its deadline to complete the garage and is renegotiating its agreement with the DIA.

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