3 restaurants and a coffee shop seeking money from Downtown program

A restaurant is proposed for the first floor of the former New York Steam Laundry Building at 120 W. Forsyth St. The developer applied for a $100,000 loan, which may be converted into a forgivable grant from the city for the project. See details on Pa...
A restaurant is proposed for the first floor of the former New York Steam Laundry Building at 120 W. Forsyth St. The developer applied for a $100,000 loan, which may be converted into a forgivable grant from the city for the project. See details on Pa...
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Two sandwich chains, a full-service restaurant and a coffee shop are the projects that will be considered for financial assistance from the Downtown Investment Authority Retail Enhancement Program Committee.

The authority earmarked $750,000 for the program designed to create momentum in recruiting and retaining restaurant and retail businesses in the Northbank core, south of Church Street between Julia and Market streets.

The four applications, totaling $173,000, will be discussed Jan. 7.

The applications were evaluated by DIA staff on the basis of business plan, job creation and expansion of property and sales tax base. All four applications received at least the minimum of 25 points on a 45-point scale and are recommended to be sent to the authority’s full board for approval and grant awards.

Grants may be used to pay a portion of the cost of renovating or preparing commercial space in older buildings for a tenant. Projects must have a budget of more than $10,000 to qualify for a grant. Applicants may receive up to $20 per square foot leased or occupied, but the grant may not exceed 50 percent of the cost of renovation.

Recipients are required to create a minimum of two full-time equivalent jobs and remain in business at the location for at least five years.

Funds may be given as a loan or a grant, secured with a lien on the property if the applicant is an owner or with a personal guarantee from a tenant. At the end of each year during the five-year term of the agreement, 20 percent of the loan or grant will be forgiven.

Here are the projects:


Jersey Mike’s Subs

76 S. Laura St.

Seeking $28,000 grant for 1,400-sqaure-foot restaurant

Score: 25 points

Formative Foods Inc. is building out the ground floor space on the northeast corner of the ground floor of SunTrust Tower for a Jersey Mike’s Subs location.

The company currently operates five Little Caesars Pizza restaurants in Jacksonville and plans to open three Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurants in 2015. The Laura Street location will employ five-12 full- and part-time workers.

The project’s total investment is listed in the application at $149,000 with completion of the restaurant planned for second quarter 2015.


Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches

207 N. Laura St.

Seeking $28,000 grant for 1,435-square-foot restaurant

Score: 38 points

Shotgun Subs VII LLC is renovating space on the ground floor of the historic Elks Building along Laura Street for its fifth Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches restaurant in the area.

The franchisees have opened a new store each year since the first Jimmy John’s opened in Jacksonville in 2010 in San Marco. Owners indicate the stores average $1.2 million in annual sales, 50 percent above the national store average for the brand.

The restaurant will employee 23 people in full- and part-time positions and will be open Monday-Saturday and Sundays during Downtown events.

Total investment for the project is listed as $442,601. Completion is planned in first quarter 2015.


New York Steam Laundry Building

120 E. Forsyth St.

Seeking $100,000 loan for 5,500-square-foot restaurant

Score: 37 points (45 maximum)

LB Jax Development LLC owns the two-story building along Forsyth Street near the Florida Theatre. Interior demolition is complete to make way for a 5,500-square-foot restaurant on the ground floor and office or retail space on the second floor.

The developer has applied for a $100,000 loan to defray a portion of the cost of converting the ground floor space into a restaurant and proposes the loan become a forgivable grant after the restaurant is leased to an operator. The budget for the entire project, including $450,000 to purchase the building, is listed at $1.95 million.

According to the application, the restaurant would employ 48 people in full- and part-time positions and would be open Monday-Friday and on weekends during Downtown events.


Urban Grind Coffee Co.

45 W. Bay St.

Seeking $17,000 grant 850-square-foot restaurant

Score: 29 points

Craig and Stacey Goldberg, owners for the past four years of Urban Grind Coffee Co. at Bank of America Tower, are opening a second location at 45 W. Bay St.

The space includes 600 square feet on the ground floor with 250 square feet of loft space for storage and food prep and an additional 400 square-feet of atrium seating. The menu is built around espresso-based drinks made with locally-roasted coffee, pastries, salads and sandwiches.

Coffee beans will be offered for retail sale.

The restaurant will employ 3-4 full- and part-time workers and is scheduled to open in January. Total investment listed on the application is $173,000.

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(904) 356-2466