Creating building 'unlike any' Downtown

  • Columnists
  • Share

Formerly known as The Jacksonville Bank building, the 54-year-old office structure at 100 N. Laura St. Downtown is under renovation and rebranding.

A brochure states “100 North Laura, The Future Is Now.”

New anchor tenants are in discussion, owners of Black Sheep Restaurant are preparing to open a new concept there and the building is being renovated inside and out.

“The whole point is to create a modern building that is unlike any building Downtown,” said Matthew Clark, vice president of Prime Realty Services, representing owners Eddie and Chuck Farah.

The Farahs bought the 10-story, 144,079-square-foot building in 2011 through 100 N. Laura Street L.L.C. for $3.5 million.

Not counting the restaurant or the bank branch, lobby and exterior improvements are estimated at $1.5 million.

Exterior improvements include new awnings, painting and new entrances, as well as signage for the structure and major tenants.

Clark said an LED uplighting system is planned that could highlight the building in the colors of the anchor tenant or to reflect holidays and special events.

Lobby improvements include a redesign, upgraded ceilings and lighting, new flooring, TVs to provide news and information, a new security system at the front entrance, new elevators and tenant-accessible bathrooms with showers.

A $130,000 low-interest city loan was approved by the Downtown Investment Authority toward waterproofing and other work. The loan will be issued once renovations are completed.

The building is 60 percent occupied, Clark said. The third, fourth, fifth and ninth floors are available.

Clark said he is working with a bank, a “collaborative” anchor and a tech company, but declined to identify them.

“We want it to have a collaborative, modern, boutique-hotel type feeling,” Clark said.

Renderings show lobby areas where people can meet.

“A lot of times you walk into lobbies and there is a lot of dead space. We want people to feel a sense of community,” he said.

For now, the building is being rebranded as 100 North Laura. He said he was working on signage and with a couple of prospective full-floor tenants who are looking at naming rights for the building.

One anchor could be a bank. The current anchor, The Jacksonville Bank, was bought by Ameris Bancorp. It leased 23,000 square feet in the building.

The corner lobby office at Laura and Forsyth streets is closing over the weekend to transition to Ameris.

However, Clark said Ameris will leave the building about September as it continues to establish its executive offices in Riverplace Tower on the Southbank.

Ameris Bank President and COO Andy Cheney said the bank is building out a branch office at the Southbank Riverplace Tower and also is evaluating space on the Northbank for a branch.

He said the Ameris lease at 100 N. Laura St. runs out in September.

Clark said he is negotiating with a bank to take the 3,200-square-foot ground-floor branch office space and about 5,000 square feet on half of the 10th floor.

He said an unidentified company is looking for 14,000 to 16,000 square feet on potentially more than one floor and another prospective tenant is considering the 14,000-square-foot ninth floor.

Clark said a tech company new to Northeast Florida is looking at the ninth floor.

The larger space fits the parameters of CoWork Jax, although neither Clark nor CoWork Jax confirmed the possibility.

CoWork Jax said in April it wants to double or triple its space by finding up to 20,000 square feet near its offices at Main and Forsyth streets.

That matches Clark’s comment that one of the prospective tenant’s uses is “conducive to where we feel the brand of the building is going.”

Asked whether CoWork Jax was interested, Clark said he knew CoWork was looking at several opportunities Downtown but that he could not disclose whether 100 North Laura as a potential site.

He said he would like to have a tenant “like CoWork” in the building.

Mac Mitchell at CoWork Jax said the group is “seeking out a number of possible new locations, all within a few blocks of where we are now.”

He said no agreements have been signed with any properties and did not confirm whether it was considering 100 North Laura, which is a block away.

On the ground floor, about 5,000 square feet of space will be renovated for the owners of Black Sheep Restaurant in Riverside. They want to open a new concept.

Clark said the former restaurant space has been demolished and the storefront is being moved back 10 feet to allow for a larger outdoor patio area. When completed, the space will be available for build-out.

The DIA approved a $102,000 retail enhancement grant for the restaurant.

Jonathan Insetta, a partner in Black Sheep, said plans are going well, but there is no timeframe yet for opening. A name is being debated.

He said the fast-casual concept will include a full bar. It will be open for lunch and weekend dinners and also will offer private dining, delivery and catering.

“We want to diversify ourselves,” Insetta said.

The new location will be similar to Black Sheep, “but it won’t be the same restaurant.”

The building also will add a dedicated entrance on Laura Street for the Anytime Fitness gym on the second floor.

For now, the city is reviewing plans for Tenant Contractors Inc. to renovate the 3,000-square-foot lobby and entry canopies at a construction cost of $996,679.

Content Architecture & Interiors is the architect.

Those plans show mechanical, plumbing and lobby renovations at the building, but does not include the restaurant or bank space.

“Now that the lobby is being done and we announced Black Sheep, we’ve gotten a lot of activity,” Clark said.

“We’ve got a lot of eyes on the building right now.”

[email protected]


(904) 356-2466



Special Offer: $5 for 2 Months!

Your free article limit has been reached this month.
Subscribe now for unlimited digital access to our award-winning business news.