By Karen Brune Mathis, [email protected]
The decision to close the University Club of Jacksonville left a question of what to do with the space that offers stunning panoramic views of Downtown, San Marco and beyond.
Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners said it will convert the top two floors of the 28-story Riverplace Tower into about 22,500 square feet of premier office space.
The tower is about 80 percent leased, with tenants including Ameris Bank (whose name is on top of the building), Adecco Group North America, Macquarie Group, Gatlin Development Co. and the Rogers Towers law firm.
The club is closing Dec. 20.
The tower at 1301 Riverplace Blvd. has little full-floor availability. Other than the club, just one full floor remains available for lease — the sixth floor, with 17,500 square feet.
“It’s going to be very unique space,” said leasing agent Kaycee Gardner, senior vice president with JLL, which handles the building’s leasing and marketing on behalf of Lingerfelt CommonWealth.
Oliver Barakat, senior vice president of the CBRE Inc. real estate firm, expects the build-out will be costly because of the conversion from a private club and dining space into office use.
“But I think it will be a successful endeavor,” said Barakat, who also is a member of the Downtown Investment Authority board.
Office vacancy rates have fallen below 8 percent on the Southbank while rental rates average $21-$22. Gardner predicts rates for the University Club office space will reach the mid $20s.
She said the 27th floor, which is the club’s main dining room, lounge and event space, comprises 14,147 square feet.
The 28th floor, used as a men’s athletic center, is about 8,357 square feet.
Gardner and John Mason, senior vice president of asset management for Lingerfelt CommonWealth, envision a single tenant for the two floors.
Marketing is underway and renovations would start when a lease is signed. Floor plans are available. (See below.)
While the Southbank office market is tightening, that will change next year when Aetna leaves 170,000 square feet in the Aetna building as it moves to the suburbs.
But that won’t be until August, while the University Club space will be vacated by year-end.
Dallas-based ClubCorp Holdings Inc. told members via email a “business decision” had been made to close the club.
Mason said Lingerfelt CommonWealth had intended to renew the lease and invest capital into the deal, but then learned ClubCorp did not want to do so.
He said the landlord was “absolutely not raising rates” for the club and there would have been a reduction in occupancy costs.
Gardner said ClubCorp’s decision to close was not related to the lease rates.
The closing of the University Club leaves The River Club as the only private club at the top of a Downtown high-rise. It occupies the top two floors of the 35-story Wells Fargo Center on the Northbank.