The Mathis Report: Ash Properties adds Exchange Building to Downtown holdings

Company that recently bought the BB&T Tower paid $825,000 for property at 218 W. Adams St.

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Ash Properties already is adding to its Downtown holdings, less than three weeks after buying the BB&T Tower and its parking garage.

Jacksonville-based Ash Properties bought the Exchange Building at 218 W. Adams St. on Aug. 9 for $825,000. The deed was recorded Wednesday.

Randall Whitfield
Randall Whitfield

Randall Whitfield, Ash Properties chief operating officer, confirmed the purchase Monday but did not immediately provide more information. 

The seven-story, almost 35,000-square-foot vacant building, developed in 1930, sits on 0.15 acres across Adams Street from the Ed Ball Building at 214 N. Hogan St.

Ash Properties bought the property through The Exchange at Adams LLC from GBTP LLC, based in Orlando. 

GBTP paid $660,000 for the property in 2010. The previous owner bought the property for $2 million in 2006 during the Downtown sales boom before the Great Recession. 

Bobby Knight, owner of Coastal Commercial Real Estate, represented the buyer and seller in the Aug. 9 deal. 

“I’m glad somebody with some development experience has purchased this building. I can’t wait to see what they do with it,” Knight said Monday.

Knight referred questions about the proposed use to Ash Properties.

The purchase consolidates Ash Properties’ control of most of the block bounded by Hogan, Adams, Julia and Forsyth streets. 

The Exchange Building at 218 W. Adams St. was once planned for loft apartments and a restaurant.
The Exchange Building at 218 W. Adams St. was once planned for loft apartments and a restaurant.

The BB&T deal included a seven-level, 700-space parking garage with ground-floor retail space that is about 50 percent leased. The garage, at 111 Julia St., is on the same block as the Exchange Building.

Knight said the vacant Hogan Building at 170 N. Hogan St., next to the Exchange Building, is all that remains for sale on the block. 

Coastal Commercial is marketing the two-story, 18,400-square-foot Hogan Building.

During the real estate boom more than a decade ago, the Daily Record reported in November 2006 that the Exchange Building was slated for conversion into 30 loft units priced at $200,000 to $300,000, with a ground-floor tenant like a restaurant.

Coastal Commercial Real Estate has been marketing the property as a “Downtown Jacksonville Redevelopment Project” that is a “prime candidate for a mixed-use multi-family renovation.”

Floors are about 4,900 square feet with windows on all four sides. Floors five and above provide views of the city.

Ash Properties bought the 18-story BB&T Tower, at 200 W. Forsyth S., on July 24 through Talara Investment Group LLC for $24.5 million. 

Whitfield said after the acquisition that improvements would begin immediately on the BB&T Tower to include lobby upgrades. The 285,497-square-foot high-rise, built in 1975, was 64 percent leased upon the sale.

He said Ash Properties has had a “growing interest in what’s going on Downtown and we just want to be a part of that growth and this was an excellent opportunity.”

In July, Whitfield indicated the tower purchase might not be the last Downtown.

“We are taking this opportunity to get our foot in the door and look forward to working to see Downtown grow and become vital again,” he said.