The Mathis Report: JTA will turn nightclub into transit hub

Property along Philips Highway was once targeted by former NFL star Laveranues Coles Jr.

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The Jacksonville Transportation Authority is preparing to develop a bus loop transfer station at 5800 Philips Highway for JTA’s First Coast Flyer Blue Line and other fixed routes.

It will include shelters and amenities.

The location is the site of a closed nightclub at Philips Highway and Bowden Road that was targeted for operation by former NFL wide receiver Laveranues Coles Jr.

JTA bought the property Feb. 6 for $1.3 million. It comprises a 16,400-square-foot structure slated for demolition on 2.82 acres. 

JTA Public Relations Manager Leigh Ann Rassler said Tuesday the University Transit Hub project is in design.

Design is expected to be completed by year-end with construction starting in 2019 and completion in fall 2019, she said.

The nightclub building will be demolished as part of the construction project, she said.

The transit hub is part of the JTA First Coast Flyer project that will, when completed, cover 57 miles and will be the largest bus rapid transit system of its kind in the Southeast, the authority says.

The building was developed in 1967 and operated as a “gentlemen’s club.” 

Plans filed with the city in January 2014 showed it would house the Queen of Diamonds nightclub and bar and a sign on the property called it Queen of Diamonds Gentle Mens Clubs. Sharky’s Oyster Bar and Lounge also was scheduled to open at the address.

HI LLC of Coral Gables was the owner and developer. Trouble Livin Life LLC, led by Coles, was the tenant. 

The deed shows HI LLC conveyed the property to JTA after filing a termination of lease with Trouble Livin Life LLC.

Coles is a Jacksonville native and played for Ribault High School and Florida State University. He spent most of his 10-year NFL career with the New York Jets.