Owners of the historic Seminole Building Downtown are setting the stage to branch into weddings, as well as other events.
The city issued a permit July 22 for property owner 400 Hogan LLC, led by investor Alex Sifakis, to renovate the third floor of the 111-year-old building, whose anchor tenant is Sweet Pete’s candy company.
The building is at 400 N. Hogan St., across from City Hall.
“We turned the third floor back into an event space,” Sifakis said July 27. “We really wanted to make it into a high-end wedding and corporate event venue.”
He said the 5,000-square-foot space is available for that and also continues to host Sweet Pete’s field trips.
The third floor is called White Hall. Sifakis contracted with Destination Planning, owned by Anne Urban, to manage the space.
The website, whitehalljax.com, provides information about catering, hours, parking and other services. Urban bills it as “The Sweetest Event Space.”
White Hall can accommodate up to 250 guests and a patio can provide space for 50.
Sifakis has been making cosmetic renovations to the third floor and now is completing the work.
The plans approved by the city show the top floor of the historic three-story building will be renovated to include a bridal room, groom’s room and a lobby.
“That’s the sort of thing that brides and grooms really require these days in a high-end venue,” Sifakis said.
The third floor also contains offices and party-demonstration space. It previously was used as a toy shop as well as an event venue.
The city issued a permit July 22 for River City Contractors to renovate the space at a cost of $99,251. Robbins Design Studio is the architect.
Sifakis estimates a total $250,000 investment, including roof work and turning the third-floor deck, which now is cosmetic, into an outdoor venue.
COVID-19 stemmed the tide of big events, so a grand opening will be scheduled when practical, he said.
JWB Real Estate Companies LLC, led by Sifakis, paid $1.7 million for the building Jan. 31 through 400 Hogan LLC.
The 22,500-square-foot building is anchored by Sweet Pete’s candy shop.
Jacksonville-based Sweet Pete’s leases part of the first floor as a candy shop and the second floor as a candy store and dessert shop and uses part of the third for field trips, parties and candy demonstrations.
The second floor continues to comprise production space, a dessert bar, retail sales and a balcony.
The other part of the first floor is used as restaurant space, and it’s back on the market.
The 10/Six Grille opened Oct. 4 with an “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” theme but has closed.
Sifakis said that 4,300-square-foot space is available for lease to another restaurant.
“We haven’t even started marketing it yet but we have some interest,” he said, but did not share the names of prospective tenants.
The Sifakis group bought the property from JAX Club Property LLC, which is led by Marcus Lemonis, the TV host of “The Profit.”
Lemonis continues to own the Sweet Pete’s company with Peter and Allison Behringer.
They signed a five-year lease at the building.
Sifakis said in January his group will make general repairs and paint, landscape and pressure-wash the property.
Lemonis invested in Sweet Pete’s and bought the building in July 2014 for $550,000 to house the candy company, which moved from Springfield.
Duval County property records show the structure was built in 1909. It operated for decades as the private Seminole Club. It closed, was reopened for a time and then closed again before its current use.