The owner of Downtown commercial storefronts comprising Live Bar, Myth Nightclub and Element Bistro + Bar could receive $1.655 million from the city to help revitalize the building.
The Downtown Investment Authority board voted 6-0 on March 15 to approve a forgivable and deferred principal loan package to Nightlife Innovations Inc. to complete a $7.412 million rehab of its historic building at 333 and 327 E. Bay Street.
The developer/building owner now needs the Jacksonville City Council to sign off on a $1.655 million award from the DIA’s Downtown Preservation and Revitalization fund.
The deal includes:
• $549,000 Historic Preservation Restoration and Rehabilitation Forgivable Loan.
• $775,000 Code Compliance Renovations Forgivable Loan.
• $331,000 Downtown Preservation and Revitalization Program Deferred Principal Loan.
If approved, the city would be paying 53% of the total $3.094 million construction cost and 22% of the total $7.412 million development cost.
The total cost includes the purchase price of the building, which the owner bought in 2020.
Nightlife Innovations is contributing $1.425 million in equity, or 46%, of the total construction cost.
In May 2022, Council designated the two-story building, built in 1908, as historic.
According to the DIA staff report, it is subdivided into seven units. The owner intends to renovate 38,835 square feet of the structures 40,249 square feet as commercial space for existing tenants Live Bar, Myth Nightclub, Element Bistro + Bar and two other unnamed commercial tenants.
According to the DIA term sheet and staff report, the unnamed tenants are related to the developer, will lease the space and will apply for $200,000 under a separate incentive project — the Food and Beverage Retail Enhancement Program — to help with tenant improvement costs.
The western portion of the second floor will be used as a live music venue and space for wedding receptions, corporate events and nightly entertainment, according to the DIA staff report.
The building is currently 39.2% occupied, and Nightlife Innovations told the DIA that city incentives could help them fill out the space.
Nightlife Innovations was formed in 2016 by owner Jon Mroz.
“(Jon Mroz) and his partners have a combined 80 years of experience in the restaurant and bar industry, and they specialize in management and marketing,” the staff report says.
“Jon (Mroz) has turned failing bars into sustainable businesses by incorporating his unique approach to training staff. Additionally, Jon owns several online marketing companies that he started from scratch and turned into multi-million-dollar organization(s).”
Nine Oaks Development is listed at the project’s real estate consultant; J. Lane Construction is the general contractor; and Thomas Duke Architect is the architect.
The developer would have to start construction within six months of the effective date of the agreement to get the incentives and finish the work 18 months later.