Arlington redevelopment: Turning old office buildings into apartments

A developer wants to transform the former FBI headquarters, two office buildings and neighboring property in Arlington into 779 apartments.

The closed former Offshore Power Systems buildings are part of a 16.2-acre site along the south side of the Arlington Expressway that a developer wants to convert into apartments. The property is about 5 miles east of Downtown.
The closed former Offshore Power Systems buildings are part of a 16.2-acre site along the south side of the Arlington Expressway that a developer wants to convert into apartments. The property is about 5 miles east of Downtown.
Photo by Karen Brune Mathis
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A 16.2-acre site along the south side of the Arlington Expressway best known for its former identities as Jim’s Place, the FBI headquarters and Offshore Power Systems is fenced off and under redevelopment for housing.

The former FBI building is under extensive renovation, while the two other office buildings, still labeled Three Oaks Plaza, are vacant and extensively vandalized with graffiti and broken and missing windows.

Jim’s Place is closed and likely will be demolished, based on the site plan.

The property owner and developer Marc Kozman, through Arlington Florida LP, acquired the four properties in separate deeds totaling $8 million. 

Pending negotiations, approvals and market conditions, the three office buildings and a second phase could create 779 affordable, workforce and market-rate apartments on the property.

The decades-old existing structures are at 7820-8000 Arlington Expressway, west of Southside Connector.

With four structures on the property now, the site could be developed into eight buildings spanning the parcel, according to a site plan. 

Those comprise the old FBI and Offshore Power Systems buildings and a new leasing office and clubhouse along with four new apartment buildings.

The first three buildings and the amenity center are projected at a $79 million construction cost by the developer.

“It is a project that could bring a significant amount of affordable housing and workforce housing to the Arlington area,” said city Affordable Housing Administrator Joshua Hicks of the first phase that comprises the office buildings and Jim’s Place.

Hicks is with the Jacksonville Neighborhoods Department.

Joshua Hicks

“The city wants to support the project, within reason, because of the need for affordable and workforce housing, especially in this area of Arlington and as we look to redevelop the Arlington Expressway area. This development project would provide a lot of housing for the community, if it’s fully developed over the next few years.”

Hicks said May 30 that he spoke with Kozman’s attorney, Jacksonville-based land-use and government relations attorney Steve Diebenow, about “where we can come to an agreement on the project.”

Kozman has not responded to Daily Record requests for comment. 

In an Arlington Florida LP project profile provided to the city, the ownership group says it has “a deep commitment to community development.”

“Arlington Florida LP envisions transforming this prime real estate into a vibrant multifamily apartment property that not only meets the growing demand for housing in the area but also revitalizes this historical space,” it says.

Affordable and workforce housing rents are tied to the percentage of area median income earned by the renters.

Those rents would be below the average monthly market rate in Jacksonville, which Hicks said is $1,789.

The unit mix and rental rates of those apartments will be determined as negotiations progress.

The first three buildings could bring 285 units – about 95 each – to the market, while the subsequent buildings could create another 494 units.

“If everything works the way we want it and the market works the way we want it, we could see about 779 units in this area with 853 parking spaces,” Hicks said.

The former FBI headquarters under renovation and the Jim’s Place nightclub buildings at the Arlington property.
Photo by Karen Brune Mathis

Hicks anticipates a completion date of late 2025 to early 2026 on the first three buildings and the amenity center. 

District 1 City Council member Ken Amaro said June 12 that he had met with the developers and Diebenow. Amaro’s records show that was scheduled Aug. 17, 2023.

“That’s a key piece in the transformation of that corridor,” said Amaro, whose district includes the property.

The site is across Arlington Expressway from the new Rivergate town home community, which was developed on a former retail property.

Jacksonville City Council member Ken Amaro

 Amaro said the two vacant Offshore Power Systems buildings on the site need help.

“The two buildings look like they survived a blast,” Amaro said.

What Arlington Florida proposes

The profile says Arlington Florida LP’s vision for the project involves converting about 300,000 square feet of office space – the existing three buildings – into 285 residential units.

“Anticipating future demand, we plan to seek city approvals for an additional 450-500 units, ensuring our development meets the evolving needs of Jacksonville,” says the profile.

An amenity space would feature a full-size gym, game room, work-from-home office spaces, community event room, pool, dog park, pickleball courts, green space and a walking trail.

“The thoughtful incorporation of these amenities aims to foster a sense of community and well-being among our residents,” the profile says.

Arlington Florida LP proposes market-rate housing, moderate-income housing, workforce housing and affordable housing, according to the profile.

“The most pressing concern highlighted in local news reports is the acute shortage of affordable housing options in Jacksonville,” the profile says.

“Our multifamily apartment property addresses this urgent need by incorporating a significant number of affordable housing units.”

Arlington Florida LP’s proposed timeline:

Phase 1: Early 2025 delivery. The first phase under construction, which is the old FBI building, comprises the first 95 units and the amenity center. It would comprise two studio units, 47 one-bedroom units and 46 two-bedroom units. They would range from 556 to 1,038 square feet in size. 

Phase 2: Pending city support, the second phase would be the start of the 190 units in the other two OPS buildings for construction in 2025. Those could start in late Q4 2024 to early Q1 2025. They are estimated at $25 million each.

• Future phases: The next phases would follow after the first 285 units are leased, further city approvals and economic factors.

“This approach underscores our commitment to responsible development, allowing time for the community to embrace and absorb the initial phases before expanding further,” the Arlington Florida LP profile says.

“It also reflects our adaptability to changing economic conditions and community needs.”

The phases

The site plan shows:

• Phase A: The six-floor FBI and Offshore Power Systems buildings at 95 units each and the 14,400-square-foot amenity center – different from a larger size in the narrative – in the middle of the property.

• Phase B: A new six-floor, 108-unit building near the site of the existing Jim’s Place.

• Phase C: Two new six-story, 96-unit buildings on the eastern and western sides of the property.

• Phase D: A six-story, 194-unit building on the southern side of the property.

“That is if everything goes according to plan,” Hicks said.

“I am hopeful about this project because this will produce a significant amount of workforce housing along the Arlington Expressway in an area that needs it.”

Incentives sought

Arlington Florida also outlined “the ask” for city support.

“The proactive initiative to commence construction on the first 95 units, undertaken amidst challenging economic conditions, requires strategic assistance to bridge the financial gap and bring the entire vision to fruition,” the profile says.

While specifics depend on negotiations with the city, Arlington Florida LP proposes a Recapture Enhanced Value Grant for a 75% rebate of the increase in ad valorem taxes over 20 years; a low-interest loan; a completion grant; and leveraging the statewide Live Local Act, which provides recurring funding for housing low- to -income households. 

“As the project progresses, we remain vigilant in exploring avenues for financial support and investment that align with our mission and vision,” the profile says.

The former FBI headquarters at the Arlington property.
Photo by Karen Brune Mathis

Hicks said he was working with the developer to “see where the city can help.”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides the scale of HUD rental guidelines for affordable housing.

Hicks said the project would include a lien on designated units for 20 years to maintain their affordability.

Arlington Florida LP proposes “a cautious approach to long-term rent controls.”

“Given the demographics of the market, with neighboring properties well below the 80% Area Median Income (AMI) set by HUD, we request flexibility in managing rent controls to balance the project’s financial sustainability with the affordability mandate,” it says.

Hicks said the first phase would be affordable and workforce housing with rents marketed at or below rates deemed affordable by a market formula.

That phase would include the new community center amenity and pool.

The next phases could be market-rate housing. 

Previous incentives

This would not be the first incentives request for the project. Jacksonville City Council approved a deal in 2021 for the first building.

In April 2021, the Council agreed to grant up to $820,000 in city property tax rebates to help turn the former FBI building into about 118 market-rate apartments.

Council approved then-owner Theotokos Holdings LLC’s request for the property tax incentive for its proposed $14.545 million apartment redevelopment.

Council approved Ordinance 2021-0159 in a 19-0 vote. It called for a rebate of up to 75% of the increase of the property taxes for up to 10 years.

The legislation said Theotokos Holdings LLC committed to complete the project by Dec. 31, 2023, to receive the full refund.

Hicks said the city amended the agreement in December 2021 to extend the completion deadline to Dec. 31, 2024, for the first building, or the city will proportionally reduce the REV grant payout.

Hicks said the developer is on track to complete the first building during the fourth quarter of 2024. The city budgeted $74,000 for the grant payment for the next fiscal year.

 Theotokos Holdings paid $1.2 million in September 2019 for the FBI building.

Kozman and Magdi Samuel were partners in Theotokos Holdings. Kozman now is the manager and president of it.

Kozman Realty, the agent for the developer, began interior demolition toward the conversion of it into apartments. 

In December 2021, Theotokos Holdings assigned the economic development agreement to Arlington Florida LP, which is managed by Nick Georghiades.

Axios Construction Services LLC of Fern Park is the contractor. A performance bond filed with the county in June 2023 showed a construction cost of $17.98 million.

The buyer

To start assembling the properties, Arlington Florida LP registered with the state in March 2022 with a principal address in Fort Lauderdale and a connection to a consultant and lawyer in Ontario, Canada. 

Hicks said Arlington Florida LP was created for the Arlington Expressway project.

Council member Amaro said two of the developers he met with in August said they were Canadian nationals and had begun work on first building with their own money.

Hicks said Kozman had lived in Canada when the FBI building project was begun. 

Property records show Kozman bought a home in Nocatee in January 2022.

The Duval County Clerk of Courts recorded a notice of commencement in June 2023 signed by Georghiades of Ontario as an owner.

Amaro met with Kozman, Georghiades and lawyers Diebenow and Mike Sittner, both with the Jacksonville-based Driver, McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow firm.

Hicks said the city is working with Kozman, who created Simple State LLC in Florida in October 2022 and changed the name to Marc Kozman LLC in 2023.

Arlington Florida’s LP’s general partner is 8000 Arlington LLC, which was renamed Geo Acquisitions LLC as of April 30, 2024.

AxiaGeoCapital LLC is the manager of Geo Acquisitions LLC of Fort Lauderdale.

Axia GeoCapital LLC’s managers, including Nickolas Georghiades, are based in Ontario.

Arlington apartments site

The 16.2-acre site along the south side of the Arlington Expressway comprises four existing buildings owned by Arlington Florida LP.  The buildings were once the home of Jim’s Place nightclub, the FBI headquarters and Offshore Power Systems.  

Old FBI headquarters: 7820 Arlington Expressway, six stories, about 95,000 square feet, built in 1975.

Arlington Florida LP acquired the building for $2.2 million on April 7, 2022. It has been vacant since 2009 when the bureau relocated operations to Gate Parkway.

Former Offshore Power Systems headquarters buildings: 7960 Arlington Expressway, six stories, about 92,300 square feet, built in 1972, and 8000 Arlington Expressway, six stories, about 97,000 square feet, built in 1973.

Arlington Florida LP paid $4.8 million on March 25, 2022, for those two buildings from Omega Group Center LLC of Aventura.

The two office buildings were built as Westinghouse Offshore Power Systems headquarters, according to a City Council legislative fact sheet with 2021 incentives legislation.

Offshore Power Systems came to town as it planned to build floating nuclear power plants at Blount Island, but market conditions tanked production and not a single unit was built.

The buildings were rented to office users but then closed and were extensively vandalized. They are expected to be gutted and rebuilt.

Jim’s Place: 7900 Arlington Expressway, one story, about 8,500 square feet, built for TGI Fridays in 1982, is the former Jim’s Place.

Arlington Florida LP bought the property for $1 million on Jan. 16, 2024, from Jim Jones III and Keith Cornell Jones II.

 Jim Jones III, 78, closed Jim’s Place Jan. 1 after 33 years. He bought the former TGI Fridays building and started Jim’s Place in 1991.

Arlington apartments draft site plan

The draft plan for the 16.2-acre site along the south side of the Arlington Expressway that was once the home of Jim’s Place, the FBI headquarters and Offshore Power Systems. The project could create 779 affordable, workforce and market-rate apartments on the property at 7820-8000 Arlington Expressway, west of Southside Connector. 

Apartments, parking: The draft plan shows the existing buildings in white. No. 1 is the old FBI building and No. 2 and 3 are the former Offshore Power Systems buildings. There are 853 parking spaces.

A: Residential, 6 levels, 95 units

B: Residential, 6 levels, 18 units/level, 108 units

C: Residential, 6 levels, 16 units/level, 96 units

D: Residential, 6 levels, 33 units/typical level, 29 units/upper level, 194 units

E: Leasing & Clubroom, 14,400 gross square feet



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