Michael Munz and Jim Dalton say they want to use the space for their business as well as Downtown groups.
Almost 11 years after buying the building, Michael Munz and Jim Dalton are developing what they call the “Sidebar” in space vacated by Subway inside the Dalton Agency Building Downtown.
Munz said the 2,000 square feet of space will connect to the Dalton Agency through an interior sliding barn door and also have exterior access.
Munz and Jim Dalton own the two-story, 30,096-square-foot building at 140 W. Monroe St., which they purchased with another agency partner as of Jan. 1, 2008, and moved there in February 2008.
They bought out the partner, Dave Josserand, when he retired from the agency this year.
“Jim and I decided that we wanted to utilize the space for our staff, clients and as a community room for organizations that might find the space interesting to use Downtown,” said Munz, a partner with Dalton in the agency, a national advertising, public relations and social media firm.
The agency is a tenant as was Subway, whose franchisee closed the shop in September 2017.
At the time, Dalton said he planned to convert the ground-floor shop into a multipurpose space for use by clients, staff and Downtown groups.
The agency has been making its atrium space in the main section of the building available for use by groups or nonprofits with a connection to someone who works at the agency.
Munz said he is talking with lawyers about the Sidebar setup regarding liability and other concerns.
He envisions use by employees, clients, outside groups with a connection to the agency, other community organizations as well as publicly noticed meetings.
The name Sidebar connotes several elements in the political, legal and journalism realms, all of which relate to the Dalton Agency's focus.
Designed by Kasper Architects + Associates, the space features tables, chairs, seating areas near a video wall, six video monitors, a full bar for private use and other amenities.
Elements include wood, slate, steel and brick. Color accents include the signature Dalton orange.
Existing brick is being cleaned floor to ceiling.
For catering use, the former Subway kitchen area will retain the refrigerator and storage. Munz said an oven, stove and kitchen appliances will be added.
The caterer would provide the liquor license when needed.
The windows might be covered so that people inside can see out while passers-by see a wrap, perhaps with a historic theme that reflects the 67-year-old building's history. It once was Morrison's Cafeteria, and the agency hung a photo of it at the front door.
The building faces Hemming Park.
The owners put the building up for sale in 2014 but pulled it from the market. Munz said they had more than one offer.
“It made us realize that it was an appreciating asset that we wanted to keep – especially with the efforts that were coming together to grow Downtown – and we made the decision to stay and are happy to be part of the continued move forward for Downtown,” he said.
Munz hopes the Sidebar is ready by early spring and plans a soft run by the Jacksonville Jazz Festival in May.
The city issued a permit Dec. 21 for Tenant Contractors Inc. to add partitions, finishes, restrooms and other work in 1,475 square feet of space there at a cost of $206,020.
Munz declined to disclose the full investment, which would include furniture, equipment and other items, but called it significant.