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Microsoft to Create its First Retail Store in St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville

28 Jun 2013, 9:03 pm

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor

Rumors that Microsoft will build its first Jacksonville-area retail store have just been confirmed.

The software giant recently hired JTM Construction—a subsidiary of the Fisher Companies, a privately held construction services company primarily active in the western United States—to build a store at St. Johns Town Center.

St. Johns Town Center is an outdoor lifestyle mall that houses approximately 150 stores, among which Dillard’s, Apple, Pottery Barn and Ann Taylor, as well as shops in the palm-lined streets of the Luxury Collection such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. and Mayors. Conveniently located in Jacksonville’s Southside neighborhood, St. Johns Town Center is easily accessible to I-95, I-295 and J. Turner Butler Boulevard and between Downtown and the beaches serving Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Amelia Island and South Georgia.

At the beginning of May, the Florida Times-Union first reported that Microsoft had filed an application with the city to build a store at that location, calling for a $400,000 investment in renovating the space previously occupied by Puma.

The 4,975-square-foot space—located right next to Urban Outfitters—has been standing vacant for several months; the store’s location at 4791 River City Drive will be placing it merely two blocks from the Apple store.

Retail stores are a rather new concept for the Seattle-based software giant that opened its first store in 2009. The state of Florida is currently home to four other Microsoft stores, with the Orlando one— opened in August 2013—being the first, followed by three more in Miami and Tampa.

Image via Simon Malls

Centerline Funds $6.7M Fannie Mae Loan for Jacksonville M-F Property

24 May 2013, 9:46 pm

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor

The 136-unit Pinewood Pointe Apartments has recently been refinanced by a $6.75 million Fannie Mae fixed-rate, affordable loan provided by Centerline Capital Group.

The fixed-rate loan has a 12-year term, 9.5-year lockout, and a 30-year amortizing schedule. The borrower is SP Pinewood LP, a Florida limited partnership. The proceeds from the loan will be used to refinance existing tax-exempt bonds, which were also financed by Centerline, which is a subsidiary of Centerline Holding Co.

The affordable multifamily property, originally built in 1991, consists of 24 two-story apartment buildings and a clubhouse, with 48 units being garden style and the other 88 townhouse style apartments. Amenities include a clubhouse/leasing office with business center, common laundry room, a community pool, two children’s playgrounds, car wash area and picnic areas. Pinewood Pointe Apartments was acquired and renovated in 2007 with tax-exempt bonds issued by Florida Housing Finance Corp. and equity from the sale of 4 percent low income housing tax credits.

“The property is well-located in a desirable residential neighborhood with high=quality development surrounding the property and easy access to major employers, supportive commercial uses and recreational amenities,” noted Jim Gillespie, managing director at Centerline. “The borrower is a repeat Centerline client that is a very experienced multifamily developer, owner and manager. At Centerline, we continuously look to identify affordable housing opportunities that are attractive to our investors and also make a significant impact on the communities where they exist.”

Image via www.pinewoodpointe.com

Public-Private Partnership to Add ‘Central Park’ to Brooklyn, Jacksonville Development

10 May 2013, 7:09 pm

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor

A public-private partnership is looking to bring a signature park to historic Brooklyn. Mayor Alvin Brown and Jen Jones—executive director of Jacksonville Unity Plaza Inc.—accepted the deed to the premiere ‘central park’ for Jacksonville at the construction site of 220 Riverside, a mixed-use development aiming to revive Brooklyn.

Jacksonville Unity Plaza Inc., the non-profit that will manage Unity Plaza, promises to deliver a new entertainment hub that will host events year round. Developers have projected a plaza with a fountain, a lake and a staging area flanked by an amphitheater able to accommodate 2,000.

The Unity Plaza concept is the vision of Alex Coley, principal and co-founder of Hallmark Partners, currently developing the adjacent 220 Riverside mixed-use project. The public-private partnership is part of a redevelopment agreement that obligates the private developers of 220 Riverside to donate the Unity Plaza property, establish the 501(c)(3) non-profit and fund the basic operations of the non-profit entity that will manage the property as a community ‘central park.’

“We have said all along that the 220 Riverside is actually a community service project disguised as a real estate deal,” said Coley, who presented the deed to the Mayor and Jones. “Unity Plaza will host and nurture the diversity and spirit of our community while revitalizing downtown and fulfilling our mission of place-making.”

Unity Plaza is the cornerstone in the current redevelopment of Jacksonville’s Brooklyn neighborhood. It is located at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Forest Street, adjacent to the 220 Riverside project featuring 294 market rate apartments and 18,000 square feet of retail. The Unity Plaza project development team is led by Hallmark Partners Inc., and Jacksonville-based Studio 9 Architecture is leading the park’s design. Programming in development includes seasonal events, concerts, educational programming and unique activities that utilize the nearby St. Johns River.

Image courtesy of Hallmark Partners

Improving Jacksonville Industrial Market Attracts 1M SF Distribution Center

22 Apr 2013, 3:44 pm

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor

The local commercial real estate community is talking about a mystery firm’s plans to develop a one million-square-foot distribution/warehouse center in the St. Johns Water Management District, ever since the Jacksonville Business Journal first reported on the project.

According to the publication, a permit application has been filed at the beginning of the month for two centers, one encompassing 600,000 square feet, and the other 400,000. The two would rise on a 102-acre site located at the intersection of Normandy Boulevard and 103rd Street and runs along Alcoy Road.

The City of Jacksonville, the landowner, applied for the permits on behalf of Hillwood Investment Properties. There have been rumors that FedEx Ground Shipping or Amazon.com could be the anchor tenants of the proposed facility, but no official announcements have been made yet.

Industrial market CBRE Research has revealed that the Jacksonville industrial market experienced a great start to the year, with positive indicators of recovery. The first quarter 2013 closed with a vacancy rate of 10.8 percent. The overall vacancy rate is the lowest it’s been since 2009. In 2007, at the market’s height, there were more than 4.5 million square feet of industrial projects underway. Very few developments have been delivered to the market since the recession, mostly due to high vacancy rates and economic uncertainty.

Currently, in addition to the warehouse/distribution center, there are 22 buildings proposed in the Northside, Westside and Southside submarkets. These developments could add up to 4.3 million square feet of space to the market. Yet developers seem to be awaiting a further decline in vacancy rates to break ground on the projects, as there is currently no construction underway in the Jacksonville industrial market.

Chart courtesy of CBRE


Nordstrom Adds 35K SF Rack Store to Local Retail Options in Jacksonville

5 Apr 2013, 9:45 pm

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor

After announcing last year that it will be opening a 124,000-square-foot, two-level, full-line store at St. Johns Town Center, Nordstrom is now planning a 35,000-square-foot Nordstrom Rack store at The Markets at Town Center in Jacksonville. The opening date has been set for fall 2013.

The Markets at Town Center is a retail, dining, and entertainment center conveniently located at Gate Parkway and Town Center Parkway just off I-295/J. Turner Butler Boulevard. The location will place the new Nordstrom Rack across from St. Johns Town Center where the new Nordstrom full-line store will open in 2014. The new Rack store will be part of the final phase of the center and will be joining a vibrant business, retail and restaurant scene. Nearby stores include REI, Ulta, Best Buy, West Marine, Brio, Black Finn, Whiskey River, Suite and a variety of boutiques.

“We could not be more excited to be welcoming Nordstrom as our neighbor and Nordstrom Rack to our incredible array of one of a kind merchants and restaurateurs at The Markets at Town Center,” said Steven Cadranel, president of Arris Realty Partners.  “Our vision and success for attracting the most desired retailers and creating a truly unique shopping and dining experience for all of northeast Florida continues to build on itself.”

Nordstrom currently operates nine full-line stores and eight Rack stores throughout Florida, and has recently revealed plans to open a new 35,000-square-foot Nordstrom Rack shop at the Shoppes at University Town Center in Sarasota. The next two targeted markets for Nordstrom Rack stores are Chicago and Louisville, Ky.

Image via The Markets at Town Center

Omni Amelia Resort Unveils Outcome of Massive $85M Renovation

21 Mar 2013, 10:04 pm

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor

Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort opened its doors on March 5 to reveal the completion of a massive $85 million renovation. The renovation had consisted of extensive remodeling work on the entire building and the addition of 155 rooms.

Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort now features a new 155-room wing—called the Oceanside wing—that will function alongside the rejuvenated Sunrise wing that features 249 rooms, totaling 404 oceanfront escapes. Of the 27 suites, most notable are the Infiniti Suites, which occupy the farthest edge of Oceanside, and boast wrap-around porches offering extensive views of the Atlantic coastline.

Directly off the hotel lobby, the new outdoor area offers the largest pool deck in Northeast Florida with lounge seating for sun-seekers, three fire features, additional food and beverage services and expanded changing facilities. The tiered poolscape includes the Serenity Pool, an adult, infinity-edge pool; the family-friendly Splash Pool; Splash Park, a water playground perfect for toddlers and small children; and two hot tubs – all featuring uninterrupted Atlantic Ocean views. In addition, a full service luxury spa housing 16 treatment rooms has been added.

Omni Amelia Island Plantation now features more than 80,000 square feet of versatile function space in the onsite Conference Center and across the 1,350-acre property. The space, which will accommodate meetings, banquets, weddings, social events and conferences for up to 1,800 attendees, includes the 16,800-square-foot Magnolia Ballroom, as well as the 11,165-square-foot Amelia Ballroom and the 5,465-square-foot Cumberland Ballroom. Pre-function and exhibit space and 37 breakout rooms complete the new Conference Center, while the Magnolia Garden, located just outside, features 11,000 square feet of lawn edged by majestic magnolia trees and herbs used daily by the resort’s chefs.

Originally built in 1976, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort is a gated luxury resort acquired by TRT Holdings Inc.—owner of Omni Hotels & Resorts—for $67.1 million. The owner kick-started renovations work on the 1,350 acre-property in November 2011.

Image via Omni Amelia Island Plantation

NorthMarq Arranges $11.1M Mortgage for Two Orange Park M-F Properties

21 Feb 2013, 10:25 pm

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor

Real estate financial intermediary NorthMarq recently arranged combined acquisition financing of $11.1 million for two multifamily properties located in Orange Park, Fla.

Financing was based on a 10-year term and a 30-year amortization schedule and was arranged for the borrowers, Fieldstone Group, LP and Millstone, LP, by NorthMarq through its seller-servicer relationship with Freddie Mac. Ryan Whitaker, vice president of NorthMarq’s Jacksonville Regional office, spearheaded the operation.

“Each property was an acquisition with legal complexity associated with the HOA and separate CDD and had to close by year-end 2012,” Whitaker said. “Freddie Mac understood the time sensitivity and legal complexities added by the HOA and CDD structures and delivered another successful closing for NorthMarq.”

The two properties make up for 160 market rate units, with Fieldstone Village Apartments—located at 573 Oakleaf Plantation Parkway—consisting of 96 units, and Millstone Village Apartments, set at 4190 Plantation Oaks Boulevard, of another 64 units. Both properties are part of a Home Owner’s Association (HOA) and Community Development District (CDD).

Image courtesy of NorthMarq

Rosemont Realty Adds 288KSF Office Complex for $31.75M

9 Feb 2013, 2:21 am

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor

In its fifth Florida acquisition, Rosemont Realty LLC recently purchased the three-building Concourse office complex in Jacksonville.

According to Financial News & Daily Record, the company—which specializes in commercial real estate acquisition and asset management—paid $31.75 million for the 288,147-square-foot property. This marks the first deal closed by the company in 2013. Last year, Rosemont Realty acquired eight Class A and Class B commercial properties, representing more than 2.5 million square feet valued at approximately $250 million. The 2012 acquisitions were in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Denver, Houston, Memphis, Nashville, San Antonio and Tulsa.

“The Concourse in Jacksonville is Rosemont’s first acquisition in 2013,” said Daniel Burrell, CEO of Rosemont Realty. “We have confidence in the Jacksonville market and will continue to evaluate high quality opportunities in Florida’s high growth markets.”

The Concourse complex consists of three four-story office buildings, each building encompassing approximately 96,000 rentable square feet. The buildings were all constructed between 1998 and 2001. Concourse fronts I-95 on Belfort Road in Jacksonville and is just one-quarter mile from the J.T. Butler Boulevard (SR 202) interchange.

Currently 88 percent occupied, the office complex lists as tenants DeVry University, SJ&P advertising agency, Diversified Clinical Services, Meridian Technologies, Gresham, Smith and Partners, and Pulte Homes, among others. According to an official company release, NAI Hallmark Partners will continue to provide property management and leasing services for the Concourse property

Rosemont Realty now controls five commercial office properties in Florida, representing nearly 720,000 square feet, including Metro Parkway in Fort Myers; Westland One, Butler Pointe, Concourse in Jacksonville; and Cypress Pointe in Tampa.

Image Courtesy of Rosemont Realty


Parkway Agrees to Pay $130M for Flagler’s Deerwood Office Portfolio

25 Jan 2013, 10:18 pm

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor

Deerwood South

Deerwood South

Continuing its recent buying spree, Orlando-based Parkway Properties is now moving to purchase a one million-square-foot office portfolio in the Deerwood submarket of Jacksonville, Fla. The company has entered into a purchase and sale agreement to acquire eight office properties from Flagler for $130 million or $128 per square foot.

The eight properties are located in Flagler’s Deerwood North and Deerwood South office parks and have a combined occupancy rate of 93.7 percent with an average in place gross rent of $19.11 per square foot.

Deerwood South contains four Class A buildings totaling 519,221 square feet of office space and ample parking. Its Southside address—10151 Deerwood Park Boulevard—places it 12 miles from the beaches and from downtown Jacksonville. Deerwood South is a two-time TOBY winner for Best Suburban Office Park.

Deerwood North is located in Jacksonville’s corporate growth corridor of Southside Boulevard and J. Turner Butler Boulevard, at 4600 Touchton Road. A winner of NAIOP’s Best Office Development, the office park is comprised of four office buildings totaling nearly 500,000 rentable square feet.

Deerwood North

Deerwood North

“We believe the Deerwood portfolio offers a stable, core investment with strong occupancy and a high-quality rent roll.  The Deerwood submarket has been a targeted growth area for Parkway given its prime location and the many amenities it offers, attracting a multitude of institutional and strong credit tenants to the area,” said James R. Heistand, Parkway’s president and CEO. ”Parkway will have a critical mass in this submarket, owning approximately 29 percent of the total office inventory, which should provide us with operational efficiencies and leasing advantages,” he added.

Parkway expects the portfolio to generate an initial full-year cash net operating income yield of approximately 9 percent. According to an official company release, Parkway will own 100 percent of the portfolio and plans to place secured financing on the properties totaling up to 65 percent of the purchase price simultaneous with closing. Parkway intends to fund the remaining equity using borrowings from its revolving credit facility.  Closing is expected to occur by the end of the first quarter 2013.

Images courtesy of Flagler’s Official Website

FFG Expands Downtown Footprint, Signs 38K Lease in SunTrust Tower

11 Jan 2013, 7:13 pm

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor

Financial services corporation Foundation Financial Group (FFG) is increasing its presence in downtown Jacksonville. The company has signed a lease to occupy 38,000 square foot in the SunTrust Tower.

“FFG has experienced tremendous growth over the last several years and our expansion into the SunTrust building was a strategic move to accommodate that growth,” said FFG Chief Financial Officer, Tanya Mauro. “This lease provides us the opportunity to grow our business and support the city in which we work in live. We are proud to do our part to help rejuvenate downtown Jacksonville and make Northeast Florida more appealing.”

According to a company release, FFG estimates that it will be injecting over $1.5 million into the downtown market over the next three years. Up to now, FFG has been leasing approximately 18,000 square feet in One Enterprise Center on Water Street.

The 23-story SunTrust Tower is a Class A office building which encompasses 383,239 square feet of space and accommodates about 150 people per floor. Built in 1989, the building was last renovated in 2004. Located in the very center of Jacksonville’s downtown central business district, the building offers tenants views of the St. John’s River and places them within walking distance from the Jacksonville Landing and several nearby eateries.

The tower’s current occupancy rate is 41 percent. Once FFG takes possession of the space, the occupancy rate of the building will increase to 50 percent. Owner Parador Partners LLC is confident that, along with FFC’s move, advertisers, lawyers, IT shops and accountants will also be seeking space nearby.

Image via CoStar