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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