Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Another IPO with Local Ties

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Another IPO with Local Ties

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Basch

Along with a wave of Jacksonville-based companies recently filing for initial public offerings, an Orlando-based real estate company that owns a Jacksonville landmark building is also going public.

Eola Property Trust, which is planning to sell up to $675 million in its IPO, is a newly-formed company with a portfolio that will include Independent Square in downtown Jacksonville, a 37-story structure more commonly known as the Modis building. The portfolio also includes 245 Riverside, more commonly known as the St. Joe building.

Ironically, both signature tenants are planning to move out of those buildings in 2011. Eola's registration statement filed earlier this month with the Securities and Exchange Commission doesn't mention that.

Eola is being created from a group of real estate companies run by Executive Chairman James Heistand and CEO Rudy Prio Touzet. Once the IPO is complete, the company will own or operate 57 properties in the Southeast and the mid-Atlantic region. Jacksonville is one of its largest markets, accounting for about 11 percent of its total rent and square-footage.

In addition to Independent Square and 245 Riverside, Eola will own 25 percent of three buildings on the Southside called Capital Plaza.

Eola's SEC filing says that the 647,251-square-foot Independent Square building is 92.2 percent leased as of June 30 and produces annual rent of $13.2 million. But that building will lose Modis next year after its parent company, MPS Group Inc., was acquired by Adecco Group NA. After completing the purchase of MPS earlier this year, Adecco announced it will move out of downtown to a suburban building when its lease expires next year.

Adecco is Eola's sixth-largest client, with 121,000 square feet of space in four properties. But Eola does not say how much space Adecco has in Jacksonville.

The 135,286-square-foot 245 Riverside building near downtown is 94.6 percent leased and produces annual rent of $2.8 million. But The St. Joe Co. is planning to vacate that building next year as it moves its corporate headquarters to Panama City. St. Joe actually built 245 Riverside itself but sold it to one of the Eola predecessor companies in 2007.

Eola notes in its filing that the Jacksonville office market weakened in 2009. But citing data from a California research firm called Rosen Consulting Group, it says the outlook for Jacksonville's central business district "is very positive" and that "market dynamics in the Jacksonville suburban office market should begin to recover in 2011."


While several large mortgage lenders have halted foreclosures because of concerns of missing or falsified documents, PHH Mortgage Corp. announced last week that it has no such problems.

After "a comprehensive review of its foreclosure procedures," the New Jersey-based company that has a major office in Jacksonville said it "has not halted foreclosures in any states and has no plans to initiate a foreclosure moratorium. …

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