Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The St. Joe Co. to Build on Northbank

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The St. Joe Co. to Build on Northbank

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Brune Mathis, Times-Union senior business writer

The St. Joe Co. intends to expand the Northbank downtown skyline with a $24 million Riverside Avenue headquarters that could be completed by March 2003.

Jacksonville-based St. Joe has signed a contract to buy about 3 acres at 245 Riverside Ave. to build a seven-floor, 140,000-square-foot office building. The land, known as the Riverside Corporate Plaza site, sits next to the YMCA.

"We think it will be a good investment for us," said Mike Shalley, vice president of St. Joe Commercial.

St. Joe, considered the state's largest real estate operating company, has been leasing about 40,000 square feet at the duPont Center on the downtown Southbank. It intends to use 30,000 square feet in the Northbank development and lease the remaining space to tenants, Shalley said yesterday.

"St. Joe's corporate headquarters are in Jacksonville, and we are making a commitment in Jacksonville and want to stay in the downtown district. We think that 18 months from now, this market will improve and there will be a high likelihood this will be a well-received project with all the improvements taking place on Riverside Avenue and our decision to stay and be a catalyst in the downtown environment," he said.

Pending designs and other issues, St. Joe expects to complete the property purchase Oct. 11 and start construction in January for a five-story office building on top of a two-level parking deck.

The site has been marketed for the proposed 125,000-square-foot Riverside Corporate Plaza. Riverside Office Investors LLC, which includes Skyline Realty Services, had been planning that development for at least three years as the project sought an anchor tenant.

Shalley said St. Joe had a contract to buy the land from Riverside OCP Land Co., which had purchased the property in July 2000 for about $2. …

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