Matthew Clark lives and works Downtown and wouldn’t have it any other way. The vice president of prime retail services for Prime Realty is optimistic and inspired by Downtown Jacksonville’s growth over the last few years. He’s also excited that one of the properties he markets is getting a well-deserved upgrade to compete with the increased interest in Jacksonville’s urban-core real estate. The building, “100 North Laura” or “The Jacksonville Bank Building,” is a 10-story, 130,000 square-foot mixed-use building located on the corner of Laura and Forsyth streets. We recently caught up with Matthew to find out what’s on the horizon for this Downtown architectural centerpiece. - See more at: http://downtownjacksonville.org/blog/2015/09/17/big-changes-coming-to-downtown-architectual-centerpiece/#sthash.5TbW7nj3.dpuf
Tell me about 100 N. Laura St. – its history and use.
100 North Laura has always had a presence in the Jacksonville banking community. The building was built in the ’60s and was home to a large bank training facility and even had a drive-through. The drive-through entrance was on Laura Street and exited onto Forsyth Street where the restaurant space is currently. The tenancy in the building is made up of creatives and business professionals. I love that we have a photography studio, a tech start-up, a nonprofit and an attorney all on a single floor. The mix creates awesome synergy and, ultimately, a great community.
Why is now the time for renovations of the building?
The renovation plans for the building have taken a couple of years to bring to fruition. The good thing is we have been able to get a good sense of the tenants attracted to the building and modify our plans accordingly. In order to compete in the market, we need to deliver a product that doesn’t exist in Jacksonville – one that is truly unique. The influx and quality of office users coming into the market today expect and deserve the renovations.
What will the renovations entail?
Exterior renovations include replacing building awnings; replacing both the Laura and Forsyth streets’ entrances; transforming the loading dock on Laura Street into a hybrid storefront, which will serve as the 24/7 access for Anytime Fitness; waterproofing and painting the entire building; installing an exterior, variable colored LED up-lighting system so we will be able to coordinate the building colors with holidays and special events; and replacing all exterior signage.
Interior renovations include an overhaul of the lobby, combining the aesthetic of a boutique hotel with the progressive feel of a tech start up; installing wood-coffered ceilings, with LED pendant lighting and recessed lighting; installing all-new flooring, with porcelain tile throughout, walk off carpets at both main entries and carpet tiles defining new collaborative seating areas; adding wayward signage and televisions for up-to-the minute building and local information, as well as a new security system; modernizing the elevators; and installing private bathrooms with showers in the lobby, along with lockers and bike storage for tenants who walk or bike to work.
Any new tenants you’re excited about?
We are finalizing the retail space and look forward to their announcement in the near future.
Why is the renovation of this building so important to Downtown?
For the last couple of years, this building has increased occupancy with a mix of creative and executive professionals. The renovation is symbolic of the building’s success and Downtown’s success. More and more businesses and their employees want to be a part of the change Downtown. We hope the renovation of the building enhances the retail and office experience in Downtown Jacksonville.
Why would you recommend someone move their business to Downtown?
Downtown has unique office options that can’t be found in other areas of Jacksonville. There is a wide variety of business resources concentrated within walking distance of virtually all Downtown office space. The beauty of doing business in Downtown is it’s small enough for people to feel connected but large enough to give a business everything it needs to thrive.
What have you noticed as far as the interest in Downtown real estate?
The energy and momentum is here. I have investors from Atlanta and California who see the difference in the activity Downtown today compared to a few years ago. Retail lease rates in the core are up 50-60% over leases signed just a few years ago. As the cumulative mass of retail in the core continues to grow, it will only help attract more office users. I have a couple of properties in the core that are more than 95% leased.
What do you love about Downtown personally?
I have always loved the hustle and bustle of an urban environment. I actually live Downtown. My home is a loft apartment in a 100-year old building. I walk outside my front door, and I am minutes away from restaurants, bars, the Florida Theatre and EverBank Field. When I walk my dog, I always bump into someone I know. If people don’t remember my name, they definitely remember my dog, Darby. I love that because it means we’re a part of a great neighborhood.
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