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Foley & Lardner readying for relocation

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Foley & Lardner readying for relocation

Next week this time, Foley & Lardner lawyers and staff will be packing bags and boxes for a weekend move to the Modis Building.

In the meantime, owners of the Greenleaf Building, which housed Foley & Lardner since 1985, continue to market the structure for sale as office, hotel or loft apartment use.

Charles Hedrick, Foley & Lardner's Jacksonville managing director, said the almost 90-member staff will relocate from nine floors in Greenleaf at 200 Laura St. into Modis at One Independent Drive, where it will use about two and a half floors.

It will relocate from about 40,000 square feet into 37,000 square feet. "The space we are leaving is much less efficient," Hedrick said. Foley & Larder will move into the 13th, 14th and 15th floors at Modis.

The 34 lawyers and supports staff will relocate on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and be "up and running for business the 14th," he said.

Hedrick said Elkins Constructors renovated the space, designed by Gresham Smith and Partners, to "play off the water theme and the St. Johns River." He said technology has been upgraded and the southeast corner lunch room "has the best view of any spot in the office."

Space is designed for expansion and includes a computer training room, several conference rooms and some "war rooms" where lawyers can spread out and work on case strategy.

Meanwhile, owners of the Greenleaf Building are marketing the 1920s era building for sale to owners who want to use it for offices or conversion into a boutique hotel or loft apartments.

The 12-story building, whose ground floor features Jacobs Jewelers, is 78,000 square feet. Lawyer Mitchell Legler, an owner, said earlier this year that 55,000 square feet is usable for office and retail space.

Legler is president of Commander-Greenleaf Inc., the general partner of the Greenleaf Associates Ltd. ownership group.

He said owners are asking just over $5 million for the structure.

"We have no current buyer for it," Legler said, adding that owners are "still hoping that one of the parties who has been talking to us, and several have, will come through."

Legler said owners attempted to interest the city in the building, "but we have had no response from the city, which I think is a shame because I think the city eventually will need that building." The location is near City Hall.

Prospective buyers "have talked about the possibility of everything from loft apartments, which I think is not likely because of no attached parking, or a boutique hotel and continued use as offices space."

Legler said the first two floors are about 8,000 square feet and the others are about 4,000 square feet.

"I see it as an office building. It has terrific conference facilities on the ground floor," he said. Owners lease rights to 115 parking spaces nearby, he said.

Legler is a partner with Kirschner & Legler on the Southbank.

Greenleaf Associates bought the building in the mid-1980s. The partnership comprised partners of the former Commander Legler law firm, which bought the building to operate there. Since then, the firm merged into Foley & Larder and some partners retired or left for other practices.

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I hope that the grenleaf Building will be able to renovate and attract developers for condos or a hotel. It would be upsetting to have it left abandoned.

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