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Office condos in works for Greenleaf Building

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By CHRISTOPHER CALNAN

The Times-Union

The potential new owner of the downtown Greenleaf Building plans to convert the upper nine floors of the building into office condominiums, a real estate broker marketing the property said.

Michael Lucas, vice president of Addison Commercial Real Estate, said the full-floor condominiums would sell for at least $787,500. Lucas is marketing the building to public relations firms, engineering firms, architects, law firms and accounting firms.

He's already shown the building to at least 12 interested groups.

"We're looking for a small portion of the market interested in owning rather than leasing," Lucas said.

He declined to identify the new owner or the sale price of the12-story building at Adams and Laura streets. The sale is expected to close by March, Lucas said.

Office condominiums differ from conventional offices in that they're owned rather than leased by their tenants.

The Greenleaf Building was built in 1927. Jacobs Jewelers operates on its ground floor.

The building has been largely empty since the anchor tenant, the Foley & Lardner law firm, moved out in June. Its ownership reverted back to the holder of the mortgage, Allied Capital Corp., in July.

Allied says the property is under a purchase contract while the interested buyer performs his due diligence. Allied Vice President Michael Greenblatt declined to provide any other details about the matter.

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This is the view from the fifth floor of the Greenleaf Building, showing the atrium and a view of the new downtown library. WILL DICKEY/The Times-Union --------------------------------------------------

Terry Lorince, executive director of the Downtown Vision Inc., said the new owner would sell the project as nine full-floor condominiums of 4,600 square feet apiece. The Greenleaf Building is one of the best historically preserved buildings downtown, she said.

"It just reeks quality," she said, "and I believe that's the type of tenant they're looking for."

Two other office condominium projects have done well downtown, Lorrince said.

"It gives you a chance to enter the market at a price you can afford," she said. "Do I think it will do well? Absolutely. You can't beat the area."

Lucas said just one other downtown building has been sold as office condomiums, the Blackstone Building. Purchase of the Greenleaf Building comes with the rights to 120 parking spaces at a nearby garage, he said.

Jim Citrano, a broker for CB Richard Ellis, said it's difficult to predict what the demand would be for office condominiums. But the Blackstone Building's success is telling.

"Obviously, there's some market," Citrano said. "This may be the time to do it. We just haven't seen much job growth. With job growth comes office leasing."

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A corner office on the ninth floor of the Greenleaf Building at 200 Laura St. has a view of City Hall and Hemming Plaza. WILL DICKEY/The Times-Union --------------------------------------------------

Al Battle, managing director of the Downtown Development Authority, said office condominiums provide a good option for companies looking to buy downtown.

The deal is also a good indication on the future of downtown office space.

"I think there's some confidence in the market that someone would take a risk like that," he said.

Downtown's office vacancy rate is about 17 percent. But Lucas said he expects demand for the downtown office condos will grow in the same manner as downtown apartments condominiums.

"I think it's a natural evolution where people start owning their own offices here," he said.

Property records show that the building's previous owner, Greenleaf Associates, bought the building in 1985. The partnership comprised partners of the former Commander Legler law firm, which bought the building to operate there. The firm later merged into Foley & Lardner, and some partners retired or left for other practices.

In February, the Greenleaf Associates said they wanted to sell the building for about $5 million after Foley & Lardner moved to the Modis Building downtown.

christopher.calnanjacksonville.com, (904) 359-4404

This story can be found on Jacksonville.com at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor..._17344974.shtml.

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Those are some incredible pics! I've really taken a liking to this building. You can't beat the views.

But....Please, oh Please remove that ugly atrium. That is by Christmas Wish this year, lol. (and while you're at it, replace those horrid curtains in that corner office, :P )

Oh, and the new library is looking great. I haven't seen it in a while, and exterior construction looks nearly finished. Can't wait 'til the windows are installed!

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I agree with Legend about the Atrium and the curtains. I am also surprised that the ceiling height appears to be only about 8 foot.

Speaking of the library...

I was in Jax last week and saw the new library then. I also saw the model of the new library in the existing main library. The model does not match the actual building going up.

First, the building was to take up the entire block, excluding JMOMA. However, for about half of the frontage on Main street, the building pulls back from the street for a few feet. Since all four floors are affected, this is a significant change in square footage. Also, the Duval Street side has a large portion that is stucco instead of brick.

The roof is also different. The model shows a flat roof for the entire building, except the square part that faces Laura and Monroe. The actual building has an A frame roof over the Monroe street half of the building.

Additionally, the Main Street entrance appears less promenient than what is in the model. The pattern of windows shown in the model is not being contructed either.

I would assume that these changes were made to compensate for cost-overruns from the original design. It appears that the courthouse was not the only BJP project to have this problem, but there certainly has been no mention of this in the media to my knowledge.

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I like that A-Frame roof they added. It gives it a nice touch. Also, I think they did the Main Street setback to give more room for pedestrians. From what I've seen, the auditorium will face Main Street, so maybe they were just making room for all the people at auditorium events.

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So, that is what the glass part is. I was wondering why they have a random glass portion on the hotel.

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Of course the ceiling is only 8 feet; it is an old, old building. That's basically the way they were built way back when......

Beautiful building though. Hope it stays around for awhile.

FLORIDA SKYRISE

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What's only 8' of wall (floor to ceiling) when the view out the windows goes for miles? ;)

This is one of the buildings I have fantasized owning since I was a kid; I am happy to see that it will be staying with us.

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I agree it is a very nice building, but is no one surprised at the prices they are asking for??? Over 700,000 dollars for about 4600 s.f.???? that's about 170 dollars a s.f. With the amount of vacant office buildings downtown why would anyone spend that kind of money to buy office space. there are buildings that are half empty>>> the aetna building has the top 5 floors empty, 550 Water street has over 120,000 s.f. of available space. so do the BA tower and others, not mention buildings that are basically abandoned. its just seems crazy to soend that kind of money>>????

and as for the library, are we just happy to see a new library, because i know one thing... a downtown library should always have a pitched roof (insert sarcasm... why don't we paint it red and call it a barn!)... i do give the A(ll) M(ighty) Stern kudos on the vaulted roof at the main entry area... pretty nice work, just wish it was visible from the ground floor and not the fourth.

thanks

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I thought $170 per square was pretty reasonable. You can't buy parts of any of the buildings you mention. You can't really buy 4000 sq downtown unless you rehab something which will most likely cost you more than $170 per when done. Also the building is in excellent shape inside and out, I've toured it.

If you are a smaller business who would rather have an asset than pay rent, vacancy rates mean squat. Just thinking outloud.

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I agree it is a very nice building, but is no one surprised at the prices they are asking for???  Over 700,000 dollars for about 4600 s.f.????  that's about 170 dollars a s.f. 

Keep in mind that RESIDENCES downtown are going for $200, 250 per foot and up. That's just for a place to live, not a commercial money-making enterprise.

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First, the building was to take up the entire block, excluding JMOMA.  However, for about half of the frontage on Main street, the building pulls back from the street for a few feet.  Since all four floors are affected, this is a significant change in square footage.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Due to the elevation change, between Laura and Hogan Streets, a 5th floor was added. This floor, with its main entrance on Main Street, will house a 400-seat auditorium, meeting rooms and a "pre-function" gallery. I assume the area along Main Street was moved back to allow for a larger entry area and courtyard for overflow pedestrian space.

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Keep in mind that RESIDENCES downtown are going for $200, 250 per foot and up.  That's just for a place to live, not a commercial money-making enterprise.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

i agree that residences in the downtown area are going for about $200 s.f., but that has a nbalcony, mrble bathrooms and is brand new with all sorts of amenities, and i expect living, especially condos.. to be selling in that range. this is raw empty space with tacky carpet and curtains (did you see the picture?) it just seems to me that the exodus to the surburban office park has more to do than just parking>>> there is also economics, and what you get for the money. I am a little weary of turning downtown into a mass loft situation... i think about SOHO in NY and the reason that worked because artists could get a lot of raw space (no carpet) for very cheap, nobody wanted it. and when the artists come in, thus follows the rich art buyer>>> and a movement begins. Jax= development company comes in a builds one bedroom apartments and calls them lofts, charges rent higher rent than the burbs.

we can all be visionaries... but let's not forget reality???

thanks

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this is raw empty space with tacky carpet and curtains (did you see the picture?).... 

we can all be visionaries...  but let's not forget reality???

thanks

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Those curtains are horrible :P , I've seen them in person, but they are not representative of the interior. Shown was an executive office of what had to be a gator fan. THe view beyond those curtains is one of the best in the city. It is actually very nice inside. Since I'm not paid for this endorsement, I'll quit, but if there is any other finished out property downtown for $170 per or less, please post to this board....

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i agree that residences in the downtown area are going for about $200 s.f., but that has a nbalcony, mrble bathrooms and is brand new with all sorts of amenities, and i expect living, especially condos..

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I would assume that these changes were made to compensate for cost-overruns from the original design. It appears that the courthouse was not the only BJP project to have this problem, but there certainly has been no mention of this in the media to my knowledge.

You know why you heard nothing in the media? Which mayor got this thing off the ground. Which mayor got the Courthouse off the ground?

As far as the Greenleaf Building, I know the atrium looks really bad from the outside, but that was a good picture out towards Hemming Plaza. Maybe we can work out some sort of compromise.

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