Author Topic: A new office tower for JEA coming soon?  (Read 23391 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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A new office tower for JEA coming soon?
« on: August 19, 2015, 03:00:02 AM »
A new office tower for JEA coming soon?



We've recently learned that the downtown campus the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA), once gleefully proclaimed a Christmas present to JEA, is now viewed as a crumbling albatross. To rid itself of the imposing liability, the JEA is moving forward with study to determine if it should retrofit, move, or demolish and rebuild their 19-story downtown headquarters. If we view this situation outside of the JEA's perspective, the resolution becomes quite clear.

Read More: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2015-aug-a-new-office-tower-for-jea-coming-soon

I-10east

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Re: A new office tower for JEA coming soon?
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2015, 03:38:11 AM »
We didn't demo the Barnett Building, City Hall Annex, the old Independent Life, and many other replaced buildings. I see no reason why this one should come down either, esp when there are so many other vacant spots available DT. I absolutely LOVE the view of the skyline BTW. 

Gunnar

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Re: A new office tower for JEA coming soon?
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2015, 05:15:25 AM »
I feel that the suggestion to sell the existing building and convert it back to mixed use while building a new one (please don't make it so fugly) sounds like a reasonable proposal.

But this:
Quote
However, the JEA believes the structure is a safety hazard because it has an underground parking garage, making it a possible target for a bomb in a vehicle.

Seriously ? The JEA building in DT Jacksonville being a potential terrorist target ? Who comes up with this ? Or are they thinking about really upset clients ?

Unfortunately nothing is impossible but I still find this scenario highly unlikely.
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mtraininjax

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Re: A new office tower for JEA coming soon?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2015, 06:36:03 AM »
The downtown JEA building should never house critical components of the building. JEA has many buildings and facilities located around Jacksonville to handle the operations aspect of its business. Thinking it had all these critical components downtown would be akin to thinking that CSX had its railroad operations center on the river, duh-in case of flood- ugh!

So what you see downtown is merely for the people and operational discussions, the bulk of the transmission stuff is carried out in the suburbs in various locations. They don't need a new 19 story building, with all the empty space available, they really only need a sweet deal from the city to get into a nice building downtown and call it their own.
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Charles Hunter

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Re: A new office tower for JEA coming soon?
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2015, 06:56:56 AM »
Why isn't Renovate A Vacant Downtown Building (Barnett/Laura Trio?) part of the equation?

thelakelander

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Re: A new office tower for JEA coming soon?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2015, 07:13:16 AM »
Good question. I can only assume it would be the same as renovating the place they're already in. It seems pretty clear they want a certain type of product that may not be available. Thus, the things an existing structurally sound structure like 21 West Church Street has, that should be considered amenities, are being viewed as negatives.
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tufsu1

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Re: A new office tower for JEA coming soon?
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2015, 08:20:22 AM »
great job on this Ennis!

ChriswUfGator

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Re: A new office tower for JEA coming soon?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2015, 08:31:50 AM »
Since when does it cost $50mm to replace or upgrade 8 cable elevators and some plumbing in a 19 story building?

Obviously they've decided they want a new building, the die is cast. This strikes me as just part of the sales pitch. But come on, $50mm for that? You gotta be kidding.


vicupstate

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Re: A new office tower for JEA coming soon?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2015, 08:45:34 AM »
Since when does it cost $50mm to replace or upgrade 8 cable elevators and some plumbing in a 19 story building?

Obviously they've decided they want a new building, the die is cast. This strikes me as just part of the sales pitch. But come on, $50mm for that? You gotta be kidding.

Yeah, it certainly sounds like a decision is already made and this is just justification/window dressing for the critics.

Are there other buildings DT that are empty or nearly so that could be bought and rehabbed?  The Laura Trio would be pretty tricky given it is three separate buildings and each has a small footprint.  Barnett might be a good option.

I fear that JEA will want to build a suburban style 'complex' on the Northbank somewhere. Frankly they should have considered building new on the 42 acres they just sold on the Southbank.  It could be a good office user for Healthy Town.   
     
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strider

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Re: A new office tower for JEA coming soon?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2015, 08:47:10 AM »
Downtown needs new buildings as much as it needs to have the historic buildings saved and reused.  If anyone should build new in our economic environment, it is entities like JEA. Like that home owner who lovingly restores a historic house, JEA can build its dream home and not worry if it can pay for itself with leases or will appraise high enough to justify the expense, but rather only be concerned that it can be a proper home for several decades. And yes, the key is to keep it downtown.

Good job Ennis, now if we can only get JEA to listen to you.....including the part about selling off the exiting building at a great deal for someone to help insure it does get used. Jacksonville often seems reluctant to do that for some reason.
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Captain Zissou

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Re: A new office tower for JEA coming soon?
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2015, 09:05:24 AM »
Ennis, hopefully they're putting your check in the mail right now.  If this is the song and dance they feel they need to go through to justify new construction, that's fine, but $1M for a study on a single building is still absurd.  Chris is right.  Renovations wouldn't cost $50M, so it's clear they want new construction.  I don't think anyone is morally opposed to that, so let's get the show on the road.

NaldoAveKnight

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Re: A new office tower for JEA coming soon?
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2015, 09:21:41 AM »
I feel that the suggestion to sell the existing building and convert it back to mixed use while building a new one (please don't make it so fugly) sounds like a reasonable proposal.

+1

This idea solves a lot of problems.  Have you ever tried to live in the same house you were renovating?  It's not fun.  What elevators, bathrooms, etc will the JEA employees use as the old ones are being worked on?  It doesn't make any sense to renovate the building as the current staff continues to work there.  Why not repurpose the building as mixed use after a new building is built on some vacant downtown land?  This makes everyone happy.

1.)  Downtown gets more citizens.
2.)  Downtown gets more businesses.
3.)  Downtown gets a new building on unused land that is currently an eyesore.
4.)  JEA employees don't have to walk multiple stories as the elevator is being overhauled.  I'm sure they have pregnant and physically disabled employees.  Expecting a disabled or pregnant person to use the stairs is not a great plan.

While I understand the urban renewal bias of this website (I myself have done and am in the middle of an expensive urban renewal project), just painting the 'save everything' and 'anything new is bad' brush on all development seems short sighted in this case.


thelakelander

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Re: A new office tower for JEA coming soon?
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2015, 09:22:07 AM »
No one raised cain when COJ moved into the Ed Ball Building. IMO, JEA be better off presenting an argument that they've outgrown the space or that it's simply too obsolete, making their operation pretty inefficient in today's environment. Both of those perspectives are logical and simple to understand. 

In terms of what's best for DT Jax, having JEA "security up" that mixed-use retail complex is like having a convention center in a train station! ;)  DT Jax would be a lot better off if we stop trying to stuff square pegs into round holes. Get them a space more conductive to their needs and utilize the existing structures as another 24/7-type of anchor along Laura Street.
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jcjohnpaint

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Re: A new office tower for JEA coming soon?
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2015, 10:03:44 AM »
Great job!!  Great tie into yesterdays article.  I do hope they build for future needs if they do build new.  I hope you email the link to JEA :D

Josh

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Re: A new office tower for JEA coming soon?
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2015, 11:02:11 AM »
Quote
According to 1988 interviews with JEA's director Royce Lyles, JEA would move 300 workers into the complex and that it would meet the needs of the JEA for at least the next 20 years. Well 20 years is quickly approaching and the building now houses 758 employees, more than double what was initially envisioned.

Second time I've used this recently, but....