Monthly Archives: June 2016
Ameris Bank, which expanded in Jax with the purchase of Jacksonville Bank several years ago, celebrated the recent move of the banks executive headquarters to Jacksonville, a move that was credited to Jacksonville’s impressive pool of talent in the financial services industry. The bank, which still retains its corporate office in Moultrie, GA, has been rapidly expanding in recent years. Ameris recently leased space in Riverplace Tower on the Southbank, and subsequently purchased signage rights for the tower, adding the Ameris logo to the skyline.
Restoration Hardware just opened up an outlet store here in Jacksonville, located in The Shoppes at Southside. RH, a luxury home furnishings store, is taking up 40,000 SF in the former Sports Authority, next to Best Buy. As of April 30th, Restoration Hardware had 19 other outlet stores, and 69 traditional stores in 29 states.
The US. Bureau of Labor Statistics had April 2016 total non-farm employment in the JAX area at 668,200, that’s 22,800 more than April 2015, or a 3.5% increase, that’s DOUBLE the rate of increase for the nation, as shown below. The areas of the strongest growth – Leisure and Hospitality (+7.9%), Construction (+6.6%), and Education and Health Services (+5.1%). The only area showing a loss was Information (-1.1%).
A reception was held in front of the Duval County Main Library this past Thursday, welcoming Wawa to the Northeast Florida community. Wawa’s CEO, Chris Gheysens, was in town and went over Wawa’s plans for Northeast Florida. A large crowd gathered to hear the plans and to get a taste of what is in store. Wawa currently has 4 sites that are in various stages of permitting/approvals, but anticipates closer to 30 long term. Each store costs about $5M and employs 40 people, bringing their total NEFLA investment to $150M and 1,200 jobs. Locations that are currently in the pipeline include:
- Monument Rd and McCormick Rd
- Beach Blvd and Central Pkwy
- Gate Pkwy and Town Center Pkwy
- Blanding Blvd and Filmore St (Orange Park)
Interesting Fact: Wawa is a Native American word for the Canadian Goose, which is the companies logo.
A third Wawa is in the planning phase on Blanding Boulevard, located at Blanding Boulevard and Filmore Street. The site is 1.9 acres and the plans that were filed show 16 fueling stations and a 6,119 SF store. Like the other 2 planned locations and true to Wawa’s site criteria, the store will be located at a lighted intersection. The other two locations are at Beach Boulevard and Central Parkway, and Gate and Town Center Parkways at the St. Johns Town Center. Wawa expects to have up to 25 stores in the market, and currently has several other sites under contract.
If you are wondering who is buying all the new houses around town or you’ve been thinking that I-95 traffic is a little heavier than usual, your gut is spot on. The JAX region’s economy continues to build steam and create more and more jobs as shown in the table below from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. From the economic trough in 2010 – where we were at 580k jobs – that increased a anemic 6k to 8k jobs in 2011 and 2012, respectively, and then 13k to 14k the next two years, but much stronger last year with almost 24k jobs in 2015, or a fairly robust 3.8% increase. Also interesting to note that we eclipsed the pre-Great Recession peak of 631k jobs during 2015 and are approaching 5% higher than that high watermark.
Aetna Inc., who has been located on the Southbank (CBD) since 1999 and has the naming rights to the tower they currently occupy, will be relocating to the suburbs when their lease expires in 2017. The national life insurance company will be moving to the former Bank of America campus, known as Gramercy Woods, located on Southside Boulevard (just north of Phillips Highway). Gramercy Woods is a 1.2M SF office park owned by Gramercy Property Trust (NYSE: GPT). Aetna will occupy 132,000 SF of space in the park.
Colliers International brokered the deal. The team included Chuck Diebel, Robet Selton, Preston Phillips and Lisa McLatchey.
A very interesting article from a fellow blogger Andre Cuadrado of Rhenium Capital on FPC’s – For Profit Colleges – that suggests lenders have caught on and FPCs are having an impact on the CMBS debt markets.