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Laura Street Trio Developer Eyeing 2015 Renovation Date

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A group of downtown Jacksonville's most iconic buildings could be getting a facelift very soon. 

Developer Steve Atkins, principal and managing director of Jacksonville's SouthEast Group development firm, has plans to begin the renovation of the Laura Street Trio and the Barnett Building as soon as the first quarter of 2015. 

The Laura Street Trio includes the Marble Bank building, the Bisbee Building, and the Florida Life Building. Atkins is waiting on a development agreement with the city, and estimates its completion within the next 90 days.

The renovation, which includes plans for a boutique-style Marriott Courtyard, rental units in the Barnett Building, a bodega grocery market, restaurants, a buzz worthy rooftop bar and more, will take approximately 20 months. Atkins said a major part of the construction will be renovating the original structures.

“The buildings have been open to the elements for over 20 years. They have significant deterioration,” said Atkins. “They are not past the point of no return, but we are able to work together with our contractors and with the city to put those properties back into service.”

Atkins and Lisa Goodrich, the project’s director of marketing and community engagement, joined Melissa Ross to discuss the plans for the Laura Street Trio.

Atkins said he is keeping the renovation local, working with Dasher Hurst Architects and Danis Construction. He also wants to use local labor.

“About 250 jobs will be created over the 20 months during construction, and we are absolutely committed to using local labor,” said Atkins. He added that the economic impact of this project is just as important as the renovation.

These renovations are critical for Jacksonville, said Goodrich.

“If you look at any of our peer cities, there has been one singular pivotal project that sparked all the infill projects and just really the revitalization of those areas,” she said. “This, in the very epicenter of our downtown, is Jacksonville’s pivotal project by far.”

The renovations are estimated to cost $70-80 million, but Atkins said this is what downtown needs. 

“What we’re bringing to market are affordable apartments for rent, along with the hospitality component, and additional mixed-use components with the restaurants and retail," said Atkins. “All the things that are critical for the reactivation of our urban core.”

You can follow Melissa Ross on Twitter @MelissainJax and Annie Black @helloannieblack.

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.