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JEA Continues To Plan For New Headquarters Despite Possible Sale

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Ryan Companies US Inc.
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Via Jacksonville Record
This renderng shows the planned headquarters for JEA.

JEA’s Oct. 23 deadline to cancel its lease agreement with Ryan Companies US Inc. for a proposed Downtown headquarters is near, but a memo from Managing Director and CEO Aaron Zahn says the utility is continuing to plan for the project.

In an interoffice memo dated Oct. 2, Zahn told JEA board members that utility officials are “conducting further programing work to compile and confirm building size, functions and planned departmental adjacencies” which should be complete by mid-November. 

The memo is included in the Tuesday board meeting packet, according to WJCT News partner the Jacksonville Daily Record.

The timeline outlined in the memo goes beyond the lease cancellation extension date that Ryan and JEA agreed to in September. The lease was approved by the JEA board June 25.

The developer received conceptual design approval Sept. 19 for the proposed $72.2 million, 200,000 square-feet Downtown headquarters building at 325 W. Adams St.

The development includes a proposed 313,000-square-foot, nine-story parking garage with 899 spaces and 8,500 square feet of ground floor retail space. A 4,900-square-foot outdoor urban open space also is planned for the site.

Ryan will have to receive final approval from DDRB before site work can begin.

The exit clause was included in the lease because JEA’s consideration to sell off its assets created uncertainty around the utility’s need for a new high-rise headquarters.

Zahn said previously JEA could cancel the deal with Ryan and move its headquarters to a smaller existing location in South Jacksonville if privatization doesn’t proceed.

JEA’s Oct. 22 board meeting is one day before the deadline. Zahn is expected to brief the board on the proposed corporate campus. The utility still could opt out, but no board action on the lease is scheduled for the meeting.

An expanded version of this story that includes a list of the companies still vying for JEA is at JaxDailyRecord.com.