Commercial firm believes metro move will help business

A commercial real estate firm is moving from its suburban office to downtown Jacksonville.

A commercial real estate firm is moving its suburban office to nearby Jacksonville, Fla.

Cushman & Wakefield of Florida Inc., signed a lease for a 4,800-square-foot office in downtown Jacksonville in the historic 12-story building of 121 Atlantic Place. The commercial firm will take over the building's entire ninth floor and will move all of its employees there from Deerwood South, according to the Jacksonville Business Journal.

The expansion of the new space will cost around $300,000.

"We'll be in a much better position to pick up business," Buddy Register, a senior director of office brokerage at the firm, told the Business Journal. "Jones Lang LaSalle, CBRE and Colliers all have assignments Downtown. We need to increase our presence."

Register and Bob Retherford, a fellow senior director of office brokerage, haven't had offices in downtown Jacksonville since the late 1970s. The majority of Cushman offices throughout the country are found in central business districts of metro areas, however, and Retherford said optimism is increasing about the move.

The current Cushman office in Deerwoord South is roughly 5,000-square-feet. The new office will be able to accommodate a larger number of employees. Register said he expects to hire at least five additional people for the company's brokerage and property management services.

Hired by Cushman in July, Traci Jenks has led the charge for new office space. Jenks is the senior director of office brokerage services.

"When I was considering making the move, a big item of discussion for me was the location of the office," Jenks said. "I'm a big proponent for downtown, and I was pretty much told that, 'If you come on, we will move downtown,' and I'm so pleased it is going to be a lot sooner than I had anticipated it would be."

Jenks appeals to city council
Jenks, who is also the NAIOP president, is urging the Jacksonville City Council, along with a group of commercial real estate professionals, to retain $9 million for a downtown revitalization plan.

The NAIOP of Northeast Florida, which has been a major advocate of revitalization efforts in the downtown area, sent a letter to each of the 19 city council members to persuade them not to reallocate the money.

"In order to draw interest from private enterprises, the City of Jacksonville must maintain a high level of certainty and stability in its actions," Jenks wrote in the letter. "The suggestion of diverting funds for downtown will generate the uncertainty that the city cannot afford."

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