Developers Marc Peter Kozman and Magdi Samuel said they are working on a general contractor selection and hope to renovate the former FBI building in Arlington “as soon as possible” into 118 apartments.
“Jacksonville is a beautiful city,” said Kozman, who lives near Toronto, on a September 18 visit to Jacksonville.
“It made sense to us.”
Kozman said Jacksonville has a diversified economy and is not dependent on tourism.
“We can see the work downtown,” he said, and the area has a good school system and marketplace that attracts students and young professionals.
“It’s an attractive market,” he said.
The project architect is Fisher Koppenhafer.
Previously submitted plans indicate the building will be converted into 70 one-bedroom units and 48 two-bedroom units. The plans show a gym, relaxation areas, amenities, and a courtyard.
The City Council issued Ordinance 2020-0295 on Re-zoning and 2020-0294 on Land Use Change on August 11th.
Kozman has converted the property from Commercial / General-2 and community, residential and office buildings into a planned residential unit.
Land use changed from commercial and office categories to densely populated residential areas.
The engineering and architecture consultancy Halff Associates Inc. applied to the St. Johns River Water Management District for a permit exemption to convert the commercial office building 7820 Arlington Expressway into low-income housing.
Kozman said his group is not targeting any particular renters market but is aware of the area’s demographics. He said rents would be in line with the neighborhood.
The application of the Water Management District limited site work to landscape islands in the existing parking lot. A permit is not required, said the district.
Kozman Realty Inc. paid $ 1.2 million for the vacant building, according to a deed executed on September 26, 2019. It handed the property over to a related group, Theotokos Holdings LLC, in July. Samuel is a partner.
The city approved the interior demolition in November.
The six-story, 90,000-square-foot building was developed in 1975 on 4.79 acres of land.
Kozman has a registration mailing address in Jacksonville Beach.
In a written description dated Feb. 19, Halff Associates, represented by Joe Loretta, said the project is expected to be completed in one phase in 12-15 months.
It is said that the former office building is being refurbished along with 5,675 square meters of storage and maintenance buildings. The minimum of 17,700 square feet of non-residential space, including amenities and storage, would be for local residents only.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation rented the building for the Jacksonville field office until the office moved to a state-owned building on 6061 Gate Parkway in 2009. The building was largely empty after the FBI moved.
Commercial real estate website LoopNet.com previously said the Class C office building had been destroyed and had no power, “which is contributing to the demise of its visible condition.”
The website said the building could be useful to “a savvy value-add investor” who would realize it has better use or could be held for development.
“It seemed like an opportunity to serve the community,” Kozman said.
“Everyone needs an apartment”
Kozman said he is preparing to file a building permit, likely as the 7820 Arlington Apartments, until his group has a name.