City Council Approves Florida Blue Office Space for JSO

City Council Approves Florida Blue Office Space for JSO
New office space for JSO Homeland Security Division will soon be available at the Florida Blue Building on Riverside Avenue.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s (JSO) Homeland Security Division will soon be getting new office space in Brooklyn’s Florida Blue office tower.

Currently, 135 of the division’s 205 employees are housed at a JSO facility at the intersection of Liberty and Beaver streets while the remaining officers are at additional off-site locations.

At a Sept. 5 Neighborhoods, Community Services, Public Health and Safety Committee meeting, JSO Homeland Security Division Chief Steve Gallaher said, “This will enable us to grow not only for what we have but for the 10-year projection [of 250 employees].”

In a 16-to-0 vote at its Sept. 12 meeting, the Jacksonville City Council approved Ordinance 2023-0494, authorizing the lease for the new office space.

A lease will be executed between the City of Jacksonville and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc. for 58,959 square feet of office space across the first, ninth and 10th floors at the Florida Blue building located at 532 Riverside Ave. Included in the lease is 3,567 square feet of garage space in addition to the “five parking spaces per 1,000 rentable square feet.”

The legislative summary stated the JSO is the lease’s designated oversight agency. The lease includes an initial rate of $20 per square foot for the office space, and $6 per square foot for the additional garage space, with an annual 3% escalation rate.

A tenant improvement allowance of $3.45 million will be provided by Florida Blue while JSO will be required to contribute $1 million for tenant improvements, which will come from JSO’s fiscal year 2022-23 budget. Additionally, “the landlord will oversee and manage the build-out of all leased areas at a ‘not-to-exceed’ cost of $5,447,950.”

The initial lease term is 149 months, with two, five-year renewal options. Per the bill’s legislative summary, the new lease goes into effect in the fiscal year 2023-24. The costs for the lease will be included in the new budget, which went before city council for approval on Sept. 26.

By Michele Leivas
Resident Community News

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