Downtown buildings get renovation

Hotel, restaurants, bank, bar to come

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Three buildings in the heart of downtown that have been vacant for years will soon be getting a makeover.

The buildings are called the Laura Street Trio and were all built over a century ago, but have sat empty for quite some time.

Channel 4 learned Sunday from the Mayor's office that these buildings have been purchased and will soon become a hotel, two restaurants, a commercial bank and a rooftop bar.

"I believe it's a very good opportunity for Jacksonville, especially the downtown community," said Ricardo Montoya.

The mayor's office confirmed on Sunday that the buildings were bought by developer Steve Adkins.

The plans for the complex involve turning Marble Bank, which was built in 1902, into a high-end restaurant.

The Bisbee Building's ground floor, which was built in 1908, will be another restaurant, with the rest of the nine stories becoming the hotel. The Florida Life Building's 12 stories, built in 1911, will also become part of the hotel.

Adkins also plans on building a four story parking garage. The mayor's office released a statement to Channel 4 that reads:

"Since taking office, Mayor Brown has been focused on activating downtown with projects that make a difference. The Laura Street Trio can be one of those initiatives. While it is premature to discuss negotiations, Mayor Brown is interested in learning more from the developers of Laura Street Trio and working with the independent Downtown Investment Authority, which will review any proposal."

Many people that Channel 4 talked to downtown believe this new plan can only be beneficial to the city of Jacksonville.

"It's good for the circulation of the city, you know, revamping the economy, getting things going, bringing more money to the city, more jobs," said Keith McClendon.

The entire project will cost about $40 million. The money was borrowed from Stache Investments Corporation which is headed by Jaguars owner Shad Khan. However, Khan is not involved in the redevelopment.