Downtown Spotlight: Matthew Clark

Retail Specialist Matthew Clark leased more than 43,000 sq. ft. of retail and office space Downtown last year. To name a few, he’s signed leases on Midtown Deli, BodyJax Fitness, the Health Planning Council, Diversions, K. Anthony and the Might as Well Café set to open later this summer.

Matthew is a genuine guy: both easygoing and passionate about Downtown, which might help explain his success. It takes a sense of vision to open a business Downtown – to take a space and give it new life. Spend some time with him and you can see just how good he is at selling that vision: one of open, adaptable and contemporary spaces, a trend many businesses are turning to as their employees are demanding creative work environments and an authentic and active urban settings.

Jacksonville Bank Building

As the driving force of Prime Realty’s retail sales engine, one of Matthew’s Downtown focuses is the Jacksonville Bank building on the corner of Laura and Forsyth streets. With Jacksonville Bank its only tenant not long ago, this ten-story class A office building is quickly coming back to life. Beginning with a $2.5 million renovation by its owners in 2011, today, the property is being redeveloped with new contemporary and airy building standards. Floors have been stripped of their tiny floor plans, and are being built out as new tenants make the move. One such tenant is the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida. Upon entering the office, you are greeted by a large, vibrant lobby, a contemporary kitchen commons for employees, and open offices full of natural light. So much for hiding the office kitchen in the back! The second floor of the building now boasts nearly 13,000 sq. ft. dedicated to BodyJax Fitness, a large gym loft, which houses extensive cardio and weight machines and more. Below, much of the first floor is occupied by Midtown Deli, which serves fresh, healthy fare from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. during the workweek. A former staple of the Southside, Midtown Deli made the move Downtown along with EverBank Centre and now reports that their sales are higher than at their former JTB/I-95 location.

Elks Building

Just down the street, the Elks Building, on the corner of Laura and Adams streets paints and even better picture of Matthew’s success. The building—which houses locally owned and operated retailers such as: Diversions, a retailer dedicated to all things relaxing; Strght & Nrrw Boutique Clothing Co., a lifestyle fashion brand; and the high-end KAnthony Boutique, who lines the racks with Badgley Mischka, Lotusgrace, Eva Franco and Chanel accessories; as well as office space—is one 900 sq. ft. storefront away from 100% occupancy.

In 2013, Matthew is looking to continue the trend of bringing businesses Downtown. Average retail and office space prices per square-foot are comparable if not better than other parts of town, but according to Matthew, the Downtown package—with its walkable dining, entertainment, retail and more—makes it an excellent value for businesses and their employees.

Selling the vision: Open office plan for the Schultz Building, another of Matthew’s Downtown properties.