A guide to executive suites and office space to rent in Jacksonville as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting offices in Jacksonville.
History & Geography
The largest city in the state of Florida, Jacksonville is also one of the largest ports on the East Coast and among the most prosperous and economically dynamic cities in the region. Jacksonville lies on the Atlantic Ocean and straddles the Trout River, a large tributary of the nearby St Johns River. As well as being the most populous in the state, Jacksonville is the largest city in the US by landmass. Originally the area around Jacksonville was inhabited by the Saturiwa people. The first European to travel in the area was French explorer Jean Ribault who mapped the St Johns River. Settlements grew up around the river, but it was only after Spain ceded Florida Territory to the US in 1821 that the town of Jacksonville was founded – named after Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the US. During the US Civil War Jacksonville was a major supply center for the Confederate forces, and was consequently blockaded by the Union Navy. After the war the city became a popular tourist attraction, though this was disrupted by the Great Fire of 1901 in which the city’s business district was destroyed and many thousands of its residents left homeless. The city was quickly rebuilt however and continued to expand. During the 1940s the US Navy established a large presence in the city due to its deepwater port and became a major employer, boosting the local economy. After WWII massive suburbs were built on the outskirts of the city and much of the wealthier population moved to these areas. In 1968 the city was consolidated with an aim towards better conditions for those living in the inner city. In 2000 a new plan was approved for the regeneration and renovation of much of downtown Jacksonville, including the rebuilding of major roads, economic stimulus and environmental protection.
A main bulwark of Jacksonville’s economy is its port. The city has the largest deepwater port in the South and consequently is a leader in the region for the import of automobile parts as well as being a transport and logistics hub. In the last few decades Jacksonville has managed to diversify its economy thoroughly, which has led to a more steady economy and increasing prosperity for the city. Today some of Jacksonville’s main industries are biomedical technology, financial services, insurance, manufacturing and distribution. Currently Jacksonville is the tenth fastest growing city in the US and recently Forbes ranked it as the third best city in the country to find a job. Among the companies which have a presence in the city are CSX Corporation, Fidelity National Financial, Fidelity National Information Services and Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. RailAmerica and the Florida East Coast Railway are also headquartered in the city. Another bulwark of the city’s economy is the large military presence in the city. It has the third largest amount of Navy personnel in the country and the Florida Air National Guard is also based at the city’s airport. There is also a large Marine Corp base in the area.
Tourism & Culture
Jacksonville sees nearly three million visitors every year, who spend on average USD one billion. Approximately ten percent of the workforce is employed in the tourism industry, making a major contributor to the local economy. The city hosts a number of annual events which see tens of thousands of visitors come to Jacksonville. Among the most popular are the Gate River Run, a 9.3 mile road race which annually have over 13,000 participants. The Gator Bowl American football game, which has been held in the city since 1946 is also a major draw, as is the Florida-Georgia game, which is known locally as ‘the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party’. The Jacksonville Jazz Festival is the second largest jazz festival in the country, and is held downtown every year. Springing the Blues, held every year at Jacksonville Beach is one of the oldest and most respected blues festivals in the world. Among the most popular attractions in the city are the Jacksonville Riverwalks, walks down St Johns River which allow one to see almost the entire city’s skyline. Also the Jacksonville Landing, a shopping and dining facility opened in 1987 o the river is another popular destination.
The city is served by Jacksonville International Airport, located on the north side of the city and full accessible by bus and taxi. Jacksonville itself has a comprehensive bus system as well as a people mover called the JTA Skyway. A third form of public transport are the popular trolley services which run downtown. Jacksonville also has an Amtrak Station, which is served by the Silver Meteor and Silver Star, two long distance trains. Recently JAXPORT cruise terminal opened which serves approximately 170,000 cruise ship passengers every year to locations like Mexico, Key West and the Bahamas.
Jacksonville’s economy was hit hard by the financial crisis and the following recession, however in recent years it has begun to recover. Overall office vacancy in the city currently stands at 22.1 percent and the city has had a positive absorption rate of 12,140 square feet. Unemployment in the city is currently at approximately ten percent and it has been predicted that this will drop in the coming year. Currently the average price in the CBD is USD 19.29 per square foot. Rental rates are predicted to remain stable in the future and it is generally thought that the days of negative absorption rates are over.