Porter House Mansion approved for exterior renovations

The city approved a permit Dec. 23 for River City Contractors Inc. to make exterior renovations to the Porter House Mansion at 510 N. Julia St. Downtown at a project cost of $284,990.

Called Phase 2, the project includes entry concrete and masonry, a steel staircase and handrails, siding, finishes, chairlift equipment and electrical, fire alarm, HVAC and mechanical work.

The city approved a permit Feb. 19 for Phase 1 interior work at $200,100.

The two phases total about $485,000.

That Phase 1 project included ADA and restroom renovations, interior demolition, carpentry, doors, hardware, trim, finishes and electrical, fire alarm, plumbing, HVAC, mechanical and sprinkler work.

The Downtown Investment Authority board voted 7-0 on Aug. 18 to approve a forgivable and deferred loan package of $670,000 for the project from the city’s Downtown Preservation and Revitalization Program.

The development agreement needs City Council approval before it is final.

Porter House Mansion approved for exterior renovations

JWB Real Estate Capital, led by President Alex Sifakis, paid $2.6 million in August 2020 for the three-story, almost 16,000-square-foot historic structure that was built in 1902.

The company plans to lease 4,300 square feet in the basement to a restaurant/retail operator and make 10,000 square feet available on the upper three floors for a single-tenant office space.

JWB expects the total development cost to be $2.99 million.

JWB will add an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant lift during the renovations as well as replace an exit stairwell; interior ADA work; install fire alarm and sprinkler systems; remodel a bathroom; and paint the structure.

DIA staff said the financial protections for the city are linked to the completion of the renovation work and the total capital investment.

If the development cost falls below $2,956,869, the loan amounts will be reduced proportionately.

Sifakis said the original architect was Henry John Klutho, who helped in the reconstruction of Jacksonville after the Great Fire of 1901 destroyed Downtown.

On Aug. 10, Council designated the Porter House Mansion, known as the Thomas V. Porter Residence, as a local landmark.

A Jacksonville Planning and Development Department report calls it “the last grand home in Jacksonville’s Downtown” that is a “significant visual reminder of the city’s historical and architectural heritage.”

Staff Writer Mike Mendenhall contributed to this report