Macquarie expanding at Riverplace Tower

(Courtesy of Financial News and Daily Record)

Australia-based Macquarie Group is expanding onto another floor at Riverplace Tower on the Downtown Southbank.

The financial services company opened in Jacksonville in February 2016 on the fifth floor of the Southbank high-rise and had already leased the fourth story in anticipation of growth.

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When Macquarie Group opened in February 2016 in Riverplace Tower, it showed an open floor plan designed for flexibility.

Now it’s moving into about half of that floor.

Brasfield & Gorrie LLC is the contractor for the $850,000 project to demolish the interior of 8,500 square feet of space. The city is reviewing a permit application.

The project includes demolition of all interior components including partitions, finishes, ceilings and more.

Riverplace Tower is at 1301 Riverplace Blvd.

A company spokesman in New York declined comment about the expansion, the number of employees in Jacksonville or plans to hire more.

Jobs posted online recently for Macquarie in Jacksonville include positions in tax accounting, financial control, financial accounting, product control, regulatory reporting, compliance analyst and financial analyst.

The global financial-services company started with 60 employees on the fifth floor and anticipated reaching 135 employees this year.

However, the two floors can accommodate 250.

“We are anticipating success,” said Glen Skarott, deputy group financial controller, as the office opened.

Skarott, based at the company’s headquarters in Sydney, Australia, started the Jacksonville operation. He led the site search that ended in Jacksonville after the company considered 17 cities in five countries.

Skarott, Macquarie executives and city and business leaders announced in July 2015 the company had chosen Jacksonville as a global banking shared-services office.

The team provides finance, accounting, tax and regulatory support and other services to Macquarie functions in the U.S. and in some European markets.

Its U.S. headquarters is in New York and it has offices around the country. The United States is a large growth market.

In coming to Jacksonville, Macquarie agreed to create 123 jobs by the end of this year and pay an average wage of $64,356, in addition to benefits.

Skarott said 800 applications were made for the initial Jacksonville jobs.

The first 60 employees comprised 40 local hires and 20 transfers from Macquarie Group offices in London, Hong Kong, India, New York, Houston and Sydney.

Jacksonville’s office was designed to comprise five teams: product control; legal entity control; regulatory reporting; tax reporting and compliance; and financial control.

Macquarie initially leased about 17,500 square feet on the fifth floor at Riverplace Tower. That space is set up for 125 employees, but could fit in more, Skarott said previously.

He said then that if Macquarie doesn’t need all of the fourth-floor space, it could sublease it, although Skarott said the preference was to use it.

For those first 123 jobs, the City Council approved taxpayer incentives of $393,600, comprising a Qualified Target Industry grant of up to $147,600 and a training grant up to $246,000.

Macquarie also requested $1.37 million from the state, consisting of the QTI match of up to $590,400, a Quick Action Closing Fund up to $500,000 and a Quick Response Training Grant up to $282,900.

Macquarie said it expects to invest $2.2 million into improving its leased space. Adding in IT, equipment and furniture boosts that to at least $3.1 million.

Last June, the company appointed Anthony Glenn to lead the Jacksonville office starting July 5.

At the time, Macquarie employed about 70 people in Jacksonville and was recruiting about 30 more finance professionals.

It also had invested more than $3 million into the Riverplace Tower offices.

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