At least some of the tenants are scheduled to move back into the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday. And that’s sooner than many expected.
“The initial word was three or four months,” said Charlie Jimerson of Jimerson & Cobb law firm. “At least that was the scuttlebutt. But when the management sends out an email that it may be weeks or months, no tenant reads the weeks part. He only sees the months.”
But the law firm has gotten the OK to move back its 26 employees into its offices on the 14th floor.
And a spokesman for Wells Fargo, the building’s title tenant, said all 400 of the bank’s employees also will be moving back Wednesday.
The 37-story building in the heart of downtown has been closed since Hurricane Irma filled its basement parking garage with water, sending tenants scrambling for other work spaces. The building’s management sent out an an email on Friday saying reopening was getting near, but didn’t give a date.
The power had gone back on late last week.
On Tuesday morning, Wells Fargo found out that it could send its employees back in on Wednesday, said Michael Gray, spokesman for the bank. The bank sent about 100 of its employees to its offices in Metro Square on Philips Highway. Others worked from home or other places on their own, he said.
The River Club also got word it could send employees back in Wednesday, a spokeswoman said. But it will have to be restocked and the staff is hoping to have it back to serving meals by the end of the week.
Jimerson said lawyers and some of the staff have been working from their homes, but some were at iVenture Solutions, a client of the firm.
“It was less than ideal,” Jimerson said. “But our team is tough as hell. We haven’t really missed a beat. We’ve been going to court, closed a couple of business transactions and already won a trial during this.”
It’s been a particularly tough time for him. Irma’s waters took most of what he owns, including his home on the river in Ortega.
“My home, my car and 90 percent of my personal possessions,” Jimerson said. “My house, I think it will have to be bulldozed.”
Meanwhile, some Wells Fargo Center tenants are still in the dark. Regency Centers, the shopping center owner/operator, hasn’t heard anything about when it might move back, spokesman Eric Davidson said. The 200 employees the company had in the Wells Fargo Center are now in CSX space on the Southside.
Lisa Gufford, managing member of Executive Suite Professionals where five of the Wells Fargo Center tenants have set up their offices, said she heard that a few of them will be returning on Friday.
“Some have told me they’ll stay for the month because they paid up front,” she said. “But others want to go back as soon as they can.”
Roger Bull: (904) 359-4296