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- 2013 - January - 8th -

Vistakon expansion continues, will lease former SuperStock building

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Vistakon, the Jacksonville-based division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., is expanding in Deerwood Park by leasing a building formerly used by SuperStock.

Vistakon, which makes the ACUVUE brand of disposable contact lenses, has developed a 661,174-square-foot headquarters, manufacturing and distribution center at 7500 Centurion Parkway and has expansion plans on that campus. Its major project is a 104,227-square-foot expansion of its distribution center.

Meanwhile, it also plans to lease a building nearby at 7660 Centurion Parkway that formerly housed SuperStock. Plans show build-out of 34,000 square feet.

Vistakon also has been leasing other area space for its functions as it expands.

"Johnson & Johnson Vision Care has begun construction for an expansion of its Jacksonville distribution facility," said spokeswoman Betsy McNiel in a statement.

"The additional space will be used to meet growing capacity requirements. The company also signed a lease for an additional office building in the Deerwood Park area. That space is being renovated to meet business needs," said McNiel, manager of global communications and PR for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.

A building permit application shows Vistakon plans a $1.43 million renovation of a building formerly used by SuperStock. Danis Construction is shown as the contractor for the interior demolition and interior tenant improvements.

The plans show the project as the Vistakon, Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., Global Franchise Headquarters.

It shows renovations to 18,447 square feet on the first floor and 15,007 square feet on the second floor.

First-floor plans show an auditorium, sales areas, commercial operations, conference space, finance and information technology offices and a collaboration video area.

Second-floor plans show a marketing area, executive office areas, a boardroom, conference areas, multipurpose space and other uses.

It also shows space for ODLean, whose website, odlean.com, says it is part of The Vision Care Institute, a limited liability company in the Johnson & Johnson family of companies. Its consulting services address optometric practices, from glasses to medical to staff and cash flow.

McNiel said the company has about 1,800 employees in Jacksonville but "no significant increase in hiring is expected for the distribution center."

The Jacksonville campus consists of office, research, laboratory, manufacturing and distribution areas.

Genesee & Wyoming renovating space

The City OK'd tenant build-out and renovations of about 18,000 square feet of office space at 13901 Sutton Park Drive S. for Genesee & Wyoming Inc.

Tenant Contractors Inc. will handle the projects, which total almost $189,000. The work encompasses suites 160, 180 and 330, permits show. The offices are in Sutton Place at Windsor Parke in South Jacksonville.

Another permit is pending for remodeling of 2,440 square feet of space in suite 150, which increases the space being built-out to more than 20,000 square feet. MRL Construction is shown on the permit application as the contractor for the $40,000 project, boosting the project costs to more than $220,000.

Genesee & Wyoming Inc. Corporate Communications Director Michael Williams said the company maintains its operations headquarters at the site and the permits are for "several expansions to the existing office space to house the consolidated G&W/RailAmerica functions in Jacksonville," he said, referring to the Genesee & Wyoming acquisition of Jacksonville-based RailAmerica Inc.

"We're still finalizing those plans," he said of the office renovations, adding he did not have any specific information.

He confirmed the company was closing the RailAmerica offices and consolidating at Sutton Place.

RailAmerica operates in leased space at the Avenues Office Building at 7411 Fullerton St., Suite 300.

Genesee & Wyoming is based in Greenwich, Conn.

Genesee completed its acquisition of Jacksonville-based RailAmerica on Oct. 1 but was waiting for approval from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board before taking control of RailAmerica's operations. The merger of the two short-line railroad operators was approved Dec. 20 by the transportation board.

The Daily Record reported Monday that Genesee & Wyoming said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it assumed full control of RailAmerica on Dec. 28 and dismissed 13 former RailAmerica employees Dec. 31.

The company said the job cuts are part of a plan to eliminate redundant senior management positions.

Genesee filed a notice last month under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act saying it could cut 50 jobs from RailAmerica's headquarters operations.

The SEC filing said Genesee still expects to ultimately cut that many jobs, but the final number won't be determined until an analysis is completed during the first quarter.

Greencore adding jobs

Greencore Group, a Dublin, Ireland-based convenience-foods manufacturer with operations in the Jacksonville International Tradeport, advertised for jobs in the weekend papers of The Florida Times-Union.

Greencore said it will hold a career fair from 10 a.m.-noon Jan. 15-17 at the Gateway Jacksonville WorkSource Career Center at 5000-2 Norwood Ave.

Greencore USA, created in 2008, operates six sites, including in Jacksonville, to make chilled prepared foods meals and prepackaged sandwiches. It said in the ads that it is a key supplier to Starbucks and 7-Eleven convenience stores.

The ad seeks line production operators for the third shift.

The company has about 11,000 employees internationally and $1.7 billion in annual sales.

The Daily Record reported Jan. 1 the City approved a permit for contractor Richard Claude Haskew to add three work areas, at a cost of $300,000, within Greencore's 42,000 square feet of space in North Jacksonville.

Greencore Group bought the H.C. Schau & Son Inc. facility in June. The facility, at 13949 Alvarez Road, produces fresh sandwiches and sushi as well as fresh entrees and other ready-to-eat items sold through retail and convenience store chains, according to the greencore.com site.

Greencore acquired the operation when it bought Schau & Son, the Chicago-based maker and distributor of fresh foods whose two facilities are in Woodridge, Ill., and Jacksonville.

According to the website, the primary offerings at the Jacksonville facility include fresh sandwiches and salads and other deli items; fresh ready meal solutions; fully cooked, extended shelf life Okami brand sushi; and wholesale meat distribution of Nueske's meats.

Plans show functions at the facility include a fish cooler, rice storage, rice cooking, packaging and production, a holding cooler and a holding freezer as well as a locker room, lounge, offices and other space.

Plans indicate future functions could include the cooking, chilling, packing and shipping of chicken.

Greencore bought Marketfare Foods in April. It said the subsequent Schau purchase "will build on the acquisition of Marketfare Foods … by adding scale with 7-Eleven, to whom Schau is a long-term supplier in the Chicago region."

"In addition, Greencore has put in place a multiyear partnership with the new customer to supply its stores with approximately $50 million of Food to Go products on the East Coast and in the Midwest from four of Greencore's facilities," it said.

It said the new business would be phased in between September 2012 and March 2013.

Greencore lists six U.S. sites: Jacksonville; Chicago; Newburyport and Brockton, Mass.; Fredericksburg, Va.; and Salt Lake City.

"Schau, along with Marketfare, will allow us to take a strong step forward in executing the next stage of our U.S. strategy," Greencore CEO Patrick Coveney said in a news release.

"Greencore now has a Food to Go platform in the U.S. that will not only enable us to better serve our existing customers, but also to support what is a significant and exciting new business opportunity," he said.

Ardagh Glass took out $7.3 million loan

Ardagh Group, which bought Tampa-based Anchor Glass Container Corp. in August, took out a $7.27 million mortgage from Citibank in a mortgage agreement dated Nov. 14. The purchase included the 2121 Huron St. glass plant in West Jacksonville.

Property records show the Jacksonville plant encompasses at least 370,000 square feet on 17.6 acres. Records show five buildings, comprising the manufacturing plant and smaller warehouse and utility buildings. The 2012 taxable value was $5.5 million.

Ardagh announced in August it received U.S. regulatory approval and completed the acquisition of Tampa-based Anchor Glass Container from private investment funds managed by Wayzata Investment Partners LLC. The transaction involved a total cash consideration of $880 million, Ardagh said.

Anchor serves the North American food and beverage industries and is the third-largest glass container manufacturer in the U.S., Ardagh said. Anchor makes about 5.6 billion containers a year at its eight plants, including in Jacksonville, and employs about 2,700 people. It has annual revenue of about $800 million.

Anchor has served the breweries operated by Anheuser-Busch, which became known as AB InBev after its 2008 acquisition by Leuven, Belgium-based InBev. Ardagh Group said AB InBev is one of its largest customers.

Ardagh Group produces metal and glass packaging for food, beverage and consumer product brands worldwide. It operates 100 manufacturing plants in 25 countries and employs about 17,700 people.

Along with AB InBev, customers include Heineken, Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Bacardi Martini, Heinz, Nestle, Danone, Unilever, Procter and Gamble, L'Oreal, Snapple, Coca-Cola, Del Monte and other international brands.

Anchor Glass was incorporated in 1997 and reports it serves some of North America's largest brands in the beer, beverage, liquor and consumer product industries and produces glass containers of many designs, sizes and shapes.

While Ardagh has not responded to a question about the number of employees at the Jacksonville plant, previous reports place the range from 200-240.

The documents, recorded Dec. 5, are a mortgage, security agreement, assignments of rents and leases and fixture filing by and from Ardagh Glass Inc. to Citibank's London branch. The real estate address for the filing is 2121 Huron St.

Family Dollar signs, builds, sells

• Signs were approved for three of the newest Family Dollar stores in Jacksonville.

Five signs, at a cost of $11,200, were approved at the Family Dollar at 4302 Moncrief Road. Three signs, at $10,400, were OK'd at the 1556 Monument Road store. Five signs, at $14,800, were approved at 233 E. State St. Signsharks Sign Service Inc. is the contractor for the signs at all three locations.

• Also, the City approved construction Friday for the Family Dollar store Downtown at 233 E. State St. The 9,100-square-foot store is being built by HJB Construction Inc. at a project cost of $350,000. A McDonald's restaurant is planned for construction next to it.

• In property sales recorded Friday, Family Dollar Stores of Florida Inc., based in Charlotte, N.C., sold four properties to Realty Income Properties 13 LLC, based in Escondido, Calif., for a total $7.3 million. Sold were properties at 8120 Atlantic Blvd. for $2.2 million; at 5799 Fort Caroline Road for $1.8 million; at 913 New Berlin Road for $1.66 million; and at 8566 103rd St. for $1.65 million.

VW dealership planned in St. Augustine

Volkswagen of St. Augustine LLC is making plans for a one-story, 11,750-square-foot dealership on 3.67 acres at U.S. 1 and Calle Menendez in St. Augustine. Plans filed with the St. Johns River Water Management District show Matthews Design Group Inc. of St. Augustine as the agent.

Hibbett Sports plans 6th area store

Hibbett Sports intends to open in the Commonwealth Shopping Center, marking its third Jacksonville store and its sixth in the area.

Sign and building permit applications show Hibbett Sports plans a store in 4,810 square feet of space at 1020 Edgewood Ave. N.

Argos Builders LLC is shown as the contractor for the $70,000 build-out.

The Birmingham, Ala.-based chain of sporting goods stores has Jacksonville locations in the Gateway Town Center along Norwood Avenue and at 3000 Dunn Ave., near Lem Turner Road.

Its website, hibbett.com, shows three other stores in Yulee, St. Augustine and Palatka.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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