One Imeson Center competes for Body Central HQ and Supervisor of Elections Office
A year after a Chicago-based investment group bought the former Sears catalog center in North Jacksonville, two projects are proposed within the almost 2 million-square-foot office-warehouse at 1 Imeson Park Blvd.
As reported over the past several days, Jacksonville-based Body Central Corp. proposes to lease and renovate 361,000 square feet of space in the property, moving from a 147,000-square-foot building at 6225 Powers Ave. in Southside.
Also, the City received a rental quote from One Imeson, as the property is called, for the Supervisor of Elections Office.
The two proposals show the property owners are competing for relocations that often are courted heavily by Southside properties and, in the case of the elections office, attempts to build a new office, rebuild another site Downtown or renew a lease at new terms in renovated space at Gateway Shopping Center, near Downtown.
In a project summary filed with the City, fashion retailer Body Central said it would invest $15 million, comprising $5 million in leasehold improvements, $8 million for purchases of machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures for the distribution center portion and $2 million for the corporate headquarters and information technology infrastructure.
Body Central has requested $1.39 million in City and state incentives for the move, saying it also is considering an offer from Georgia to move into an existing facility there.
For the elections office, One Imeson proposes to charge $21,416 a month, rising 3 percent a year, for 50,000 square feet of space.
The landlord would provide $670,000 in improvements to the site and reimburse the elections office $5,000 a year to cover travel costs between the main elections headquarters Downtown and the site. Imeson quoted an 11-year lease, with the first year being rent-free.
One Imeson is competing with a restructured offer by current Gateway Shopping Center landlord Terranova Corp. as well as proposals to build a new elections center.
"One Imeson provides a competitive advantage with the lowest cost, flexibility in size, expedited occupancy to reduce existing lease obligation, new interior build-out to your specifications, on-site generator, more than adequate parking, a location on the bus line and a well-capitalized owner in a building that has proved to be comfortable and secure by numerous national companies," says a Jan. 9 letter to the City from Grubb & Ellis Phoenix Realty Group representatives on behalf of the owners.
GIV Imeson LLC, based in Chicago, bought the 1 Imeson Park Blvd. property in December 2011 from Jacksonville Holdings Inc., which consists of a group that has owned the property since 1994. The property is within Imeson International Industrial Park at Main Street and Heckscher Drive in North Jacksonville.
GIV Imeson bought the 72-acre One Imeson Center site for almost $16.3 million and said it intended to invest about $2.5 million into upgrades to capitalize on port and shipping logistics. Its 2012 taxable value is shown as $15.2 million.
The property was developed in 1974 as a Sears catalog sales distribution center and the office space also has served as an America Online call center and as an operations center for Prudential and Aetna Inc.
The site comprises a 1.7 million-square-foot office-warehouse and about 37 acres of property that can accommodate up to 1 million square feet of space for development, according to a broker representing the property.
"We can handle distribution, manufacturing, outside storage, call center space and development," said Ladson Montgomery, senior vice president and principal of Grubb & Ellis Phoenix Realty Group, which is the brokerage agency for the project, in an interview a year ago after the property sale.
Montgomery declined comment about the Body Central proposal reported last week.
Montgomery signed the Supervisor of Elections proposal letter, along with Senior Vice President Bert Smith and First Vice President Bobby Gatling.
After GIV Imeson bought the property, a GIV representative and Montgomery said GIV had been looking at the property since March 2011. The group looks for property that presents opportunities for leasing and development, which Montgomery said is known as "value-added" property, rather than focusing on fully leased projects.
They said the property is convenient to the Jacksonville Port Authority terminals, which are preparing for the 2014 expansion of the Panama Canal and subsequent storage and distribution opportunities.
The property also is near the traffic corridors of Heckscher Drive, Interstate 295, I-95 and U.S. 17 and also is near the North Jacksonville labor force.
Duval County Property Appraiser records show that the property was sold by SLS Inc. to Jacksonville Center Inc. in 1994 for $16.6 million and then to Jacksonville Holdings Inc. for $29.5 million in 1997.
The Jacksonville Center and Jacksonville Holdings groups consist of many of the same officers, according to state corporate records.
Montgomery said the 1997 price included a financing package, which is reflected in the higher sales figure.
According to GIV and Montgomery a year ago, the pricing will allow it to "be aggressive and to strike deals."
The building contains about 1.6 million square feet of distribution and warehouse space and mezzanine office space of about 92,000 square feet, Montgomery said last year.
The warehouse space has some tenants, including Bacardi and the Komyo distributor of Honda products.
Bacardi, which has a bottling plant in North Jacksonville, uses about 286,000 square feet of warehouse space and Komyo leases about 96,000 square feet.
Komyo America's parent company, Honda Logistics Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Co. Ltd. Komyo provides logistics services, distribution, warehousing, transportation management and other services.
The property has leased out its office space for several functions over the years, including as an America Online call center and as an operations center for Prudential and Aetna Inc.
The America Online center had expanded from 300 employees when it opened in 1995 to 1,700 when it left its 95,000 square feet of space there in 2002 for a new building near the University of North Florida. It subsequently closed and the building at UNF is being used by the university.
GIV Imeson's push to lease space would help minimize the 15.3 percent vacancy rate among industrial properties in North Jacksonville.
The CBRE real estate firm reported last week that the industrial vacancy rate for the fourth quarter, which was October-December, was 11.1 percent overall and 19.2 percent among warehouse-distribution space.
The three largest submarkets for industrial space in Jacksonville are Westside, Northside and Southside.
CBRE said the vacancy rate in the 38.9 million square feet of industrial space in Westside was 6.1 percent.
The Northside's 15.3 percent vacancy rate among 29.96 million square feet was higher than the 14.4 percent vacancy among Southside's 21.2 million square feet of space.
River City Marketplace notes
At the Parkway Shops at River City Marketplace in North Jacksonville, Dick's Sporting Goods was given City approval to add its stockroom racking, shelving and conveyor system and next to it, the City approved a sign permit for Ulta Beauty. The stores are at 14964 Duval Road, also known as Max Leggett Parkway.