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- 2014 - January - 28th -

More ‘London’ jobs expected in 90 days

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

JAXUSA Partnership President Jerry Mallot said Greencore USA's pledge to expand in Jacksonville is one of several announcements that will result from the London trip by JAX Chamber leaders and Mayor Alvin Brown.

Mallot said Friday he expected more London announcements "in the next 90 days." JAXUSA Partnership is the economic-development division of the JAX Chamber.

Greencore Group, an Ireland-based food preparation company, operates in North Jacksonville near Jacksonville International Airport.

Greencore employees make sushi, sandwiches, salads and other fresh ready-to-eat foods along with ready-to-cook entrees. Major clients nationwide include 7-Eleven, Trader Joe's, Publix Super Markets Inc., Winn-Dixie Stores, BJ's Wholesale Club, Kroger and Walgreens.

The Greencore job pledge isn't unexpected, but it does underscore the attention from Jacksonville leaders during the October visit to London.

"We have some fairly aggressive growth plans," said Greencore USA CEO Liam McClennon in an interview in March with the Daily Record, saying the company expected to boost its Jacksonville workforce from about 70 employees to about 450 within three years.

Mallot said McClennon confirmed Thursday the company's intention to add 160 jobs, just about doubling its current employment, with the potential for 450 jobs through more expansion if warranted.

"They had a number of options across the country and through our discussions in London and here, they have come to the conclusion they want to do it here and are working with the state and the city to support it," Mallot said.

Mallot said Greencore was looking primarily at training needs, "so those discussions are in place with the state and the city."

He didn't specify the potential announcements from the London trip. However, it wouldn't be unlikely for Deutsche Bank or other companies visited on the trip to say they are expanding.

In October, Brown and other Northeast Florida delegates in London for a Jacksonville Jaguars game visited with executives of Germany-based Deutsche Bank, which continues to expand its significant footprint in Jacksonville.

Deutsche Bank opened in Jacksonville in 2008 with 100 jobs, pledging a 1,000-job operations center. It now expects more than 1,600 jobs by the end of 2016, and observers expect many more – especially in light of an Oct. 9 Wall Street Journal report featuring the company's expansion into Northeast Florida.

During the London trip, JAX Chamber President Daniel Davis tweeted a photo of the Jacksonville group at Deutsche Bank, saying the bank's investment in the city "has been substantial and hopefully will be in the future."

In addition to Greencore and Deutsche Bank, Jacksonville delegates also scheduled visits in London with representatives of:

• Solar Power, an Irish company interested in launching a manufacturing facility in the U.S. Southeast

• MarkitSERV, which provides a single gateway for OTC derivatives trade processing

• Naked Energy, a solar technology company

• Jumar, a software company that is considering Florida, Georgia and Missouri to open U.S. operations

• RUMM Limited, an energy monitoring equipment manufacturer

• Rizenjet, an aviation manufacturing and maintenance, repair and operations company

• Sweet Group, a property and infrastructure group interested in public-private partnerships

• PPA Group, an aviation and marine company focused on aircraft interior installations interested in locating at Cecil Airport

• David Hickey, senior manager Europe of the Hickey and Associates site selection company

• Site consultant Keith Waters.

Hendricks Plaza construction begins

Hendricks Avenue, a burgeoning corridor of retail and restaurant development to link the Southbank and San Marco, is gaining another redevelopment now that the city approved work on Hendricks Plaza.

Rettner Hendricks Realty LLC, which bought 1620-1636 Hendricks Ave., is investing $308,388 into facade renovations for the storefronts on that part of the corridor.

Coastal Reconstruction Inc. is the contractor that will rework the front facade and replace storefront windows and doors.

The Daily Record reported Dec. 2 that Coastal Reconstruction and Thomas Duke Architect are working on the project.

Rettner Hendricks Realty LLC, based in Yonkers, N.Y., bought the properties in two acquisitions for $1.31 million. The structures, built in 1947 and 1948, total more than 11,500 square feet of space and take up about 1.31 acres.

Colliers International Northeast Florida Senior Vice President Ronald McVay and Senior Associate Jason Hinson, who represent Rettner in Jacksonville and the area, said in December the facade upgrades will begin upon permitting approvals and then be completed within about 120 days.

They said the facade will unify the properties and reflect the look of San Marco with tan colors, lighting, crown molding and awnings.

In addition to the existing five tenant storefronts, plans for Hendricks Plaza show an "Italian bistro" in the vacant end unit, although the name is a placeholder for a restaurant tenant.

McVay and Hinson said a restaurant tenant would be signed pending parking.

They said the location is on the main artery of Hendricks Avenue between the river and San Marco with high visibility and a high traffic count.

Restaurants, stores and night-life locations have been developing along the corridor, including the new Panera Bread at 1440 Hendricks Ave. and the planned Veloce Pizzeria Napoletana at 1406 Hendricks Ave.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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