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Ed Austin, former state attorney and mayor

State Attorney's Office could be named for Ed Austin

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Public service leader Ed Austin could be memorialized Downtown if a proposed city ordinance is approved to name a building under renovation as the T. Edward Austin State Attorney’s Office.

City Council member Doyle Carter introduced Ordinance 2014-303 to name the State Attorney’s Office under renovations at 311 W. Monroe St., next to the new Duval County Courthouse, for Austin.

Austin, who died April 23, 2011, at the age of 85, held several prominent leadership roles, including serving more than 20 years as the state attorney for the 4th Judicial Circuit and as mayor from 1991-95.

The ordinance states that Austin served as an assistant county solicitor and was appointed as the 4th Circuit’s first public defender. He was elected state attorney for a partial term before resigning to be appointed as the city’s third general counsel by Mayor Hans Tanzler.

The ordinance states that Austin then was appointed and later re-elected to five more terms as state attorney, serving a total of 22 years in the position.

After serving as mayor, he also served with several authorities and commissions.

A year ago, a courtroom in the courthouse was dedicated to Austin. The ceremony noted that during his term as mayor, Austin was successful in bringing the Jacksonville Jaguars to town, creating the River City Renaissance program, building a new performing arts center, creating the Sulzbacher Center and revitalizing the Jacksonville Zoo.

The ordinance states that “it is fitting and appropriate that the new State Attorney’s office building in Jacksonville be named to commemorate a true legend in the city’s legal and civic history, and to recognize and honor a paragon of virtue, integrity and selfless service.”

Railex looking at alternate site

Railex LLC is considering an alternate site for its proposed 250,000-square-foot cold-storage distribution center in Jacksonville’s Southside because of soil problems, according to a May 5 memo within the city Office of Economic Development.

Railex has been applying for regulatory permits to build the facility on two separate project sites along the Florida East Coast Railway marshaling yard between Philips Highway and Powers Avenue, the memo said.

“The original Philips Highway site has been found to have soil problems that would require a significant investment in additional site work necessitating Railex to explore another site situated on Powers Avenue adjacent to Toledo Road,” said the memo from office Business Development Project Manager Joe Whitaker.

The project description says Railex proposes to acquire a tract of undeveloped property along either Philips Highway adjacent to the yard or Powers Avenue to construct the refrigerated freight consolidation and deconsolidation warehouse and distribution facility and 21,000 linear feet of spur rail and support yard to handle the loading and unloading of unit trains.

The original site is at 6140 Philips Highway.

Railex, based in Riverhead, N.Y., would invest $45.7 million and create 310 full-time jobs, paying an average $47,851 plus benefits of $8,000, within five years. The first 200 jobs would be created in the first year.

Railex negotiated $8.8 million in city and state incentives to develop the center.

The memo was included with city Ordinance 2014-309, filed today, that authorizes the city to receive a $5 million proposed state Economic Development Transportation Project Fund grant to support the development.

The mayor’s office requests a one-cycle emergency passage, noting the end of the state’s fiscal year June 30.

The memo states the grant agreement must be approved and signed by the city by June 1 or else the funds will be allocated to another project in the state. A city resolution for the grant application was approved a year ago, May 14, and the state approved it June 13.

Railex plans to lease temporary space 12 miles south of the Philips Highway site in Flagler Center after a $1.25 million renovation. Railex President Adrian Neuhauser said that location should be operational by June.

Florida Hardware buys Westside center

Newmark Grubb Phoenix Realty Group President and Principal John Richardson represented Florida Hardware LLC in its acquisition of a 52,000-square-foot Westside warehouse at 408 Stevens St. for $650,000. The company is a Jacksonville-based wholesale distribution company. The seller, 408 Stevens LLC, was represented by Robert Brathune of Atlantic Commercial Properties.

Alro Metals expanding on Westside

HD Supply has consolidated its Westside operation at 5875 Highway Ave., making way for the market entry of Alro Metals.

HD Supply previously used the entire 56,000-square-foot building and has consolidated into 44,000 square feet of space, said spokeswoman Quiana Pinckney.

Alro Metals is building out the available 12,000 square feet of space at a project cost of $45,000, according to a building permit that shows Crane Construction of Jacksonville as the contractor.

Brian Glick, Alro vice president of business development and marketing, said by email he could not comment on the property.

Alro Steel Corp., based in Jackson, Mich., distributes metals, industrial supplies and plastics under Alro Steel, Alro Metals Service Center, Alro Metals Plus, Alro Industrial Supplies and Alro Plastics.

The company was founded in 1948 by Alvin and Robert Glick — Al and Ro — and has more than 60 locations in 12 states in the Midwest and Southeast. Al Glick is chairman and CEO.

Alro has Florida locations in Boca Raton, Clearwater, Miami, Orlando, Sarasota, Tampa and Winter Springs.

Atlanta-based HD Supply operates an electrical wholesale branch in Jacksonville. It supplies commercial, residential and industrial electrical products from leading manufacturers to professional customers in the infrastructure and energy, maintenance, repair and improvement and specialty construction markets.

Its site is HDSupplySolutions.com.

Phoenix Realty brokers Laney & Duke sale

Newmark Grubb Phoenix Realty Group reported that President John Richardson and Senior Vice President Bryan Bartlett represented Laney & Duke in the $2.8 million sale of a 105,200-square-foot Westside warehouse distribution center at 401 N. Ellis Road.

Chicago-based True North Investments, a group of private investors who own other property in Jacksonville, bought the center as an investment and plans to renovate and upgrade the building, which is off the Interstate 295 West Beltway.

Laney & Duke Terminal Warehouse Inc. and L&W HWLD Inc. sold the property to 401 Ellis LLC, which is based in Downers Grove, Ill., near Chicago. Talmer Bank and Trust issued a $2.25 mortgage on the sale.

Duval County property records show the warehouse sits on almost 5 acres. The warehouse-distribution center was built in 1974 and the property’s 2014 market value is almost $1.96 million. Carroll Tire Co. leases the structure.

Emed to add pharmacy

The city approved build-out for the Emed Pharmacy at 2624 Atlantic Blvd., No. 3. The Shrout Companies is the contractor for the 5,000-square-foot tenant build-out at a project cost of $60,000.

The city previously approved a construction permit for The Shrout Companies to renovate 8,700 square feet of the building as an Emed Primary Care & Walk In Clinic.

A former thrift store, the 27,460-square-foot building changed hands last June. Dr. Rene Pulido, as the managing member of 2624 Atlantic LLC, bought the 1.43-acre property for $400,000.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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