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- 2014 - May - 21st -
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City preparing mega-site at Cecil Commerce Center; no project named on plan

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

While no project is identified, the city continues preparations to clear and grade property in Cecil Commerce Center’s designated mega-site, south of Interstate 10 and north of the end of Waterworks Street.

The St. Johns River Water Management District has issued a permit to clear, grade, fill wetlands and build a borrow pit on 358 acres in the Westside industrial and business park, which is owned by the city and under development by Hillwood Investment Properties.

A location map included with the filing indicates it is within the 1,500-acre mega-site certified by CSX/McCallum-Sweeney.

The project area is identified as 570 acres, while the permit applies to a portion of that.

The city also asks for a formal wetland determination of part of the site. Teresa Monson, spokeswoman for the water management district, said the application is an extension of an existing formal wetland determination that was issued in 2009 and expired last month.

A revalidation keeps the exend of the wetlands current so that permitting approvals are quicker if and when a mega-project might land.

Kristen Sell, a spokeswoman for Mayor Alvin Brown, said only that the site work was part of the city’s master development plans.

The jaxcecilcommercecenter.com site features a conceptual site plan of the top half of the mega-site that shows two 2 million-square-foot manufacturing facilities and a future rail spur, with a rail product support yard between the buildings, along with a headquarters office building and a training facility.

No name or type of industry is referenced.

The website describes the property as part of the “only CSX/McCallum-Sweeney certified mega site in Florida (with) 1,500 available acres, with suitable infrastructure to support a major manufacturing facility.”

CSX Corp. is the Jacksonville-based railroad and logistics company. CSX sponsors six sites on its network that it considers ideal for large-scale development and are certified by McCallum Sweeney. The 1,500-acre Cecil site is the only one in Florida.

Mega-site certification by McCallum Sweeney Consulting of Greenville, S.C., is considered a significant step for marketing industrial properties, setting up standards that allow a user to be operational with 12 months.

City Engineering and Construction Chief William Joyce is listed as the applicant, land owner and operation and maintenance representative on the two related water management applications. England-Thims & Miller Inc. is the engineering consultant and Environmental Resource Solutions is the environmental consultant.

A March 17 letter to the district from the environmental consultant says Joyce, on behalf of the city, wants to file a revalidation of a formal wetland and surface water determination at Cecil Commerce Center North.

It doesn’t appear to be an easily accessible site yet. The location is described as “north from the west end of Waterworks Street, following existing trail road to site.”

One of the applications specifies clearing, grading, wetlands filling and borrow pond excavation on 358.29 acres on the 570-acre site.

The mega-site is bordered by I-10 on the north, Cecil Commerce Center Parkway to the east, a utility corridor and future rail spur to the west and New World Avenue to the south.

A site plan at the Hillwood site, Hillwoodinvestmentproperties.com, indicates the mega-site could accommodate 9.4 million square feet of development.

The Hillwood master plan shows 11 buildings of no specified size on the land, piquing interest regarding the specifics on the jaxcecilcommercecenter.com.

While the city won’t comment about prospects at the property, three major industrial or distribution neighbors would be in place for any buyer or tenant at the mega-site.

The FedEx Ground distribution center is under development at 13509 Waterworks St., immediately south of the mega site. Other nearby companies would be the Saft America Inc. lithium ion battery manufacturing plant and the Bridgestone tire distribution center.

Separately, in another area of Cecil Commerce Center, the city approved construction in February of a 510,000-square-foot warehouse. The Conlan Co. is building the $12.88 million project at 12970 Normandy Blvd.

It is the first speculative building at Cecil by Hillwood, which is developing the Alliance Florida at Cecil Commerce Center Park.

As a speculative building, no tenant was identified. The building is designed to be the first phase of a 1 million-square-foot structure.

Sell said Hillwood was on track to meet its deadline for the speculative building and did not comment whether a specific prospect was interested.

Prominence building  to be renovated

Crocker Partners, which bought the former Freedom Commerce Centre and renamed it Prominence, continues renovating the properties.

The city is reviewing a plan for a $600,000 renovation to the Hamilton Building at 8375 Dix Ellis Trail.

The work would include renovations to lobbies, existing restrooms and ADA-compliant restrooms on all four floors.

Boca Raton-based Crocker Partners bought the 54-acre office park in December 2012.

Crocker said in January it renamed the park and intended to make a multimillion-dollar capital improvement to the property, which comprises seven buildings totaling 752,154 square feet of office space, with modern design features, a new entrance monument, landscaping and parking upgrades.

The Prominence is at southwest Baymeadows Road and Interstate 95. The business park sits between Philips Highway and I-95.

5th building in review for Shoppes on Riverside

Another building is in review for the Shoppes on Riverside, the Fresh Market-anchored shopping center along Riverside Avenue.

Shoppes on Riverside LLC submitted plans for city review for a 4,235-square-foot building at 108 Riverside Ave., which is near the Fresh Market and its two adjacent spaces and the Corner Bakery under construction.

The center is a joint venture of Regency Centers Corp. and Fuqua Development.

Buildings approved and in review include:

• The Fresh Market building comprises the 20,400-square-foot grocer along with adjacent 5,800-square-foot and 4,200-square-foot structures at 150 Riverside Ave. Those construction permits were approved Jan. 31.

• The Corner Bakery building is a 4,000-square-foot structure at 192 Riverside Ave. The construction permit was approved April 2.

• The new building is at 108 Riverside Ave.

Regency announced in October it would develop the 49,870-square-foot retail project, expecting to invest about $14.7 million in development and construction.

In addition to the structures under construction and review, plans show another 11,200-square-foot building east of the newest building, across Stonewall Street.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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