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- 2014 - August - 13th -
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State economic development team in town for tours with city OED

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Whenever state and city economic developers meet, at least one deal – and probably more – could be discussed.

State Department of Economic Opportunity Chief of Staff Chad Poppell and Communications Director Jennifer Diaz are scheduled to visit Thursday morning with the Jacksonville Office of Economic Development.

Diaz said Tuesday that city Office of Economic Development Deputy Director Paul Crawford would provide some tours of businesses and meetings with their leaders or managers. The visit with Crawford is planned through lunch.

Asked whether the confidential Project Speed could be discussed, Diaz said she wasn’t aware that anyone would bring that up.

“If it is a confidential project, we won’t be talking about it,” she said, referring to anyone outside the circle of signed confidentiality.

Project Speed, described as an advanced parts manufacturing plant that will create 500 jobs within three years, is a state-city effort. The state would provide $5.4 million in incentives and the city would provide $10 million to the Fortune 500 company building the plant.

The legislation was introduced Tuesday to City Council. The council Finance Committee is scheduled to consider it Sept. 3 and the full council will take up the legislation Sept. 9.

Office of Economic Development Director Ted Carter and Josh Kelne, director of operations and strategic planning, also have tentative plans to meet with the visiting department staff, according to their schedules.

Asked about the reasons for the visit, city spokeswoman Kristen Sell said DEO staff “will be learning about some of our economic development projects and potential opportunities.”

Asked whether one of those deals is the confidential Project Speed, Sell responded “We will consider a variety of projects and opportunities.”

The DEO handles the state’s economic, workforce and community development efforts and says the approach “helps expedite economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities.“

Diaz said she and Poppell planned to arrive this afternoon to meet with Rick Mullaney, director of the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute, to see how the department can help.

Diaz said the department’s executive director periodically visits cities and areas around the state to see if the department can assist with projects.

Poppell also has a personal connection. Before being named chief of staff in January 2013, he most recently served as director of employee services at JEA in Jacksonville and before that was chief of human resources for the city of Jacksonville.

A visit to Jacksonville concurrent with council consideration of Project Speed seems like a fortunate coincidence.

Bartram Park could land Residence Inn

The city is reviewing concurrency plans for the Residence Inn at Bartram Park, a 122-room, five-story hotel at 13942 Village Lake Circle.

The 84,000-square-foot hotel would be built on 2.28 acres.

AVA Engineers Inc. is the project engineer, and the property owner is Impact Properties Inc., a hotel developer.

Retail on the rise

• Lucy’s Gift Boutique plans to open a store next to The Fresh Market at Brooklyn Station on Riverside.

• Free People will build out its space in the new Nordstrom wing at St. Johns Town Center at a project cost of $209,000.

• RaceTrac wants to build a convenience store and gas station at 7403 Argyle Forest Blvd., at Rampart Road. RaceTrac Petroleum Inc. of Atlanta is the developer. Argyle Property Group Inc. is the land owner.

• VyStar Credit Union plans a branch at Chafee Point Boulevard and Crystal Springs Road.

• Goodwill Industries of North Florida intends to build a 22,000-square-foot commercial building at 5953 St. Augustine Road. It’s a new commercial donation and retail center.

• Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc. bought almost 2.2 acres for $500,000 from Dixie Gas & Oil Co. of Tifton, Ga. Love’s Travel Stops, of Oklahoma City, Okla., wants to build an almost 14-acre plaza at Interstate 95 and Pecan Park Road. Love’s Travel Stops will combine two parcels — an 11.52-acre site and the 2.18-acre parcel.

• Hendricks Plaza is preparing about 5,000 square feet of space for a tenant. Coastal Reconstruction was OK’d to demolish interior walls and tile at 1636 Hendricks Ave. at a project cost of $31,000. Rettner Hendricks Realty LLC, based in Yonkers, N.Y., bought Hendricks Plaza, 1620-1636 Hendricks Ave., and has renovated the storefronts.

Bi-Lo CEO purchases $2.1M home on San Jose

Bi-Lo Holdings CEO Randall Onstead and his, Pamela, invested in a riverfront San Jose home, paying $2.145 million for the property at 5222 San Jose Blvd. The Onsteads bought the house, built in 1985 and renovated in 2002, from Karen Tutwiler in a deed made Monday.

Property records and Realtor.com show the almost 8,600-square-foot, two-story home has five bedrooms, five bathrooms and three half-bathrooms. It was built on 1.5 acres. The 2014 market value is $2.21 million.

The coldwellbanker.com site says the property was previously listed at $5.2 million and was selling at auction July 11. The home also has fireplaces, a boat house with two boat lifts and a heated pool and spa, along with a four-car garage and golf cart.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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