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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Dec. 10, 201905:20 AM EST

Amazon wants to turn old Kmart into delivery center

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City is reviewing plans for the closed Westside Kmart along Blanding Boulevard.
by: Scott Sailer Staff Writer

Amazon.com, already with four major centers in Jacksonville, plans to develop a fifth at a closed Kmart along Blanding Boulevard in Westside.

The 107,000-square-foot discount department store at 4645 Blanding Blvd.  closed almost seven years ago.

The city is reviewing plans to rezone the property for use as an e-commerce distribution, fulfillment and delivery center.

Seattle-based Amazon is listed as the developer in the Planned Unit Development description. The property is between Blanding and Wesconnett boulevards on the Westside.

The property owner, Miami-based Blanding Self Storage LLC, purchased three contiguous parcels, totaling 11.37 acres, in February and August for $4.8 million.

Austin Kay, vice president and retail specialist with NAI Hallmark, said Blanding Self Storage originally wanted to use the building for self-storage and sell the additional parking lot area to a commercial user.

A storage unit and trash bins were in the parking lot of the old Kmart on Dec. 9. Work also was being done inside the former store.

Kay and Eric Yi, a retail associate with NAI Hallmark, then relisted the property for sale or lease to potential users. 

Kay said he and Yi started discussions in April with Amazon to lease the property for the distribution facility. The lease was signed in July, he said.

The city issued a permit July 31 for Blanding Self Storage to demolish the interior of the building at a job cost of $350,000. Kay said the interior has been gutted.

A Phase I site plan by Fort Lauderdale-based Langan Engineering and Environmental Services Inc. shows the addition of loading docks, trailer storage, van staging and loading areas and employee and van parking.

The plan shows 111,718 square feet total of nonresidential floor area for the project.

The application states that additional parcels might be added as Phase II, but did not elaborate. It said plans for Phase II would be submitted separately and its likely primary use would be vehicle staging, storage and/or parking.

The project architect is Meriden, Connecticut-based BL Companies and the land use attorney is Patrick Krechowski with Jacksonville-based Jimerson Birr.

Krechowski is the applicant for the rezoning request to revise the property from commercial community/general-2 to planned unit development.

Reuse of the abandoned store will benefit the surrounding neighborhood, providing infill and jobs, the application said.

An aerial view of the former Kmart along Blanding. (Google)

Kay anticipates property rezoning could be completed in the first quarter.

The request was made Dec. 4. The Jacksonville Planning Commission is scheduled to hear the request Jan. 23 followed by introduction of legislation to City Council on Jan. 28. The Council Land Use & Zoning Committee is expected to consider it Feb. 4.

Amazon.com spokesperson Shone Jemmott said by email Dec. 10 that the company had no news to share in Jacksonville.

The online retailer employs thousands of workers in Jacksonville.

Amazon.com’s four major Jacksonville centers are:

• A 1.1 million-square-foot e-commerce fulfillment center at 13333 103rd St. in AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center in West Jacksonville. It was the first to open when it started operations Oct. 1, 2017.

• A 2.4 million-square-foot multilevel e-commerce center at 12900 Pecan Park Road in Northwest Jacksonville. Its base footprint is 855,000 square feet.

• A 240,000-square-foot sortation center at 4948 Bulls Bay Highway in Westside Industrial Park that serves as a “mid-mile” delivery center in which Amazon sorts customer orders by ZIP codes before handing off to delivery partners for final delivery.

• A 63,000-square-foot delivery station at 11084 Cabot Commerce Circle in Alta Lakes Commerce Center in North Jacksonville. That’s where Amazon manages its own last-mile delivery to local customers.

Work was being done inside the former Kmart at 4645 Blanding Blvd. on Dec. 9

 

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