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Jax Daily Record Monday, Jun. 22, 202005:10 AM EST

Benderson moving forward on large North Jacksonville industrial park

The Jacksonville Planning and Development Department seeks legislation for a mobility fee contract.

Benderson Development Co. LLC's plans to start work on two industrial buildings totaling 2 million square feet of space are proceeding.

Engineer Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. requested a service availability determination from JEA, and the Jacksonville Planning and Development Department wants to submit legislation for a mobility fee contract with Benderson.

Florida-based Benderson Development said in April it intends to start work by the end of summer on its 203-acre industrial park in North Jacksonville at northeast Interstate 95 and Pecan Park Road.

Director of Development Todd Mathes said April 16 he is working with prospects for both proposed buildings - the 498,960-square-foot Building 100 and the almost 1.54 million-square-foot Building 200.

Asked if the prospects were e-commerce companies, Mathes said in April that “is a reasonable perspective.”

Kimley-Horn sought the JEA determination June 10.

 The planning department is scheduled to ask the Mayor's Budget Review Committee on June 22 for permission to submit the legislation for a mobility fee contract with Rum East LLC, which is a Benderson entity.

Rum East LLC and related companies own the land.

Walmart Stores Inc. and Lowe’s Companies Inc. have been speculated as prospective tenants for e-commerce projects in Jacksonville for several years.

Lowe's is working toward an almost 104,000-square-foot distribution enter in Freebird Commerce Center in North Jacksonville.

Mathes would not comment on those names.

Mathes did say that the two deals for Benderson’s buildings “seem very serious” about Jacksonville. 

He said he was hopeful to break ground and “go vertical” on construction at the end of the summer.

If tenants don’t sign for both buildings, Mathes said Benderson would start construction on the smaller building on a speculative basis.

Benderson is a privately held real estate company based in University Park near Sarasota. It says on its website that it owns and manages more than 700 properties totaling more than 40 million square feet in 38 states. Holdings include retail, office, industrial, hotel, residential and land.

The St. Johns River Water Management District is reviewing a permit request for Benderson to develop the industrial warehouse park. 

Benderson applied April 14 for an environmental resource permit. WRA Engineering of Tampa is the environmental consultant.

WRA wrote in an April environmental report that the 203.27-acre project is a future commercial distribution center northeast of Jacksonville International Airport.

City agencies have been reviewing plans that show more than 2 million square feet of warehouse space.

In 2019, the city calculated mobility fees for two industrial warehouses designed on 46 acres north of Pecan Park Road between I-95 and North Main Street.

The mobility fees, calculated to mitigate the traffic impact, total $816,445. The applications are for horizontal development and the buildings.

The first phase is part of the almost 850 acres that Benderson bought in 2007. It acquired the bulk of the undeveloped land from Bacardi Bottling Corp. and about 15 acres from an affiliate of Signature Land Co.

The Bacardi Bottling Plant is at 12200 N. Main St., south of Benderson’s land.

The city approved the property’s planned unit development in 2008 as the Pecan Park Regional Activity Center. Benderson sought a minor modification last year to relocate the mix of commercial, office/business park and residential uses to a central location and placed 46 acres of light industrial next to I-95.

That is where the first two buildings are planned.

“This is our first phase. We have a lot of remaining land,” Mathes said.

Mathes said approvals for the first phase are pending in the city’s 10-set review for horizontal construction and the St. Johns River Water Management District.


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