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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Aug. 7, 201412:00 PM EST

Cecil Commerce Center seems primed for Project Speed


AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center, the industrial park owned by the city, appears to be the prime location for the unidentified 500-job advanced manufacturing plant seeking $15.4 million in city and state incentives under the code name “Project Speed.”

Members of the city Office of Economic Development would not say Wednesday whether AllianceFlorida was the site, adding that other locations could be of interest. The city said the project’s corporate identity and other factors would be made public by the first quarter of next year.

However, Hillwood Investment Properties, the master developer of the city-owned land at Cecil, is building a speculative structure at 12970 Normandy Blvd. in the West Jacksonville industrial park. Cecil is a former naval air station.

The timing and parameters of Project Speed fit that location.

• First, the economic development office says the parts manufacturer would need 500,000 to 1 million square feet of space. Hillwood is building a speculative 510,433-square-foot tilt panel warehouse at Cecil that can be expanded to 1 million square feet. The building originally was 400,000 square feet but civil engineer Prosser Hallock said in December that the “client has a need to revise the property boundary and building.” Hillwood said in mid-February, it bought additional acreage to increase the size of the speculative building.

• Second, the legislation introduced Wednesday for the deal says the company will create 35 jobs by the end of this year. Business Development Manager Ed Randolph with the economic development office said Project Speed would not necessarily be moving initially into its ultimate location. The structure is supposed to be completed by late October, so it makes sense that the jobs would start there.

• Third, the development agreement states the Fortune 500 company proposes to lease a facility. The Hillwood building is available.

• Fourth, advanced parts manufacturing indicates materials will need to be delivered in order for the products to be produced and shipped out. Whoever leases the first phase of the Hillwood building can access 112 manually operated dock doors, four mechanically operated sectional doors and 162 spaces for trailer parking, plans show.

• Fifth, speaking of parking, the city’s development agreement calls for Project Speed to create 35 jobs by the end of this year and another 265 more jobs by yearend 2015. The first-phase Hillwood plans show 270 parking spaces for cars. While parking logistics can change during development, the parallel numbers are worth noting.

• Sixth, and maybe most logical, is that the city has been keeping the deal very quiet, and that’s perhaps easiest to do if it deals with its own business park.

JTA’s Downtown offices OK’d for remodeling

The city approved the permit for International Management Co. LLC to renovate space for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority executive offices Downtown at 121 W. Forsyth St.

JTA will lease 32,280 square feet on the first, second and third floors. The remodeling cost is $694,708.

JTA intends to move 90-100 administrative employees from its Myrtle Avenue headquarters to the 121 Atlantic Place building in December.

The agency will lease the 33,000 square feet on a five-year lease, with an opt-out after four years.

The Myrtle Avenue property, on the edge of Downtown close to Interstate 95, will become the operations campus.

The 121 W. Forsyth St. building was chosen because of its central location and its access to the Skyway.

The location also will serve as an interim location pending construction for the multimodal Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center.

JTA will lease the second and third floors and also maintain a 1,700-square-foot customer service center on the ground floor.

Crocker Partners to renovate Hamilton Building

Crocker Partners landed the OK to renovate the Hamilton Building in the Freedom Commerce Centre, which is being branded Prominence.

Auld & White Constructors LLC will renovate the lobbies and restrooms at the structure at 8375 Dix Ellis Trail at a project cost of $600,000, and C. Harrison Construction Inc. is remodeling 20,500 square feet on the third floor for U.S. Auto Credit at a cost of $426,455.

U.S. Auto Credit is planning to lease most of the third floor of the Hamilton Building. The operation is a division of Jacksonville-based Scott-McRae Automotive Group. Scott-McRae is a private, family-owned business founded in 1916.

The Hamilton Building is a four-story, almost 120,000-square-foot structure and one of seven buildings in the park, which is owned by Crocker Partners V Freedom LLC.

Crocker Partners also recently landed a permit to renovate the lobbies and restrooms on all four floors of the Jackson Building at 8381 Dix Ellis Trail at a cost of $600,000.

The Prominence is at southwest Baymeadows Road and Interstate 95. The business park sits between Philips Highway and I-95. It initially was developed from 1988-98 by Koger Equity Inc.

Crocker Partners continues to renovate buildings in the Freedom Commerce Centre office park that it bought in December 2012 and renamed Prominence.

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