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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Oct. 12, 202108:05 PM EST

City Council OKs $300,000 grant for proposed Dollar General site cleanup

Concept Development Inc. says it will use the money for a $2.11 million environmental mitigation and land redevelopment plan. 
by: Mike Mendenhall Associate Editor

The Jacksonville City Council approved a $300,000 city grant for Concept Development Inc.’s $2.11 million proposal for the environmental cleanup of a site in Jacksonville’s Eastside neighborhood for construction of a Dollar General store.

The Council voted 17-0 on Oct. 12 to approve a Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund grant for the Brownfield Environmental Protection Agency Superfund Site at 1040 E. Eighth St.

Council member Aaron Bowman was absent for the meeting.

Concept Development plans to build a Dollar General on 1.37 acres that is part of a larger parcel owned by Perfect Score Realty Group II LLC, according to property records.

 Kirk Wendland, city economic development office executive director, said Sept. 13 that Concept Development plans to clean up the full parcel but only buy 1.37 acres for the 10,640-square-foot Dollar General.

Wendland said Perfect Score Realty will retain ownership of the remaining land for future development.

The Duval County Property Appraiser shows the property is 2.89 acres while the city’s project summary filed with the bill, 2021-0704, says it is 3.53 acres.

This is the estimated cost breakdown for the project Concept Development provided to the city: 

• 1.37-acre site acquisition: $108,000

• Site development: $534,500 

• Building construction: $570,535

• Architectural, engineering and legal fees: $324,135

• Environmental remediation: $582,694

Wendland said the project would produce four full-time jobs and one part-time job.

“Not a lot of jobs but if you’ve driven that area or you’re familiar with that area of the community, it’s in real need of some private development,” Wendland said.

He said the real estate developer’s request for the city to make a 14% investment stake would typically not qualify the project for city incentives. 

But he said the site is “a challenged area” and the city would benefit from a full site cleanup. 

According to Wendland, the Northwest Jacksonville fund’s advisory committee signed off on the grant.

City economic development officials estimate a return on investment of 73 cents for every public $1 invested over 10 years. 

The office says that return is estimated to increase to $1.61 for every $1 invested over 20 years.

The bill approved Oct. 12 also waived the $47,500 balance of a $60,000 federal Brownfield cleanup loan Perfect Score Realty on the property issued in 2011. The loan is managed by the Jacksonville Planning and Development Department. 

City documents describe Gainesville-based Concept Development as a company that specializes in built-to-suit projects. 

Its list of clients includes Firestone Auto Care Centers, Tractor Supply, Sleep Number,  Race Trac, Verizon Wireless and Dollar General, according to the city.

The project summary says 1040 E. Eighth St. has been vacant since 1991 because of contamination. 

American Celcure Preservation Corp. ended its wood preservative operation at the site in 1986. The company used the property to treat railroad ties. 

According to the city, the Celcure chemicals were toxic and the site was heavily contaminated. The now defunct Florida Department of Environmental Regulation filed a lawsuit against the company in 1987 that led to the site’s closure.

The city is reviewing Concept Development’s plans for the Dollar General store. CHW is the civil engineer. The city is reviewing a zoning exception for retail sales on the industrial site.

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