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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Sep. 16, 202102:56 PM EST

Developer asks city for $300,000 to help clean up Eastside Superfund site

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Concept Development Inc. plans a $2.11 million project to build a Dollar General store on land that’s been vacant for 30 years because of contamination.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

Concept Development Inc. is seeking a $300,000 city grant to help pay for its $2.11 million proposal to clean up a site in Jacksonville’s Eastside neighborhood and build a Dollar General store.

The Mayor’s Budget Review Committee voted 7-0 on Sept. 13 to allow the Office of Economic Development to file a bill with City Council to approve the grant.

The real estate developer plans to build the Dollar General on 1.37 acres at 1040 E. Eighth St., according to a project summary from the city.

The summary says the money would come from the Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund to partially fund the environmental cleanup at what is a federal Superfund site.

The property is part of a larger parcel owned by Perfect Score Realty Group II LLC, according to property records from the Duval County Clerk of Courts Office.

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

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

The Duval County Property Appraiser shows the property as 2.89 acres while the city’s project summary 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 Concept Development’s request for the city to make a 14% investment stake would typically not qualify the project for city incentives. 

 “That’s about 14% of the project which is a little more than we would normally do. But, again, it’s a challenged area and we’ll 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.

City documents show Perfect Score Realty also has a $47,500 balance remaining from a $60,000 Brownfield cleanup loan on the property issued through the Planning and Development Department in 2011. 

The landowner asked the city to waive the balance.

Council will have to approve the waiver, a request Wendland said will be included in the bill. 

Gainesville-based Concept Development is described in the city summary 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 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.

Council could file and introduce the bill by Sept. 28. 

Editor Karen Brune Mathis contributed to this report

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