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Jax Daily Record Friday, Feb. 28, 202002:24 PM EST

Developer plans to build two warehouses on land linked to Hicks, Zahn

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Pan American Companies Inc. files permit application with St. Johns River Water Management District.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

A Coral Gables-based developer wants to build 320,000 square feet of warehouse space on West Jacksonville property owned by Jacksonville lobbyist Deno Hicks and associated with former JEA CEO Aaron Zahn. 

Pan American Companies Inc. filed a permit application Feb. 20 through Calix Holdings LLC with the St. Johns River Water Management District that includes plans for a pair of 160,000-square-foot warehouses at the site.

Plans for the 23.85-acre property at Lane Avenue North and West 12th Street show 356 off-street parking spaces. The two warehouse facilities are separated by a loading area. 

Jacksonville-based GAI Consultants is the engineering firm listed on the project.

Hicks and Pan American did not immediately return calls Feb. 28  for comment about the development. 

Hicks owns the vacant land through Legacy Industries of Jax LLC. The company purchased the property from CSX Transportation Inc. on April 24, 2018, for $300,000, according to Duval County Property Appraiser records. 

The Florida Times-Union reported Dec. 12 that Hicks was an equal partner with Zahn in Legacy Industries. Through the company, Hicks and Zahn co-owned the Westside site. The newspaper reported Legacy offered the property “build to suit” for nearly $2 million.

A follow-up report from the Times-Union said Zahn failed to disclose his stake in Legacy Industries to JEA.

JEA policy requires employees to disclose any secondary employment including ownership or partnerships in other companies, to the utility’s ethics department.

Legacy Industries’ Oct. 25 filing with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations lists Zahn as the sole manager. 

Following the revelation that Zahn’s co-ownership could be a conflict of interest with his role as JEA CEO, Legacy Industries filed an amended annual report with the state Dec. 12 that lists Hicks as the sole manager.

Hicks was Jacksonville managing partner of The Southern Group, a lobbying firm contracted by JEA and several Northeast Florida political candidates.

Hicks resigned from The Southern Group on Jan. 17. He registered his own consulting firm with the state Jan. 22 — River North Strategies LLC.

 Zahn was fired with cause by the JEA board Jan. 28.

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