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Jax Daily Record Monday, May 27, 201312:00 PM EST

FedEx identified as Cecil Commerce Center project in Jacksonville


Documents titled "FedEx Ground Distribution Center" filed with the St. Johns River Water Management District further confirm that FedEx Ground Package System Inc. is seriously considering Cecil Commerce Center in Jacksonville for a project.

In early May, a FedEx spokesman confirmed the company's interest in Cecil Commerce Center, but he did not discuss a specific site.

Documents filed last week with the district for a 45-acre Cecil Commerce Center parcel include a report by Ellis & Associates Inc. of Jacksonville referencing the "FedEx Ground Distribution Center."

"We understand the proposed construction includes a 303,771-square-foot distribution facility constructed of tilt up concrete panel walls and a grade supported floor slab," Ellis says in a letter dated Jan. 18 to developer SunCap Property Group LLC of Charlotte, N.C.

The letter was filed with the district documents for "JCCC Parcel D2" at Cecil. The district's approval of the project is shown as pending.

Ellis & Associates is a geotechnical, materials testing and environmental services company.

Ellis & Associates said in the letter to SunCap Vice President Jonathan Greene that it completed the requested geotechnical exploration to evaluate the general subsurface conditions within the proposed building, parking, drive and pond areas and to provide recommendations for site preparation, foundation support and pavement design.

It said it was provided project information by SunCap and the Prosser Hallock firm, which is the project consultant, as well as an undated copy of a site plan prepared by Prosser Hallock, which is based in Jacksonville.

"We were also provided with prototypical plans and specifications for typical FedEx Distribution Centers," said the Ellis & Associates letter.

As the Daily Record reported May 2, FedEx Ground Package System confirmed interest in Cecil Commerce Center for a logistics center.

"I can confirm that FedEx is considering a facility in the Cecil Commerce Center," said Jesse Bull, FedEx Ground communications coordinator, in an email May 1.

The confirmation came the same day a City committee reviewed preliminary plans for an unidentified company to build a 300,000-square-foot distribution warehouse, plus additional buildings, within Cecil Commerce Center for the purpose of logistics.

Cecil Commerce Center is owned by the City and is being developed by Hillwood, which calls the property AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center.

The project, now identified in the Ellis documents as FedEx, is planned directly north of the Saft America Inc. battery plant, which was developed along Waterworks Street, just off New World Avenue. The Ellis letter describes the site as an undeveloped parcel north of Waterworks, west of its intersection with New World Avenue.

Site documents presented to the City Cecil Commerce Center Architectural Review Board on May 1 for the "JCCC Parcel D2" project show a 300,000-square-foot warehouse, a 5,180 square-foot maintenance building and a 1,890-square-foot gateway.

Documents show 537 employee parking spaces, a fuel island with a canopy, several areas for trailer and long-trailer parking and space for "deadline parking."

In his email, Bull said it is company policy not to discuss specifics when a project still is under consideration, including the size of a proposed facility.

The site documents presented to the Cecil review board list Bradford Davis of Prosser Hallock Inc. as the engineer, Clary & Associates Inc. as the surveyor and Charlotte, N.C-based SunCap Property Group as the developer.

The water management district filings show Davis as the consultant and Edward Randolph with the city Office of Economic Development as the property owner and the entity to receive the permit.

Under the "featured project" listing at SunCap's** website, the company features an October 2011 award from FedEx for the development of a major distribution center near Rochester, N.Y.

On May 1, Davis and Duncan Ross, also of Prosser Hallock, presented the Cecil architectural review board with the preliminary documents and renderings, seeking conceptual approval and deviations to the Cecil Commerce Center design guidelines and standards for building- and site-design elements.

Documents show there are wetland impacts on the proposed Cecil Commerce Center site.

Ross told the board the 300,000-square-foot warehouse was planned on about 45 acres and is a build-to-suit project for logistics. No name was provided and board members did not ask for the name of the tenant.

Documents detail justification for the deviations, saying "the proposed building is special-purpose logistics facility which accommodates the handling of multiple vehicle types and sizes."

The site is not intended to receive significant customer or visitor traffic and the closest building is about 800 feet from the nearest public street, documents say.

During the discussion, Davis said the tenant "has a prototype they use in all of their locations" and "has a proven track record" of the design working.

"This site was hand-selected for this purpose," Davis told the board.

In February, Bull confirmed that FedEx Ground Package System has been considering a project in Jacksonville, but did not confirm the details circulating among those who were hearing about the search.

Several sources said FedEx has been looking at Jacksonville for a potential logistics operation at Cecil Commerce Center.

Duval County property records show FedEx already owns or leases warehouse, transportation and shipping sites around Jacksonville.

Among them is a 28.12-acre site owned by FedEx Ground Package System Inc. at 2480 Lane Ave. N. in West Jacksonville.

Other FedEx sites include a 13.43-acre site owned by FedEx National LTL Inc. at 6611 Pickett Drive in Northwest Jacksonville and a 10-acre World Service Center shipping location in Southside at 3736 Salisbury Road owned by Monmouth Real Estate Investment Corp.

It's not clear whether the Cecil project would be a relocation and consolidation of those operations or if it would involve additional functions and jobs.

FedEx Corp. is based in Memphis, Tenn., and FedEx Ground is based in Pittsburgh.

According to FedEx's annual Securities and Exchange Commission filing, FedEx Ground Package System is a leading North American provider of small-package ground delivery services. It says FedEx Ground provides low-cost, day-certain service to every business address in the United States and Canada, as well as residential delivery to nearly all U.S. residences through its FedEx Home Delivery service.

The SEC report said FedEx Ground operates a multiple hub-and-spoke sorting and distribution system consisting of 525 facilities, including 33 hubs, in the U.S. and Canada.

It conducts its operations primarily with 30,770 owner-operated vehicles and about 35,000 company-owned trailers. FedEx Home Delivery's operations are often co-located with existing FedEx Ground facilities.

It said advanced automated sorting technology is used to streamline the handling of millions of packages daily.

As of May 31, FedEx Ground had about 50,500 employees. In addition, it said FedEx Ground relies on owner-operators to conduct its line-haul and pickup-and-delivery operations.

Its primary competitors are UPS and the U.S. Postal Service.

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