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Jax Daily Record Friday, Jan. 6, 201712:00 PM EST

Hillwood buys land for Amazon center at Cecil


In the wake of’s announcement that it will open a fulfillment center in Cecil Commerce Center, Hillwood Investment Properties bought the 86-acre site where land is being cleared for the project.

Through 103 BLDG C LLC, Hillwood paid the city $783,341.55, which works out to about $9,103 an acre. The city netted $779,096.27 after closing costs.

The deed was executed Wednesday and recorded Thursday with the Duval County Clerk of Courts.

Fort Worth-based Hillwood is the city’s master developer at Cecil Commerce Center.

Senior Vice President Dan Tatsch said Thursday that Hillwood will develop the facility for Amazon and has not decided whether it will sell the completed facility or retain ownership of it.

The internet retailer said Wednesday it will open a second fulfillment center in Jacksonville after announcing the first in July.

The first, a multilevel center to handle small consumer goods, is under development in Northwest Jacksonville at 12900 Pecan Park Road. That facility is 855,000 square feet, although its multilevel construction increases the size to 2.4 million square feet.

The second, at 13333 103rd St., will be a 1 million-square-foot facility to handle larger products.

City legislation shows the two centers will create 2,700 jobs and receive $26.7 million in city and state taxpayer incentives.

Legislation adopted Oct. 11 for the Cecil center incentives outlined that Hillwood would pay $8,819 an acre for the 86 acres, totaling about $758,000. The master agreement allows for adjustments.

While that per-acre amount appears low, the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission determined at the time of the 2010 master agreement that it would cost Hillwood an average of $83,000 per acre to make Cecil’s property ready for development, given the need to work with wetlands and to build infrastructure.

The 2010 city project summary of the agreement says Hillwood will invest $1.3 billion in infrastructure, land development and vertical development costs as part of the master development plan, including $42 million in public infrastructure costs.

By comparison, USAA Real Estate Co., through RELP Duval LLC, paid $15 million — about $96,770 an acre — for 155 acres in Northwest Jacksonville for the first Amazon center.

RELP also paid $700,000 for smaller parcels along Pecan Park Road and Duval Road.

The Conlan Co. is the contractor for both centers.

The JAXUSA Partnership economic-development division of JAX Chamber expects the centers will open by the fall in time for the holiday season.

Amazon spokeswoman Nina Lindsey said Wednesday the company has not announced a timeline for construction or hiring at the Cecil fulfillment center, “but we expect things to move quickly.”

She said she also would let media know when Amazon began hiring for the center in Northwest Jacksonville.

Amazon also intends to open a 63,000-square-foot delivery station in North Jacksonville.

Seattle-based Amazon has more than 70 fulfillment centers in the U.S., Lindsey said. Last year, it announced 20 new centers, including in some cities where it already had at least one facility.

Lindsey said the company considers a variety of factors when choosing a location, including being as close to customers as possible and the local workforce.

“We expect to find great talent in abundance in the Jacksonville area,” she said.

Tatsch said Amazon was a huge win for AllianceFlorida, which is the name of its business park at Cecil Commerce Center.

As the master developer, Hillwood must complete construction deadlines to fulfill its requirements with the city.

Tatsch said the Amazon deal combined with completion of a speculative warehouse under construction will fulfill Hillwood’s benchmark obligations for the initial term of its contract with the city.

“On top of that, the validation — not only for our park but also for Jacksonville — that comes from making a deal like this is incalculable,” Tatsch said.

Skinners negotiating with Hanover Co.

Skinner family representative Chip Skinner said this week that negotiations are taking place on the timing for The Hanover Co. to buy the south 15 acres of a 45.2-acre site near St. Johns Town Center.

Skinner said the intent is for Hanover to buy the acreage for an apartment development. He said there are no commitments for the northern portion of the site.

Members of the Skinner family want to rezone the land, south of Topgolf along Brightman Boulevard and west along Interstate 295, for apartments and for commercial and retail development.

Called the Hanover Town Center Mixed Use Planned Unit Development, the property would be developed in two phases.

The first phase would comprise up to 400 multifamily residences on the southern end of the site.

The second phase, immediately south of Topgolf, would consist of up to 150,000 square feet of retail commercial development and/or up to another 400 multifamily units on about 12.2 acres.

There also is acreage for roads, drainage and a JEA easement.

Hanover R.S. Limited Partnership is listed as the developer and the trust is the owner.

The Hanover Co., based in Houston, specializes in buying, developing and managing multifamily residential properties.

Zoës replacing Cabana Grill

Zoës Kitchen will take over the former Cabana Grill at 10422 San Jose Blvd.

The structure was developed in 2014 for Cabana Grill, which opened here in late 2014.

The concept was created by San Antonio-based Taco Cabana, whose parent company is Fiesta Restaurant Group Inc., which operates the Pollo Tropical chain.

The group said in late 2013 it would test-market Cabana Grill and chose the Mandarin site as one of the test sites.

However, Cabana Grill closed about a year after it opened.

The city approved a permit Wednesday for Buffalo Construction Inc. to build-out 3,551 square feet of space for Zoës Kitchen in the existing free-standing restaurant.

Food note

• Newk’s Eatery is closer to opening at Town Center Promenade. The city is reviewing a permit for a $449,000 build-out of space in a new building at 4520 Town Center Parkway for Newk’s to open a 169-seat restaurant, including patio seating.

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