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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jul. 1, 201412:00 PM EST

Hillwood mulled bidding on $5B Tesla battery plant


Hillwood Investment Properties discussed pitching Cecil Commerce Center for Tesla’s new $5 billion battery-production plant, but discovered that Tesla was not considering any locations east of


In its first-quarter Jan. 1-March 31 report, which was due to the city Monday, Dallas-based Hillwood said it discussed with the JAX Chamber and the JAXUSA Partnership “the feasibility of pitching AllianceFlorida for Tesla Motors’ new battery-production facility.”

However, the subsequent investigation revealed that Tesla was looking only at several Western states — Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and possibly California — for the “gigafactory.”

Tesla Motors has suggested it will be building 500,000 cars per year by 2020 at its Fremont, Calif., plant. reported the battery plant would need 500 to 1,000 acres and create up to 6,500 jobs, becoming the world’s largest lithium-ion battery factory. One reason Hillwood might be interested is that Saft America at Cecil also makes lithium-ion batteries.

Tesla isn’t expected to announce a final site until yearend.

Hillwood is the master developer of the city’s land in the West Jacksonville business park, a former Naval Air Station. It is marketing the site as AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center.

While Tesla isn’t a prospect, Hillwood said it was dealing with others.

Hillwood is proposing a 200,000-square-foot, build-to-suit project for an unidentified prospect at AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center.

In its report, Hillwood said that in early March, its listing broker was contacted by an unnamed prospect that indicated the need for 150,000 square feet of space with an expansion requirement of an additional 50,000 square feet.

It also would need to accommodate loading docks.

Hillwood said a proposal was to be sent to the prospect, but didn’t detail the timeframe.

In addition to general marketing activities, it reported that it:

• Prepared and delivered to an undisclosed prospect a conceptual site plan for a 1.5 million-square-foot distribution center.

• Received and responded to an initial inquiry from an undisclosed company that provides logistics services.

• Received and responded to an initial inquiry from an undisclosed prospect interested in buying 25 acres for industrial development.

• Received and responded to an initial inquiry from an undisclosed prospect interested in

leasing 300,000 square feet, with the ability to potentially expand the space to 500,000 square


• Received and responded to an initial inquiry from an undisclosed prospect interested in leasing 100,000 square feet.

• Continued discussions with a confidential prospect for an e-commerce distribution center, believed to be, which is opening fulfillment centers in Hillsborough and Polk counties in Florida.

• Hillwood also updated the city about its 510,000-square-foot speculative building, saying the project received site and building permits in late January. The building size was increased from 400,000 square feet.

The contractor filed applications with the Federal Aviation Administration for both the building and temporary crane clearances because of its proximity to Cecil Airport.

Hillwood concluded that is overall assessment essentially was the same as its view for the fourth quarter of 2013.

“The Jacksonville industrial property market continues to show slow and steady improvement, a pattern we expect to continue through the remainder of 2014,” it said, referring to an attached Jacksonville industrial market report from CBRE Inc.

CBRE Inc. is listed on AllianceFlorida as the broker to contact for information about the park.

The first-quarter report comes soon after the fourth-quarter report, which was filed at the end of May. Hillwood has a 150-day deadline for the fourth quarter report and a 90-day deadline for the first, second and third quarters.

In 2009, Hillwood won a competitive bid to become the master developer of the 4,474-acre Cecil Commerce Center, which is part of the closed Naval Air Station Cecil Field. Hillwood has a long-term contract with the city to develop up to 30 million square feet of industrial and retail space there.

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