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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jul. 21, 201612:00 PM EST

Hillwood plans for large spec building


Hillwood Investment Properties is taking steps to build a large warehouse near the Saft America plant at AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center.

Plans show a 407,435-square-foot warehouse on 35.43 acres along New World Avenue, east of Saft and the FedEx Ground Package System Inc. distribution center.

Senior Vice President Dan Tatsch said this month Hillwood was designing a 400,000-square-foot speculative building for completion by mid-September 2017.

“We have not yet announced a kickoff date for construction, but we are taking care of some of the preliminary paperwork,” Tatsch said Wednesday.

As the master developer at AllianceFlorida, Hillwood must complete at least 1.2 million square feet of new building area by Sept. 15, 2017, according to the city. The city owns the West Jacksonville business park.

City spokeswoman Tia Ford said previously that Hillwood has a little more than 800,000 square feet of new development at the park. That would comprise the more than 500,000-square-foot GE Oil & Gas facility and the almost 300,000-square-foot FedEx center.

The GE structure initially was designed as a speculative building.

Ed Randolph, director of business and development operations with the city Office of Economic Development, said Hillwood helped design and permit the FedEx site and sold the parcel to the developer, reaching the 800,000 square feet.

Hillwood’s capacity application shows the initial size of 405,000 square feet was updated to a more precise figure, raising the question whether there is a specific tenant or user.

That happened before.

Hillwood designed a 400,000-square-foot speculative structure that later was adjusted to 510,433 square feet, which GE Oil & Gas leased for a valve manufacturing plant.

Tatsch said the size variation on the new structure was the result of a more accurate set of architectural plans and the building, as currently planned, is completely speculative. The company does not typically disclose construction costs.

The application made last week sought the city’s allocation of concurrency rights. The city reserved the capacity for a year.

Concurrency mandates that a project’s impact to public infrastructure can be absorbed by the public facilities.

Prosser Inc. is the civil engineer for the project.

Hillwood’s master development property is at Cecil Commerce Center Parkway and Normandy Boulevard, south of Interstate 10.

The Hillwood master site plan shows the speculative building, at New World Avenue and Waterworks Street, can be expanded but does not state by how much. Tatsch said Wednesday the potential expansion is about 95,000 square feet.

An earlier outline for the structure in an April 2015 industry tour guide showed a 405,000-square-foot building expandable by 94,500 square feet. At the time, Tatsch said there were no immediate plans for construction.

Hillwood also has been working with prospects, according to its recently filed first-quarter activity report to the city.

It referred to two prospects seeking up to 1 million square feet of space, two more looking for 400,000 square feet and another that wants 300,000 square feet.

Mastermind opening in Southside center

Mastermind Escape Games has figured out a way to open in Jacksonville.

The Atlanta-based company intends to open in Cypress Business Center in Southside. A 4,000-square-foot space will be renovated for the venue at 8301 Cypress Plaza Drive.

The company said it hoped to open by the end of the year or soon after.

It says escape rooms are a new form of reality gaming, where players are locked in a room, given a mission and have 60 minutes to discover the way out. It markets to millennials, families, corporate clients and others, offering different themes and difficulty levels.

Game examples include “Sorcerer’s Secret,” “Outbreak: Find the Cure,” “Bank Heist” and “Zombie Survival Run.”

The Jacksonville location will have three to four escape rooms. Depending on the location and theme, an escape room can accommodate up to 12 people.

Mastermind has escape rooms in several cities.

LA Fitness joining Old St. Augustine Plaza

Old St. Augustine Plaza in Mandarin is on track for LA Fitness.

The city is reviewing a building-permit application for a 37,200-square-foot, one-story fitness center at a construction cost of $5.5 million. No contractor was identified.

The stand-alone LA Fitness would be built between Burlington Coat Factory and Publix Super Market.

The center at 11250 Old St. Augustine Road is owned by Jacksonville-based Regency Centers Corp.

It would be the fifth LA Fitness in the area. The others are in Lakewood, Atlantic North, Atlantic Beach and along Blanding Boulevard at Interstate 295.

LA Fitness is based in Irvine, Calif., near Los Angeles. Founded in 1984, the health-club chain has expanded to more than 650 locations in 29 states and Canada.

Retiring Navy CO to join Hanania

Capt. Howard Wanamaker, commanding officer of Naval Air Station Jacksonville, will join Hanania Automotive Group after his retirement Aug. 18 to become director of the human resource department.

Hanania founder Jack Hanania said Thursday that Wanamaker will become the HR director for the group’s more than 500 employees. He said Wanamaker brings substantial insight to the company.

He starts Aug. 22, the Monday after his change-of-command ceremony.

Jacksonville-based Hanania Automotive Group operates 14 dealer franchises and will open its 15th, for Audi, in summer 2017 along Atlantic Boulevard near Kernan Boulevard.

Wanamaker, a Miami native and University of Florida graduate, took command at NAS Jacksonville in February 2015.

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