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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Jan. 3, 201806:50 AM EST

Hillwood shops speculative building at Cecil Commerce Center

Master developer says it has several prospects for $18.9 million facility.

Hillwood, the master developer at city-owned Cecil Commerce Center, completed a 407,435 square-foot speculative building and is ready to lease it.

The warehouse, at 4660 New World Ave., is designed for a single tenant or multiple tenants and can be expanded by about 50,000 square feet.

Senior Vice President Dan Tatsch said Hillwood is marketing the building, which was completed in October.

“Several prospects have toured the building but there are no signed leases yet,” he said.

He declined to identify the prospects but described them as logistics and manufacturing companies.

Hillwood does not disclose its exact development costs. Construction and land purchase costs total $18.9 million. It bought 35.43 acres from the city for the project.

Its first speculative building at AllianceFlorida was leased by GE Oil & Gas for a valve-manufacturing plant.

As the master developer, Hillwood was obligated to complete at least 1.2 million square feet of new building area by Sept. 15. That date was extended because of weather events before Hurricane Irma.

Completion of the spec building and other activities are included in Dallas-based Hillwood’s third-quarter report to the city about its progress at AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center in West Jacksonville.

The biggest project there is Hillwood said that early in the July-September quarter Amazon requested an accelerated schedule that would allow for a “go live” date of October.

Hillwood explained that resulted in a shared access map that divided the 1 million-square-foot building into about 20 distinct areas.

Each area had a date at which Amazon’s contractors and vendors could have access to start installing their work.

“During this period, all trades were fully engaged and activity was spread throughout the building and across the site, working to achieve the targeted shared access dates,” Hillwood reported.

Hillwood said it “took significant assistance and cooperation” from JEA, the city, Comcast, AT&T, the Florida Department of Transportation, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and others “to permit, coordinate and complete critical infrastructures.”

In early September, Hurricane Irma brought what Hillwood said was a significant quantity of rain and strong winds to the site, at 13333 103rd St.

Hillwood said contractor The Conlan Co. worked with subcontractors to prepare the building and the site, which kept storm damage minimal.  A week after the storm, construction was in full operation.

The facility, which opened Oct. 8, processes orders for large consumer products.  On Oct. 10,  its general manager said 311 full-time employees had been hired and Amazon planned to fill 1,500 full-time positions and about 300 part-time or seasonal openings for the holidays.

Hillwood also said it:

  • Received and responded to site-related questions from a broker representing a prospect seeking to buy about 40 acres for a 300,000-square-foot distribution center. The prospect toured AllianceFlorida, and likely other Jacksonville locations, but had not conveyed a decision by the end of the quarter.
  • Received and responded to a request for proposal from a broker representing a prospect seeking to lease about 400,000 square feet of distribution space.
  • Received an inquiry from a prospect seeking to lease an undefined amount of distribution space. Hillwood coordinated a site visit by the prospect and its broker during the third quarter.
  • Submitted several conceptual site plans to a broker representing a prospect seeking to lease about 675,000 square feet of distribution space.
  • Hillwood also learned about prospects that decided against the site. It said it:
  • Received word that a prospect seeking about 400,000 square feet of distribution space decided to postpone its search. Hillwood submitted a proposal for the deal in the second quarter and believes the prospect chose to renew a lease at an existing facility in the Jacksonville area.
  • Submitted a proposal to a broker representing a prospect seeking to buy 25-50 acres for a 385,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility. Hillwood then learned the prospect selected a site in the Austin, Texas, area.

Hillwood did not identify any of the brokers or prospects.

Cecil Commerce Center is south of Interstate 10, along Cecil Commerce Center Parkway and Normandy Boulevard.

In 2010, Hillwood began a 25-year contract to develop 31 million square feet of industrial and retail space at the city-owned 4,475-acre property.

It must provide quarterly activity reports to the city.

The first, second and third are due within 90 days while the fourth-quarter report has a deadline of 150 days.

That means the first-quarter report is due by the end of May.


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