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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Sep. 21, 201612:00 PM EST

Hillwood wants 86 acres at Cecil Commerce Center


Hillwood Investment Properties might buy 86 acres from the city within the month at Cecil Commerce Center where it has been working on an unidentified 1 million-square-foot regional package center.

Dallas-based Hillwood is considering acquiring the land, known as Parcel C, as early as mid-October, according to a City Council ordinance to close a right-of-way.

Hillwood is the master developer at the city-owned Cecil Commerce Center in West Jacksonville and is developing it as AllianceFlorida.

City spokeswoman Tia Ford said Tuesday the city would sell the land to Hillwood for $758,434.

Ordinance 2016-566 would close a 30-foot unopened and unimproved right-of-way that exists on the proposed project site. City, state and utility agencies did not object.

The city Office of Economic Development requested the ordinance. The property is subject to access by JEA to reach utilities as needed. Ford said the office had no additional information to provide.

The council Transportation, Energy & Utilities Committee moved the ordinance Monday in a 6-0 vote after a public hearing at which no one spoke for or against the bill. There was no discussion by committee members.

District 12 council member Doyle Carter, who represents the area, said Tuesday he would be meeting with Hillwood, but didn’t know the identity or nature of the project. “Whatever it is, it’s good,” he said.

Parcel C is just south of the GE Oil & Gas valve-manufacturing plant that Hillwood developed.

The bill is ready for council.

The project appears to be moving through the development process.

Hillwood has submitted site plans, a zoning request and a St. Johns River Water Management District application. While the identity has not been revealed, the emerging description indicates a large employer.

The filings outline a regional package center for a national company that would employ 1,000 people and operate around-the-clock. Temporary seasonal hiring would increase employment.

Maximum parking would be 1,159. The project would need office and warehouse employees as well as truck and van drivers.

The center would be developed at 13333 103rd St., north along 103rd Street between New World Avenue and Cecil Commerce Center Parkway.

The center would comprise about 977,000 square feet of warehouse space and 40,000 square feet for offices.

That size footprint would be larger than the floorplate of the fulfillment center under development in North Jacksonville. That facility is 855,000 square feet, although its multilevel construction increases the size to 2.4 million square feet.

The center will employ 1,500 people to pick, pack and ship small consumer items and expects to open in time for the 2017 holiday season. did not respond to an email Monday asking if it intended to open a center at Cecil Commerce Center.

The Seattle-based e-commerce retailer has opened two or more centers in several cities. In those instances, one center would pick, pack and ship small items, such as books and consumer electronics, and another would handle larger goods, such as kayaks, furniture and TVs. also operates smaller “last mile” centers that sort sealed packages for shipment to local post offices for the final delivery to customers.

Regulatory reviews for the Cecil project are in stages of approval.

The order for the zoning administrative deviation has been signed.

The city and Prosser Inc., the project agent and engineer, applied for the deviation to increase the maximum number of parking spaces and to reduce minimum landscape requirements.

The Water Management District decision is pending. Hillwood Construction Services L.P. requests a permit to clear and grade uplands on the site.

The city continues to review the horizontal construction plans.

Hillwood Senior Vice President Dan Tatsch said by email Tuesday he had no comment about the project.

JAXUSA Partnership President Jerry Mallot said Tuesday he could not comment. The partnership is the economic development division of the JAX Chamber.

Carter while he did not know the identity of a prospect, he noted that Hillwood has developed 1 million-square-foot centers, or nearly that size, for and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., among other clients, at its other industrial parks.

He said Hillwood might talk to such companies about coming to Jacksonville.

Wal-Mart did not respond Tuesday to an email.

The distribution center isn’t Hillwood’s only project at Cecil.

It also intends to develop a 407,435-square-foot speculative warehouse that can be expanded by almost 100,000 square feet on Parcel D1 at Cecil Commerce Center. That project is expected to be completed by mid-September 2017.

The structure, comprising 387,435 square feet of warehouse space and 20,000 square feet of office space, will be built on 35.43 acres at New World Avenue and Waterworks Street.

No tenant is specified on the plans. Carter said there has been interest in that structure.

The GE Oil & Gas structure had been designed as a speculative building.

As the master developer at AllianceFlorida, Hillwood must complete at least 1.2 million square feet of new building area by Sept. 15, according to the city.

Ford said previously that Hillwood has a little more than 800,000 square feet of new development at the park. The speculative building would satisfy the 2017 requirement.

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

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