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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, May 12, 201512:00 PM EST

Industrial park to open in Northwest Jacksonville

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A 317-acre Northwest Jacksonville business park is gearing up for development by yearend, opening up property for jobs and growth in an area long targeted by city economic leaders.

The SunPort Industrial Park, along Lem Turner Road off of the Interstate 295 West Beltway, is a master development by SunCap Property Group of North Carolina.

SunCap’s Jacksonville experience includes developing the FedEx Group Package System property at Cecil Commerce Center.

SunPort, a master-planned industrial park, comprises more than 500 acres, with 317.5 acres entitled for development of 4.8 million square feet of space. It was formerly known as Lem Turner Industrial Park.

SunPort’s marketing materials state it will be “pad ready” by mid-December, meaning it would be ready for sale or a build-to-suit for a tenant that would lease the structure.

The St. Johns River Water Management District is reviewing an application, submitted Thursday, for the 70-acre first phase of the project.

That phase includes construction of the entry road off Lem Turner Road along with clearing and filling Pad 1 and extending utilities from Newcomb Road. Prosser is the civil engineer.

Colliers International Northeast Florida is marketing the park. Marketing documents show the property is zoned as industrial light and is entitled and ready for development.

The property, just off of I-295, is less than 4 miles from I-95 and about 11 miles from 1-10. It’s less than 2 miles from Jacksonville International Airport.

It also is near railroads and not far from the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility under construction for completion this year.

The property is marketed by Hobart Joost and Guy Preston at Colliers.

Joost, senior vice president and principal at Colliers, said the property has had “four dry runs” over the past four years under other ownership.

SunCap Southeast Industrial Joint Venture, based in Charlotte, N.C., acquired the land in June.

Joost said the property is active.

“We are just getting ready to turn the corner. It has been a tough six years,” he said.

While the national economic recession ended officially in June 2009, industrial development took far longer to gain traction.

Joost would not comment about potential buyers or projects for the property.

However, he noted that speculative industrial development is starting again in Jacksonville. Westside Industrial Park is slated for a large speculative warehouse, and he said Hillwood also is preparing for another spec building.

Hillwood, the master developer at Cecil Commerce Center in West Jacksonville, built and quickly sold its first speculative building. That’s where GE Oil & Gas is establishing a manufacturing plant.

The potential for high-paying jobs at SunPort depends on the companies that move in. Distribution jobs typically don’t pay as much as manufacturing jobs, but economic developers welcome warehouse and other jobs that offer employment in targeted areas.

Joost said JaxPort has been a driver in decisions to build speculative warehouse space. He said the construction of the $30 million Intermodal Container Transfer Facility slated for to open this year at the Dames Point terminal will help trains and ships transfer cargo containers.

Also, the Jacksonville division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $39.5 million contract to a Seattle company to improve navigation at Mile Point, which will ease shipping traffic. That should be completed in 2016.

In October, Joost was a broker in the deal in which Wespac Midstream bought a former drywall manufacturing plant at 9225 Dames Point Road for $11.75 million.

Wespac intends to build a liquid natural gas manufacturing plant on the 36-acre site, which is next to the Dames Point terminal.

Peter Anderson, president of the NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association Northeast Florida chapter, said he applauds SunCap’s focus on Jacksonville.

“SunCap’s investment will result in new tax revenues and new jobs in Jacksonville, and is an indication that Jacksonville is emerging from the commercial real estate recession,” he said.

Anderson said SunCap’s investment in infrastructure and site improvements will provide prospects with more certainty about their ability to deliver a building in a timely manner, which he said is not an unusual strategy in the industry.

He said he expects to see more industrial development in the Lem Turner area because it offers an abundance of available land as well as proximity to roads, the airport and the port.

“In fact, Jacksonville has more zoned and entitled industrial land ready for development than at any time in the history of the city,” he said.

Barz takes DenverĀ anchor job

Mike Barz, a former Action News anchor whose contract was not renewed last year, took a job in April in Denver.

He is the 7 p.m. anchor for KWGN Channel 2 News and is an anchor and reporter for KDVR FOX 31 Denver. KDVR/KWGN is Tribune Media’s Denver duopoly.

Barz was one of four anchors who left WAWS TV-30, a Fox affiliate, and WTEV TV-47, the CBS affiliate, when station management decided to take a new direction.

Mark Spain now is an anchor in Virginia, while Tera Williams and Lynnsey Gardner Baker remain in Northeast Florida and are partners in a production company. Williams also works for a nonprofit and Gardner and her husband will open a restaurant.

Retail roundup

• A new RaceTrac convenience store, gas station and restaurant is planned in West Jacksonville at 103rd Street and Harlow Boulevard.

• A NAPA Auto Parts is shown on site plans at 880 U.S. 301, north of Interstate 10, in West Jacksonville.

• Site plans are under city review for South Kitchen and Spirits at 3638 Park St., next to the Orsay restaurant. South Kitchen and Spirits will comprise up to 230 seats, 178 inside and 52 outside, in 7,780 square feet of space, which includes covered patio space. The site is the former Yesterdays Bar.

• A former Jacksonville Bank branch in East Arlington could be converted into a Dunkin’ Donuts. The site is at 12740 Atlantic Blvd., near Girvin Road. The city issued a mobility fee calculation certificate for the proposed project.

• The area’s third Chuck E. Cheese’s could be built at Avenues Walk at 10320 Shops Lane, off Philips Highway and along I-95, according to a concurrency application filed with the city. It would be south of The Avenues mall. The 14,500-square-foot pizza and game arcade designed for children would be developed on about nine acres. The other two Chuck E. Cheese’s are at 9820 Atlantic Blvd. near Regency Square Mall and at 6065 Youngerman Circle, not far from Orange Park Mall.

• A building-permit application is in review for site clearing and construction of the Daily’s gas station, convenience store and car wash at 1916 Atlantic Blvd. in San Marco. The permits show a total job cost of $1.41 million.

• Building-permit applications show a DXL — the DestinationXL men’s large and tall superstore — and the Five Below chain of tech items, crafts, gifts and style items for teens and pre-teens will occupy space side-by-side at The Markets at Town Center. DXL will occupy 6,908 square feet and Five Below, new to Jacksonville, will use 8,212 square feet, which is the typical size but larger than shown in an earlier permit application. The stores will open at 4871 Town Center Blvd.

• With restaurants in San Marco and Jacksonville Beach, Jacksonville-based V Pizza is considering a Mandarin location. A building permit application shows build-out for V Pizza at 12601 San Jose Blvd. in a former child care center.

• The Jacksonville Beach Whole Foods Market at Pablo Plaza should open in early 2021, the Austin, Texas-based chain said in a news release. Why so long? The space isn’t available yet. The company said Monday it typically takes six to eight months to open once the site is released to Whole Foods.

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