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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Apr. 7, 202204:50 AM EST

JEA board OKs $3.24 million Northwest Jacksonville land purchase

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The utility says it will build a $25 million water reclamation facility on the 102-acre site.
by: Mike Mendenhall Associate Editor

The JEA board agreed April 5 to pay $3.24 million for 101.83 acres in Northwest Jacksonville to build its second new water reclamation in five years.

The city-owned water and electric utility will buy the site north of Jacksonville International Airport near Gold Star Family Parkway from Laurens Street LLC,  according to a March 14 memo by JEA Managing Director and CEO Jay Stowe. 

The board approved the land purchase as part of the consent agenda.

State Division of Corporation records show Laurens Street LLC is led by CEO Michael Braren.  

State records show Braren also is the title member of real estate firm BHK Capital LLC. Both companies are registered with Ponte Vedra Beach mailing addresses.

Stowe’s memo to the board says the land appraised at $4.32 million.

Duval County property records show Laurens Street LLC owns two parcels in that area totaling 973.77 acres. 

JEA Media Relations Coordinator Simone Garvey-Ewan said April 5 by email that the water reclamation plant project has a $25 million budget and could break ground in 2027. 

That schedule depends on the pace of private development in the area, according to JEA.

The facility will process 1.5 million gallons of wastewater per day for JEA customers north and west of the airport, Garvey-Ewan said. 

According to Stowe’s memo, the area is a “largely unserved or underserved” portion of JEA’s service territory.

“Several parcels in the northwest area of Jacksonville have plans to initiate land development which will require a solution that will allow JEA to provide utility services for continued system growth and reliability,” Stowe’s memo says. “The site is adequately sized for plant design and allows for sufficient land buffer for the future facility.” 

The Northwest Jacksonville plant will be JEA’s second new-build water reclamation facility in more than 45 years. 

JEA held a groundbreaking event March 31 on a larger, $150 million Greenland water reclamation facility on Jacksonville’s Southside near eTown. 

It is designed eventually to process up to 12 million gallons of wastewater per day after a future expansion. 

JEA officials say it will initially process 4 million gallons of wastewater daily, serving 22,800 JEA sewer customers and providing 5,700 customers with water for irrigation. 

Stowe said the Greenland groundbreaking is the authority’s first water reclamation facility built since 1977.

JEA has 11 wastewater treatment plants in operation. Of those, 10 are water reclamation facilities.

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