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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Mar. 14, 201806:30 AM EST

JinkoSolar deal shuffles warehouse market

Large Northside warehouse left out; AllianceFlorida may need to expand.

JinkoSolar (U.S.) Inc. is a much smaller project than its initially proposed deal as Project Volt, which means it needs less operational space as it shifts its impact in the real estate industry.

Under both names, China-based JinkoSolar proposes to assemble and distribute solar panels.

But JinkoSolar needs far less leased space, 286,000 square feet vs. 1.22 million square feet, a 77 percent reduction. 

Its job count also is down 75 percent — 200 vs. 800. And its capital investment projection is down almost 88 percent,   $50.5 million vs. $410 million.

Its requested incentives also are reduced. The city and state pledged at least $53.9 million in tax refunds, grants and credits for Volt. JinkoSolar’s incentives would be at least $4.2 million.

City Council legislation introduced Tuesday shows that JinkoSolar seeks city incentives of $3.4 million consisting of a $3.2 million grant and a $200,000 Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund. The state would cover $800,000 of the $1 million QTI refund and possibly offer training assistance.

City incentives are down about 86 percent. Because the state hasn’t disclosed its final incentives offer, the drop in that amount can’t be calculated.

What that means to the distribution market is that AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center might need to build additional space while a large warehouse in North Jacksonville remains on the market.

As Volt, JinkoSolar would have leased an entire 407,435-square-foot speculative building at 4660 New World Ave. at AllianceFlorida and an 815,000-square-foot distribution center at 2969 Faye Road in North Jacksonville.

Dallas-based Hillwood is the master developer at Cecil, which is owned by the city.

Hillwood Senior Vice President Dan Tatsch said JinkoSolar agreed to lease 70 percent — or almost 286,000 square feet — of the speculative building that recently was completed.

He is marketing the remaining space of about 121,000 square feet of space. “I hold out hope that Jinko grows its business and takes the rest of the building,” Tatsch said. 

JinkoSolar will start build-out of the space in June, according to the legislation, and start operations no later than December 2019. It would hire 100 employees by the end of this year.

A city executive said Monday the lease starts April 1. Tatsch said he cannot disclose terms, but said it was a long-term lease.

“They are planning out their interior improvements,” Tatsch said. “They are moving very quickly.”

Tatsch said Hillwood would decide whether to build another speculative warehouse when the remainder of the building is leased.

As master developer for the city, Hillwood was obligated to develop speculative space on a timeline.

Dan Tatsch

Tatsch said Hillwood has fulfilled its construction obligations for the first 10-year contract term through September 2020.

Peter Anderson, vice president of Faye Road building owner Pattillo Industrial Real Estate, would not comment about JinkoSolar, although he confirmed Volt no longer was interested in the property.

However, he said the building, vacated by Sears on Feb. 28, is available for lease.

“Our building is the largest industrial building available in the state of Florida,” Anderson said.

He called it “an ideal modern bulk distribution center” with a large parking lot for trailers, an early suppression fast response fire system, sprinklers and other amenities.

He said the building received attention from the market, but there are no commitments.

Sears said almost a year ago it decided not to renew its lease, making the structure available for other tenants starting this month.

The structure was built in 2008 for Sears’ use, Anderson said previously.

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