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Jax Daily Record Friday, Nov. 8, 201312:00 PM EST

Liberty Property to sell Jacksonville holdings

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Liberty Property Trust announced Thursday it has agreed to sell 97 properties in five states, including its 32 sites in Jacksonville that total more than 2.1 million square feet of developed space.

The $705 million sale is expected to be completed in stages –– late this year and early next year. Liberty Property did not identify the buyer.

The properties are primarily in the Southpoint and Butler Boulevard area of South Jacksonville. Liberty Property also owns about 120 acres along Imeson Road in West Jacksonville.

Among its most recognized developments are Center Point Business Park, Butler Plaza and Liberty Business Park.

Liberty Property Trust, based in Malvern, Pa., outside of Philadelphia, is a $7.3 billion real estate investment trust and owns more than 660 office and industrial properties, totaling 80.6 million square feet of space in more than 21 markets in the United States and the United Kingdom.

It owns a land bank of almost 1,800 properties zoned for commercial development.

Founded in 1972, it develops, acquires, leases and manages properties.

Its Jacksonville office, led by manager Michael Heise, has a staff of 13 in property management and leasing and development, according to its website.

Vistakon expansion OK'd

The city approved a permit Thursday for the Vistakon Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc. to build the $2.5 million shell structure for its Phase 6 expansion.

The 22,887-square-foot building will be built on 2.2 acres at 7500 Centurion Parkway on Vistakon's Deerwood Park campus. Gilbane Building Co. is the contractor.

City Council approved a $6.9 million Recapture Enhanced Value grant for the $218 million project. The state assistance comprises a $1.5 million Quick Action Closing Fund contribution and $225,000 in workforce training.

Vistakon told the city and state it will create up to 100 jobs at an average wage of $65,000 plus benefits with the project, which involves making the latest generation of its Acuvue disposable contact lenses.

The expansion boosts Vistakon to almost 2,000 employees and close to 800,000 square feet of space.

[email protected]

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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