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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Aug. 10, 201112:00 PM EST

Michaels expanding warehouse: Council told of Westside addition


by Karen Brune Mathis

Managing Editor

Arts and crafts retailer Michaels Stores Inc. plans to expand its Westside distribution center by 200,000 square feet, City Council learned Tuesday night.

In speaking about a proposed bill regarding a road issue affecting access, a property representative at the podium mentioned the expansion.

That prompted district City Council member Doyle Carter to invite him into the Green Room, just off Council chambers, after his comments.

The speaker, lawyer Robert Telles, represents Mike Jacksonville FL LLC, the entity that owns the property. He said after the Green Room meeting that his group will work with the City on the access issue.

“They’re excited about the prospect of Michaels expanding,” said Telles with the Telles, Walker & Kochenderfer law firm in Walnut Creek, Calif., which handles corporate, mergers and acquisitions, finance, real estate, municipal bond, entertainment, arts and sports law.

Mark Howerton, a Michaels manager, said the existing 500,000-square-foot facility employs about 200 people. He could not comment about additional jobs and referred questions to the Michaels corporate offices.

Jessica Deal, Mayor Alvin Brown’s Council liaison, and Carter said after the Council meeting that they were told the expansion would be in 2013 and that no specific job count was provided.

“It’s good stuff,” said Carter, who represents District 12.

Duval County property records show Mike Jacksonville FL LLC, with an address in Danville, Calif., and its tax department in Irving, Texas, owns the property at 9200 W. Beaver St.

The 504,299-square-foot warehouse-distribution building and property is assessed at $13.64 million.

Published reports show that the facility opened in 1995.

Michaels later expanded when it announced in 2006 that it would relocate its Southeast seasonal distribution center to Jacksonville from Savannah, leasing 300,000 square feet of space in another facility along Commonwealth Avenue in West Jacksonville.

That center’s status was not mentioned Tuesday night.

Mayor Alvin Brown’s Communications Director Abel Harding said this morning that Brown campaigned on a jobs agenda and “he’s excited by any news that a company is considering expanding in Jacksonville.”

“Michaels was a great addition to Jacksonville more than a decade ago, and its expansion nearly five years ago was a positive development,” he said.

Harding said the news that Michaels is “weighing an additional expansion in Jacksonville is exciting and underscores Jacksonville’s growing reputation as a logistics hub.”

He said Brown looks forward to learning more about Michaels’ plans and working with the company so “he can to put Jacksonville back to work.”

Michaels is based in Irving, Texas, and says on its website that it is North America’s largest specialty retailer of arts, crafts, framing, floral, wall decor and seasonal merchandise for hobbyists and home decorators.

It owns and operates 1,045 stores in 49 states and Canada and also has more than 140 Aaron Brothers stores.

It operates four stores in Jacksonville.

The company started in 1984 in Texas.

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