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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Nov. 3, 201612:00 PM EST

Project Velo site prep moving full-speed ahead

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Cecil Commerce Center master developer Hillwood Investment Properties is moving ahead with intense site planning as the city awaits a decision by Project Velo, which matches the description of a second Amazon.com fulfillment center.

Dallas-based Hillwood filed a revised set of construction plans with the city last week and requested a modification from the St. Johns River Water Management District for a more than 1 million-square-foot distribution warehouse.

The distribution center is designed on 86 acres at 13333 103rd St. in Hillwood’s AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center business park in West Jacksonville.

Project Velo is a $115 million, 1,200-job product distribution center whose incentives were fast-tracked through City Council for the Cecil Commerce Center site.

With such a need for speed, Project Velo’s decision appears to be an any-day-now event. Hillwood’s planning actions indicate news is expected soon.

October was one presumed benchmark. The city said in August that Hillwood was considering buying the 86-acre site for the warehouse “as early as mid-October.”

November-December is another.

In September, the city said Project Velo was expected to make its decision “later this year.”

Asked about the status of the land purchase from the city, Public Information Officer Tia Ford said Monday the Office of Economic Development was still waiting to hear from Project Velo “as to whether or not the Jacksonville site has been selected.”

Hillwood Senior Vice President Dan Tatsch said Tuesday he had no comment about Project Velo.

Hillwood’s filings last week show it is fine-tuning site plans for Project Velo, which has not been confirmed as Amazon.com but not denied, either.

Hillwood resubmitted a 10-set review to the city for what is called the 86.05-acre Parcel C at Cecil Commerce Center, which the city said the developer would buy for $8,819 an acre. That totals more than $758,000.

Those plans show the more than 1,016,000-square-foot building would comprise more than 976,000 square feet of warehouse space and about 40,000 square feet of office space.

Its maximum height would be 50 feet, showing it would have stackable space inside.

By comparison, the Amazon.com fulfillment center in North Jacksonville will be a four-level facility at 49 feet in height.

The resubmittal covered revised drainage and fire-demand calculations among other details. The initial plans were filed Aug. 16.

Prosser Inc. is the civil engineer.

The Water Management District application seeks modification to a stormwater management facility and the addition of a second one for the distribution warehouse and associated infrastructure, driveways and parking lots.

For that, Hillwood Construction Services L.P. is the applicant, the city is the landowner, Prosser is the engineering consultant and Environmental Resource Solutions is the environmental consultant.

Introduced Sept. 27, council adopted a resolution Oct. 11 for $7.1 million in city taxpayer incentives. The state would provide another $1.2 million in assistance.

If the announcement is like Amazon.com’s first one July 27 for its 1,500-job North Jacksonville fulfillment center, it will come by way of a news release posted on its website and distributed by the mayor’s office.

A second center is not unexpected. Amazon.com has developed two, and sometimes more, large fulfillment facilities in several cities.

One usually is for smaller consumer and electronics items, which the North Jacksonville facility will distribute, and another for larger items, such as furniture and sporting goods.

[email protected]

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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