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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Nov. 3, 201512:00 PM EST

Publix tosses salad plant into Jacksonville mix

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Publix Super Markets Inc. is considering construction of a production plant for salads in West Jacksonville near its distribution center.

It could be a big one, or at least part of the more than 600,000 square feet of development rights the Lakeland-based supermarket chain has on the almost 34-acre vacant site along West Beaver Street.

Publix wanted to build a dairy products manufacturing facility on the land, which it bought in late 2012. The market changed that decision.

“Declining consumer demand and preferences have obviated the need for the contemplated dairy facility,” says a proposed city ordinance to extend Publix’s development agreement on the property until Sept. 7, 2020.

Ordinance 2015-746 also amends the calculation of the annual renewal fee for reserving traffic circulation capacity.

Plans include building a facility for the production and packaging of ready-to-serve salads, such as mixed green salads, potato salads, coleslaw and fruit salads.

Publix seeks approval from the city for the five-year extension “to continue its good faith efforts to develop the remaining capacity” under the agreement.

That amount is 603,683 square feet of enclosed space, although there is no statement that a new plant would be that size.

According to the agreement those reserved rights expired, without extension, on Sept. 7. Publix submitted its request for the extension Aug. 24, according to the ordinance.

Publix spokesman Dwaine Stevens said Publix had nothing to announce. “There’s not a status change,” he said.

District City Council member Doyle Carter said Tuesday that Publix has not given him a timeline on construction.

“I would think if it’s something they are in need of, they would be doing it pretty quickly, hopefully,” he said.

He said the ready-to-serve salad preparation must be a lucrative function.

Publix serves its 1,106 stores across six Southeastern states with eight distribution centers and 10 manufacturing facilities, according to publix.com. Its largest market is Florida, with 764 stores.

Seven of the eight distribution centers are in Florida and the other is in Lawrenceville, Ga. The Jacksonville center is at 9786 and 9800 W. Beaver St.

In Jacksonville, it maintains a distribution plant as well as a fresh-foods facility, one of four such operations in its system. The others are in Lakeland and Deerfield Beach in Florida and in Lawrenceville, Ga.

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