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Mathis Report
Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Feb. 12, 201905:10 AM EST

The Mathis Report: Fast-track reading sought for warehouse

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Preferred Freezer Services is seeking to develop a $46.7 million facility in Northwest Jacksonville.

Preferred Freezer Services of Jacksonville II LLC requests a fast-track reading in City Council for Resolution 2019-86, which would provide up to $1.2 million in grants.

The resolution is scheduled to be introduced Tuesday.

Preferred Freezer Services, a national refrigerated storage warehouse company, proposes to develop a $46.7 million cold storage warehouse in Northwest Jacksonville and create at least 40 jobs.

The investment comprises the costs of real estate improvements, IT, infrastructure, computer equipment, furniture and fixtures.

The site is along Doolittle Road at North Ellis Road.

The incentives comprise a $100,000 Northwest Jacksonville Business Infrastructure Grant, which would help to fund a water line to the site, and a Recapture Enhanced Value grant of up to $1.1 million, which would refund 50 percent of the increase in ad valorem taxes generated by the project over the first five years of operation.

The company proposes to develop the 222,824-square-foot cold storage distribution facility on 13.04 acres.

The project would create at least 40 full-time jobs, at an average annual wage of $47,775, by year-end 2021.

A city summary says Preferred Freezer Services is considering a few cities for the project and that incentives are a material factor in choosing Jacksonville. The other cities were not identified.

It says the Jacksonville location is in a “Level 2 Economically Distressed Area” in Northwest Jacksonville, defined as an area where the median household income is below 60 percent of the countywide average and the percentage of the unemployed labor force is higher than 25 percent of the countywide average.

The city has issued mobility fee calculation and concurrency reservation certificates for the project. The city calculated a mobility fee of $106,247 to mitigate the traffic impact.

Willows Development LLC of Jersey City, New Jersey, bought the Doolittle Road property in 2008. Property records show that Willows Development LLC is in care of John Galiher, of Chatham, New Jersey. Galiher is founder and CEO of Preferred Freezer Services LLC, which is based in Chatham.

It would be a second Jacksonville facility for the company.

Preferred Freezer Services of Jacksonville LLC operates a 184,043-square-foot cold storage warehouse it developed in 2008 at 1780 W. Beaver St. It bought the 9.77 acres in 2007 from Farmers Market Inc., part of Beaver Street Fisheries. 

PreferredFreezer.com says the company designs, builds and operates temperature-controlled warehouses in the U.S. and Asia. It has more than 1,800 employees and almost $350 million in sales.

The company says it started with one center in 1989 and now operates 39 facilities nationwide, with two more scheduled to start construction soon. 

Its U.S. locations are in New York-New Jersey, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

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