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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jan. 4, 201806:50 AM EST

UniFirst to build laundry center at Perimeter West

Uniform company now leases along Haines Street, plans to expand to meet growing area demand.

UniFirst Corp. plans to build an industrial laundry facility in Northwest Jacksonville in the Perimeter West Industrial Park.

Plans filed with the city show a 52,000-square-foot structure on 5.62 acres at 4251 Perimeter Industrial Parkway E., at northeast Interstate 295 and Pritchard Road.

No contractor has been chosen for the $6 million construction job. KWJ Architects Inc. of Tampa is the architect.

Adam Soreff, director of marketing and communications, said UniFirst’s current facility along Haines Street is a branch operation, which works with a larger servicing plant in Ocala to process the garments.

“This new facility will be a much larger, full-fledged servicing plant operation that can work independently from other UniFirst operations,” Soreff said.

He said that because of consistent growth in the greater Jacksonville market the past several years, UniFirst wants to meet those demands while expanding its service capabilities and market presence.

Soreff said the new center should be completed by late this year.

Plans show a first-floor space of 51,810 square feet and a second-floor space of 4,357 square feet.

Plans show a first-floor space of 51,810 square feet and a second-floor space of 4,357 square feet.

A second phase would add 8,707 square feet to the first floor.

Most of the building will be for industrial use. The second-floor office space shows offices, a conference room, offices for the service manager and sales manager and an open area for sales.

UniFirst operates at 1446 Haines St., a 17,100-square-foot building developed in 1960 on the Eastside. It is owned by a St. Augustine investor.

Soreff said UniFirst will own the Perimeter West plant. It will no longer lease the Haines Street location when the new building opens. It will be determined how many branch operations will send garments to the new plant.

Founded in Boston in 1936, UniFirst supplies and services uniforms and workwear.

It makes its own branded products and operates 258 service locations, 300,000 customer locations and 14,000 employees, outfitting about 2 million workers a day.

It also provides first aid and safety products and manages garment programs for the cleanroom and nuclear industries.

It reported $1.59 billion in revenue for the fiscal year that ended Aug. 26, up from $1.47 billion the year before.

In the full-service rental program, garments are cleaned and serviced. UniFirst picks up a customer’s soiled uniforms and other items, usually weekly, and delivers back cleaned and processed replacement items.

The Jacksonville center services Jacksonville, Orange Park, St. Augustine and other parts of Northeast Florida.

As of Aug. 26, UniFirst owned or leased about 258 facilities comprising 7.4 million square feet of space in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Nicaragua.

It owned 127 facilities, consisting of 5.5 million square feet. Those facilities include a 325,000-square-foot Owensboro, Kentucky, distribution center and almost all its industrial laundry processing plants.

“We believe our industrial laundry facilities are among the most modern in the industry,” the company said in its annual Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Soreff said UniFirst anticipates adding employees, but did not know how many. “Plant operations require many more employees than branches, so we expect to be hiring additional staff when the time comes,” he said.

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