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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Aug. 18, 201512:00 PM EST

Walton group buys 692 acres in North Jacksonville for residential development


Walton International Group USA will be expanding into Northeast Florida with the acquisition of 692 acres in North Jacksonville for residential development.

Bob Sebesta, general manager of the Walton Group of Companies in Florida, confirmed the acquisition Tuesday. The property is 17 miles north of Downtown and 2 miles west of Interstate 95.

“This purchase is part of Walton’s continuing commitment to investing within Florida’s northern and central regional marketplaces,” said a news release from the company.

The deed shows the property at Arnold, Pecan Park and Lannie roads.

Sebesta said there are no confirmed details or a construction timeline.

Walton Acquisitions FL LLC paid almost $3.91 million for the property from William G. Wright and Rebecca A. Wright, who also is known as Rebecca O. Wright. HSBC Bank Canada issued a $1.95 million mortgage to Walton.

The deed was executed Aug. 11 and the mortgage was issued Friday. The documents were recorded Friday with the Duval County Clerk of Court.

Walton International and Walton Acquisitions are based in Scottsdale, Ariz., according to the mortgage.

The Walton Group of Companies is a privately owned multinational real estate investment, planning and development group that concentrates on research, acquisition, administration planning and development in North America growth areas.

It says it has nearly 97,000 acres of land under administration and management.

Walton has been in business for more than 30 years.

It says it takes a long-term approach to land planning and development. ”Our goal is to build communities that will stand the test of time: hometowns for present and future generations,” it says.

It says its communities are comprehensively designed in collaboration with local residents.

Walton International lists 17 projects on its website: One each in Florida, Georgia, Texas and North Carolina; two in Maryland; and 11 in Canada.

In Florida, it owns Ridgewood Lakes in Northeast Polk County. reports Ridgewood Lakes is a 3,347-acre tract. Plans there call for 5,971 residential units, 381,388 square feet of commercial development, a school site and 1,120 acres of preservation area.

Publix renovating Baymeadows store

Renovations and reconstruction of area Publix stores will soon top $16.4 million.

Elkins Construction LLC applied to the city for permit to renovate the Reedy Branch Commons store at a cost of $900,000. The 43,855-square-foot store is at 10920 Baymeadows Road, just off Interstate 295.

That comes as the Moultrie Square store in St. Augustine will be demolished and rebuilt at a construction cost of $4.5 million. Skinner Bros. Realty Co. announced last week that the Moultrie Square project in St. Johns County should be completed by late 2016.

The two boost Publix’s renovations to at least 17 stores in the area over the past two years. The Lakeland-based chain has been updating its stores on a schedule as competitors continue entering the market.

Publix spokesman Dwaine Stevens said Monday he cannot comment specifically about renovation and construction costs.

“I can confirm we have made significant financial investments in retail stores to improve the local facilities and the shopping and working environments for our customers and associates,” he said.

Publix operates 49 stores in Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties.

Duval has 29 Publix stores, followed by St. Johns with 12, Clay with six and Nassau with two.

JU science labs upgraded this month

Work should be completed this week on updated science laboratories in four buildings at Jacksonville University.

Construction should be completed by Friday. Classes start Monday.

Capital Projects Director Jessica Ligator said recent permits cover the upgrades, including new finishes and equipment. Specific upgrades include new fume hoods, casework, snorkels, eye wash stations, paint, flooring and furniture, she said.

JU said the upgrades mean students studying anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics and other science-related subjects have up-to-date facilities and equipment to conduct their experiments and observations.

According to JU’s The Wave magazine online, JU’s nursing program in the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences will benefit greatly from the enhancements, said Lee Ann Clements, chair of the Division of Science and Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Four permits, totaling almost $641,000, were approved last week for upgrades at the Swisher, Nelms, Reid Medical and Merritt Penticoff buildings as part of the university’s $120 million ASPIRE comprehensive campaign for campus improvements.

W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractor is doing the work.

By building, the improvement costs for some rooms within the buildings include:

Nelms Science, $348,442: New student tables, professor teaching island, casework and cabinets, new island work bench, storage shelves, work desks, fume hood and flammable storage cabinet, new flooring and paint.

Merritt Penticoff Science, $190,252: Classroom expansion to accommodate additional computer stations, new flooring and paint, new student tables, casework and cabinets.

Reid Medical Science, $66,490: Modifications, new common equipment room to accommodate new equipment, new flooring and paint, new work bench and desk and storage cabinets, new snorkel with exhaust ventilation system.

Swisher Science, $35,369: New island benches and new fume hoods with dedicated exhaust fans, new flooring and paint.

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