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Jax Daily Record Monday, Jun. 1, 202002:20 PM EST

Wayfair to open Jacksonville fulfillment center this summer

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The online home furnishings retailer will lease a building in AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center.

Wayfair Inc. intends to open its AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center fulfillment facility this summer.

Hillwood, the city’s master developer at Cecil Commerce Center in West Jacksonville, reported May 29 that the Wayfair Inc. distribution center was “substantially complete” in mid-December, as scheduled.

The Boston-based online home furnishings company reported in February it pushed back the opening of its Jacksonville fulfillment center but did not say until when.

Corporate Communications Associate Director Susan Frechette said by email June 1 the company expects to open the center this summer.

In January, Frechette said the company expected to open the center in the next couple of months.

She said by email Feb. 14 the move was delayed and 42 jobs were terminated and 47 employees were sent to other Wayfair facilities, but that Wayfair expected to occupy the center when it is completed. 

“Due to unexpected delays in the building’s readiness for operations, we have had to push back the opening of this facility to a tentative date,” Frechette said in February

Frechette said June 1 Wayfair “will be reaching out to any individuals who wish to return.” She said she had no additional details to share about the employment.

Hillwood executed a long-term lease with Wayfair for a 1,012,567-square-foot building at 13483 103rd St. next to the Amazon.com fulfillment center.

Dallas-based Hillwood said in its fourth-quarter report to the city that the city issued the temporary certificate of occupancy Dec. 19, “and the project was complete.”

It said the full certificate of occupancy will be issued when Wayfair’s vendors complete their work.

The city announced Dec. 3, 2018, that Wayfair would lease the building and open the $72 million center.

A city incentives agreement says Wayfair will invest $50 million into real estate and $22 million into machinery, equipment, furniture and fixtures.

The city said Wayfair will complete the center by year-end 2020 and create 250 jobs by the end of 2021. Building plans indicate 250 parking spaces and future spaces of 240, totaling 490.  The company has been posting job openings for the center.

Wayfair calls the Jacksonville center as a Large Parcel Home Delivery Operation. The company told the city its average salary for full-time jobs will be $33,000 plus benefits.

City Council approved a $3.3 million city Recapture Enhanced Value grant based on the additional property taxes generated by the project.

Hillwood is developing AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center. It is required to file quarterly activity reports with the city.

The fourth-quarter report is due at the end of May each year.

Hillwood also said that during the fourth quarter, September-December, that it:

• Continued discussions that started during the third quarter with a prospect interested in acquiring 5-6 acres on Parcel R, which is south of Normandy Boulevard, to develop a retail facility. During the fourth quarter, Hillwood and the prospect discussed site-planning and development details, including zoning and infrastructure. The prospect continued its due diligence at year-end.

• Received and responded to an inquiry in mid-November from a broker representing a prospect seeking a site that could accommodate a distribution warehouse of 700,000 to 1 million square feet.

• Received and responded to an inquiry in early December from a prospect interested in buying about 100 acres near the runways at Cecil Airport. Hillwood said it understood the inquiry is part of a nationwide search by the prospect.

• Received and responded to an inquiry in early December from a broker representing a prospect seeking about 100 acres for construction of a warehouse-distribution facility.

Hillwood Senior Vice President Dan Tatsch said June 1 he had no comment about those prospects.

Hillwood won a competitive bid in 2009 to become the master developer of the 4,474-acre Cecil Commerce Center, which is a portion of the former Naval Air Station Cecil Field owned by the city. 

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