JEA, Hillwood preparing for Cecil development

  • Columnists
  • Share

Document by document, development potential at AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center is emerging.

On Monday, the city provided the conceptual site plan for “Project Big Box,” an unidentified prospect that master developer Hillwood Investment Properties listed in its fourth-quarter report.

Dallas-based Hillwood contracted with the city to develop 4,474 acres as an industrial and business park in the 17,000-acre former naval air station in West Jacksonville.

Project Big Box is shown as two 1 million-square-foot buildings south of 103rd Street, with New World Avenue to the west and Aviation Avenue, and Cecil Airport property owned by the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, to the east.

It is well south of the unidentified project shown on a mega-site plan.

That unidentified deal comprises two 2 million-square-foot manufacturing buildings and a rail spur. The Cecil mega-site is just south of Interstate 10.

Hillwood executive Dan Tatsch sent a memo to the city Oct. 21 that outlined how Hillwood could accommodate Project Big Box on Parcels H and I at AllianceFlorida.

“We’re excited to see that the preliminary plan does an excellent job of accommodating the client’s request for two buildings, each 1 million square feet, located in close proximity to each other,” he wrote.

The buildings are lined up end-to-end, north to south, and are rectangular.

Tatsch said that “notwithstanding our optimism regarding the attached plan, I want to be clear that this is merely a preliminary conceptual plan, and our ability to actually deliver the attached layout depends on Hillwood and the City successfully resolving a number of issues.”

Those issues involve relocation of utility lines that run under the proposed building sites;

abandonment of the portion of Cecil Pines Street between McCarthy Way and Aviation Avenue; conveyance to Hillwood, “under economically acceptable terms,” of the property between Parcels H and I; and construction of Parkland Avenue between New World and Aviation avenues.

Parkland Avenue is shown on the site plan between the two buildings.

A permit application filed Friday shows that JEA, the city-owned utility, is preparing to better serve tenants and companies at Cecil Commerce Center


A filing with the St. Johns River Water Management District shows that JEA intends to add two new substations to serve Cecil Commerce Center.

JEA is working on plans to develop a $14.5 million substation at Cecil Commerce Center North. Construction is scheduled to start about January and the substation should start service in fall 2015.

The cost includes the power substation, along with associated transmission line work.

“The new substation will provide a reliable source of power for existing and future customers in the area,” said JEA spokeswoman Jane Upton. She said the power supply “will be highly reliable and offer excellent power quality.”

She said JEA will serve existing and future utility customers in the Cecil Commerce Center development area.

The project is at 13701 Waterworks St. The location is in the northwest section of Cecil Commerce Center, between I-10 and Normandy Boulevard, and west of Chaffee Road. Maps filed with the district show it is near the FedEx Ground Package System Inc. distribution center and the Saft America Inc. lithium ion battery manufacturing plant.

Upton said there is no specific prospect triggering the substation development.

The St. Johns River Water Management District is reviewing the plans for the civil site work for installation of the substation. Fred Wilson & Associates Inc. is the consulting engineer.

A March executive summary from engineer Frank Wilson III states the project is to build a JEA electric substation to better connect Florida Power & Light Co. to the Jacksonville power grid and provide power to the developing businesses at Cecil Commerce Center. Florida Power & Light is an investor-owned utility and is the largest electric utility in the state.

Upton said the Cecil Commerce Center South Substation will be south of 103rd Street, west of Chaffee Road and east of the JAA runway.

She said the timing of developing that substation is dependent on the development in the south part of Cecil Commerce Center. The south part initially will be served by the Cecil Commerce Center North Substation.

[email protected]


(904) 356-2466



Special Offer: $5 for 2 Months!

Your free article limit has been reached this month.
Subscribe now for unlimited digital access to our award-winning business news.