Similar-size package centers planned for Amazon, Averitt

Contractor DDC Inc. is renovating space at Alta Lakes Commerce Center for an Amazon delivery center.
Contractor DDC Inc. is renovating space at Alta Lakes Commerce Center for an Amazon delivery center.
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Two distribution centers of similar size and description are in the queue for Jacksonville — one for Amazon Fulfillment Services Inc. in North Jacksonville and one for Averitt Express Inc. in Westside.

Even though Amazon is one of Averitt’s many customers, a spokesman says Averitt’s center is not being built for the Seattle-based e-commerce retailer.

“We’re building this facility to be able to better provide domestic and international distribution for all of our customers across the United States,” said Brad Brown, Averitt marketing and communications manager.

Despite the similarities between the Amazon operation and the Averitt description, Brown said Averitt Express is the end user and will be used for distribution of domestic freight and international cargo.

Amazon is much further along with its delivery center.

Amazon applied to the city for a Certificate of Use for a 63,165-square-foot delivery center in North Jacksonville at 11084 Cabot Commerce in the Alta Lakes Commerce Center.

The application explains that the center will deliver consumer goods to the metropolitan area. dedc LLC is the business name.

The city approved a permit Feb. 13 for tenant build-out for the delivery station at a cost of $1.5 million.

The center is one of four Amazon operations in Jacksonville, along with two fulfillment centers under development and a sortation center in review.

One fulfillment center is in Northwest Jacksonville; another is in Cecil Commerce Center in West Jacksonville.

The Northwest center will handle smaller consumer items while the Cecil Commerce Center facility will ship larger goods.

MPVL International Inc., a logistics consulting company, said sortation centers are used to sort packages for a geographical region.

A sortation center sorts packages by ZIP code and sends smaller ones to the U.S. Postal Service for low-cost delivery. Packages also are shipped to delivery stations to handle last-mile delivery through the use of local couriers, according to MPVL.

The delivery stations, typically 60,000 to 100,000 square feet, represent that last leg of delivery. There, packages are sorted and sent directly to the customer, MPVL explains.

The Jacksonville fulfillment centers are expected to open by year-end. Amazon has not commented about the delivery center or sortation center.

That’s why the Averitt express project sparked questions about Amazon.

Averitt Express seeks a zoning administrative deviation to increase parking to serve a proposed 61,700-square-foot regional package distribution facility in West Jacksonville.

Zoning documents say it is for a national company and would be built on about 20.6 acres.

Averitt wants to increase the maximum number of off-street parking spaces from 30 to 83.

The written justification for the deviation explains that the project, planned along Commonwealth Avenue, would operate 24 hours a day, six days a week.

The project would comprise a 49,200-square-foot warehouse with a 12,500-square-foot maintenance building within it. The vacant site is west of Interstate 295, north of I-10.

There would be secured parking for 49 tractors and 162 trailers within a specialized vehicle use area. The owner also seeks deviations for landscape requirements to accommodate the design of the cross-dock loading area.

The request says the facility will operate a truck terminal and cross-dock warehouse and will accommodate drivers and operators in addition to warehouse and office workers.

In addition, it is estimated that during typical shifts, there will be about 80 employees at the facility. There also would be peak-season parking.

Averitt Express, based in Cookeville, Tenn., bought the property in November from N.G. Wade Investment Co.

The justification states that the requested deviation would permit the property to be developed for the proposed use while ensuring the required off-street parking spaces meet the requirements for the package warehouse/distribution facility “end user.”

Brown said Averitt is that end user and that the facility can serve tens of thousands of its customers.

As for the goods to be distributed, he said that would include commercial and industrial freight such as general manufacturing, retail, automotive, chemical, apparel and other types.

Brown said the company wants to start construction in the third quarter and complete it in the first quarter of 2018.

Brown said Averitt employs 77 people at a smaller location in Jacksonville at 723 Scotia Road and expects that number to grow significantly with the new center.

The existing location would close after Averitt takes occupancy of the new facility.

“There is no specific connection between this facility and Amazon,” Brown said.

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