Preferred Freezer seeking $1.2 million in city grants

Company wants to develop a $46.7 million cold storage warehouse, create at least 40 jobs.

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The city is considering up to $1.2 million in grants for Preferred Freezer Services to develop a $46.7 million cold storage warehouse in Northwest Jacksonville and create at least 40 full-time jobs.

The Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund Advisory Board recommended approval Tuesday for a $100,000 Northwest Jacksonville Business Infrastructure Grant to Preferred Freezer Services.

In addition, the Office of Economic Development intends to propose a Recapture Enhanced Value grant of up to $1.1 million, according to OED Executive Director Kirk Wendland. The grant would refund 50 percent of the increase in ad valorem taxes generated by the project over the first five years of operation.

The incentives require City Council approval.

Preferred Freezer Services, a national refrigerated storage warehouse company, would use the Northwest grant to help install a water line to the site, according to Wendland.

The company proposes to develop the 222,824-square-foot cold storage distribution facility on 13.04 undeveloped acres on Doolittle Road east of Ellis Road North in Northwest Jacksonville.

The project would create at least 40 full-time jobs in the first two years, at an average annual wage of $46,346, totaling $1.8 million in annual salaries, excluding benefits.

According to Wendland, the company is evaluating Jacksonville and a few other cities for the project.

The city has issued mobility fee calculation and concurrency reservation certificates for the project. The city calculated a mobility fee of $106,247 to mitigate the traffic impact.

Victory Unlimited Construction LLC of Indianapolis is the agent. Willows Development LLC is listed as the property owner.

Property records show that Willows Development LLC is in care of John Galiher, of Chatham, New Jersey. Galiher is founder and CEO of Preferred Freezer Services LLC.

Willows Development LLC of Jersey City, New Jersey, bought the Doolittle Road property in 2008.

Preferred Freezer Services says it operates 39 full-service temperature-controlled warehouses in nine regions nationwide.

It already has a Jacksonville presence.

Preferred Freezer Services of Jacksonville LLC operates a 184,043-square-foot cold storage warehouse at 1780 W. Beaver St. on 9.77 acres it bought in 2007 from Farmers Market Inc., part of Beaver Street Fisheries.

The company developed that project in 2008.